Sri Lankan Pineapple and Coconut Curry

As mentioned in previous posts, in India and Sri Lanka tropical fruits such as pineapple are often eaten sprinkled with chilli powder or black pepper (or maybe chaat masala) and salt. Lime juice or amchur can be added. Its delicious, easy, and a great outdoors snack.

But in South India and Sri Lanka, pineapple is also used in curries, often with coconut milk. This is a typical Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry with coconut milk, pandanus and Badapu Thuna Paha to flavour the dish. You can make your own Badapu Thuna Paha  (roasted Curry Powder), or purchase from a Sri Lankan or South Indian grocery. Or substitute any roasted curry powder.

Similar dishes include Pineapple Pulissery, Green Mango in Coconut Milk, Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, and Aubergines in Coconut Milk.

Or browse our Pineapple recipes and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Otherwise, explore our Late Summer collection of recipes

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Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry with Roasted Coconut

Sri Lanka cuisine includes beautiful curries cooked in coconut milk, showing off the abundance of coconuts on this beautiful isle. This is another version of the Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry, and in this one the flavours of coconut are layered with both roasted coconut and coconut milk. The recipe is adapted from Flavours of Sri Lanka.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry, Green Mango in Coconut Milk, Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, and Aubergines in Coconut Milk.

Or browse our Pumpkin recipes and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Otherwise, explore our Late Winter collection of recipes.

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Thani Kootu

Thani Kootu is a popular Thanjavur recipe traditionally prepared for Sumangali Prarthanai, Sankaranthi and other festivals. In this dish, 5 different vegetables are prepared in separate jaggery kootus – a delicious and tangy South Indian base for the vegetables which is made with tamarind, freshly ground spices and jaggery. Jaggery brings out the tanginess of the tamarind in a surprising way.

Thani means stand alone in Tamil, and this indicates how the vegetables are made into separate dishes rather than mixed together. The different Thani Kootu dishes are generally serve with plain steamed rice. The base can also be served on its own without any vegetable added. It is pretty delicious!

To make it easy to prepare these dishes we make a large pot of the base Kootu, then divide it into five. The vegetables are cooked separately, and then added to the bases. It is common today to combine the vegetables in one dish, but traditionally, five different ones were made.

By the way, Sumangali Prarthanai is a thanksgiving religious function to honour our female ancestors.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Plantain Moar Kootu, Okra Tamarind Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Punjabi Turnip Curry | Punjabi Shalgum Masala

Turnips were our featured vegetable last Winter and into Spring. We had not used them a great deal in the past, so wanted to explore their use. We added several new dishes, and especially several new turnip dishes from India.

This is a Punjabi turnip dish, easy to make, with an onion-tomato sauce. It takes no effort at all apart from some peeling, slicing and dicing. A perfect dish for an afternoon snack or a quick meal with some chapatis.

Similar dishes include Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Kashmiri Turnips in Yoghurt.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and all of our Kashmir dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

Browse all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Rajasthani Spiced Green Tomatoes | Green Tomato Chutney

Green tomatoes are very special, and how wonderful it is to have a green grocer who knows this and stocks them. To be able to find them easily is exciting, and several always make it into our shopping bag.

This time we made this delightful Spicy Green Tomato dish, and it is a cracker! It can be used either as a Indian style Chutney, or a spicy side dish. It is a Rajasthani recipe that is very easy to make – simply cook the tomatoes with the spices. No complicated procedures involved.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Green Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes, and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Indian Chutneys are here, all of our Indian recipes here, and the Indian Essential Series here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal

There are a number of Amaranth greens available in South India – Mulaikkeerai, Muli Thandu or Thandukkeerai, and Arikkeerai. The most common variety of amaranth that is grown here, Foxtail Amaranth, is Thandukkeerai, but it is grown for ornamental reasons in gardens, not culinary ones. It is very difficult to find the  different varieties in shops unless you search the Asian markets.

The different varieties do have different tastes and properties – for example, some are heating to the body and some are cooling to the body. In India, the crops of Amaranth are also dependent on the season – the cooling ones in the hottest parts of the year, the heating ones in the coldest times of the year. Here, there is no such availability, information or attention to detail. Do use whichever amaranth is available to you.

We generally think of Masiyal as being made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. However Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See has several recipes for Amaranth Masiyal (in Vol. 1) that do not contain any dal. This one mashes the leaves, and I have to say it is very delicious. One of the defining characteristics of Masiyal is that there are no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices. It allows the ingredients to shine rather than being overwhelmed with spices, onions or garlic. That is the beauty of all traditional Tamil food.

Similar dishes include Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

Browse all of our Amaranth dishes and all of our Masiyal recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Carrot Poriyal | Stir-fried Carrot with Coconut

Once you have your pantry set up for cooking Indian food regularly, recipes with long lists of ingredients are no longer terrifying. The reason that some recipes seem to have a kitchen-bench full of ingredients is that many of them are small amounts, less than a teaspoon. These spices produce the characteristic tastes of Indian food. For example, not counting the spices, this dish has only 3 main ingredients – carrots, coconut and onions. There, that seems much simpler than a list of 15!

The best way to approach long lists of spices is to prepare them before you begin to cook, using tiny bowls or containers to hold them. Alternatively, grab a couple of dabbas, Indian spice boxes, from your Indian shop, so that your commonly used spices are all in one container.  Either method will eliminate your need to search the cupboard for a spice while cooking – and the panic that ensues when you can’t find it and the onions are over cooking as you search.  We have all been there! So be organised, both in your spice cupboard and in preparing your ingredients.

This is a simple recipe today, despite the list of ingredients – a quick stir-fry of carrots with spices and coconut from the South of India. Poriyals embody the South, and can be made with many different vegetables and vegetable combinations.

Similar recipes include Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal, Sweet Potato Poriyal, and Carrot Thoran.

Browse all of our Poriyals, and all of our Carrot recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Turnips in Coconut Milk

Can I ask you how often you cook with turnips? Yes, I thought so. Me too. But do try this Indian dish with a hint of the North and a touch of the South. The coconut milk pairs very well with creamy turnip. The recipe is adapted from one provided by The Splendid Table.

Similar dishes include Punjabi Turnip Curry, Vegetable and Barley Soup, Green Mango in Coconut Milk, and Eggplants in Coconut Milk.

Browse our Turnip recipes. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Winter dishes.

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Vendakkai Puli Kootu | Okra Tamarind Kootu

Okra is so very good in the shops right now, as I write, so I grabbed some from the Asian market in my last shopping trip. Lovely thin, tender, long spears of goodness – how we love them.

You will love this recipe. It is as simple as Indian cooking can get. The okra is sliced and cooked with tamarind, green chillies and a little toor dal. Other recipes will add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sambar powder or other spices, coconut, etc, but I prefer this simple, honest preparation from the Palghat (Palakkad) area of Kerala. I have made it quite thick, as you can see, as I prefer it that way, but you can have more sauce if you prefer. I found this approach in the book Classic Tamil Brahman Cuisine by Viji Varadarajan.

Similar recipes include Cluster Bean Kootu, Okra Patia, Bhindi Bhaji, and Okra Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kerala recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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