Poritha Koottu with Sambar Powder

Kootu (Koottu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and contains a combination of vegetable combined with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices. Varieties of Kootu include Poritha Kootu and Kothsu (Gothsu).

Sometimes Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It certainly is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, with more vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice, without any need for an accompanying vegetable dish. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal rather than Toor Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker than Kuzhambu.

This Kootu is slightly unusual. It uses a little Sambar Powder which is rarely used in Kootu. And although some Kootu recipes contain tamarind, this one does not.

Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes pepper is used. Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, varies that by using red chillies.

The dish is not spicy – very little spice is used. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables. You will enjoy it. You can purchase your Sambar Powder at an Indian grocery, or better still, make your own.

As usual, Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe takes some unpicking as it does contradict itself. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel the recipes in Vol 1 of her 4 volume set of Cook and See.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, and Pitlai.

Are you after Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy).

Or perhaps you prefer Mung Dal recipes. We recommend Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Gentle Mung Soup, and Mung Soup with Amaranth Greens.

Or browse all of our Kootu, our Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Mung recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Poritha Koottu with Sambar Powder”

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Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable

The second of three methods suggested by Meenakshi Ammal. A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

There are three main methods for making Poritha (Poricha) Kuzhambu. The first uses sambar powder, and this recipe, the second method, uses a paste of chillies, cumin seed and coconut. The third method uses chillies and urad dal ground to a paste.

Poritha Kuzhambu (or Poricha Kuzhambu) is a style of kuzhambu that usually includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added – just chillies and cumin. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth, and Pitlai.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable”

Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable for Over Rice

A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

Poritha kuzhambu  or Poricha kuzhambu is a style of kuzhambu that often includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable. You will enjoy it. It uses a per-prepared Sambar Powder, which you can purchase at an Indian grocery, or make your own.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other similar recipes? Try Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind and Amaranth, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or Drumstick recipes? Try Sampangi Pitlai, Race Kuzhambu and Drumstick Kadhi.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable for Over Rice”

Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for similar recipes? You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai, as well as Onion Kothsu with Tamarind and Dal Tadka.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes.

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

Continue reading “Sampangi Pitlai”

Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables”

How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar

Removing the confusion around cooking vegetables for Sambar

Once you are experienced at cooking sambar, it is quite easy. However, while mastering the skill it can be confusing. Here is some advice on making sambar, and particularly on cooking the vegetables for sambar.

The advice is based on my experience and the writings of S. Meenakshi Ammal who wrote the Cook and See series of books on traditional South Indian cooking.

Browse all of our sambar recipes here. and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes here.

Continue reading “How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar”

Moar Kuzhambu | Yoghurt Gravy with Vegetables or Vatral

Beaten yoghurt (Indian Buttermilk) Thin Curry with Vegetables. Both warming (from the spices) and cooling (from the beaten yoghurt) it is a dish for any time of the year.

Moar Kuzhambu is an Indian dish made with churned yoghurt. It can include vegetables, dried pea vatral, or bondas. Deliciously spicy, it is wonderfully cooling at the same time.

Moar (or Mor or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all to cook. It can be served with hot rice and a vegetable stir fry. Generally green or cluster bean paruppu usili is a wonderful accompaniment, as is a spinach dish such as spinach masiyal or spinach poriyal.

There are also two dishes that derive from this one – both add dumplings made of ground lentils, and you might like to try them also:

Are you looking for other Yoghurt recipes? Try Moar SambarSweet and Sour Mango Curry in Yoghurt Sauce, and Simple Yoghurt Curry.

Or try other Kuzhambu recipes: Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu, Simple, Seasoned Kuzhambu, and Kottu Kuzhambu.

You might also like to try a host of different Lassi drinks.

You can find all of our Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Indian recipes here. Or explore our collection of Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Moar Kuzhambu | Yoghurt Gravy with Vegetables or Vatral”

Race Kuzhambu | Anjara Petti Kuzhambu | A Traditional South Indian Gravy

A tangy tamarind based kuzhambu with okra, drumsticks or eggplant.

No one really knows how Race Kuzhambu got its name, but we have a theory that it is a mis-spelling of rice. This recipe uses a little rice to aid in the thickening of the kuzhambu gravy.

A Kuzhambu is a gravy like dish, sometimes thin, sometimes thicker, intended to be eaten over rice. Read more about Kuzhambu here.

It is also called Anjara petti kozhambu, meaning Spice Box Kuzhambu. In this dish, a range of ingredients in the home spice box are used to make the masala which is then cooked in tamarind liquid.

Browse our Kuzhambu recipes here, including Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai. If you are looking for Sambar Recipes, they are here. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Race Kuzhambu | Anjara Petti Kuzhambu | A Traditional South Indian Gravy”

Drumstick Kadhi | Yoghurt Curry with Drumsticks

Yoghurt Curry with Drumstick Vegetables

After being given some drumsticks, home grown by a friend, Drumstick Kadhi was on the menu.

Kadhi is a slow cooked yogurt or buttermilk dish, thickened with besan (chana flour, chickpea flour) which is later tempered with spices. In Indian recipes the terms “curd”, “buttermilk” and “yoghurt” are used almost interchangeably.

You can use Western buttermilk especially if you are after that little sour tang that buttermilk provides. If you are using yoghurt, look for unsweetened natural yoghurt, eg Greek Yoghurt or yoghurt from your Indian grocery, and thin it a little.

You might like to browse the collection of yoghurt recipes here. and here. A favourite is Thick Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs. Browse all of our Indian recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Winter dishes here and here.

Continue reading “Drumstick Kadhi | Yoghurt Curry with Drumsticks”

Moru Sambar | Buttermilk Sambar | Two Recipes

Delicious and easy to make

This wonderful, refreshing, soothing sambar is made with buttermilk. It is utterly delicious and very easy to make. Called Moru Sambar, Moar Sambar or More Sambar, it can be made with either buttermilk or yoghurt.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse all sambar recipes, kuzhambu recipes. This sambar is different to the classical, seasoned sambars, being made of yoghurt or buttermilk.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

Continue reading “Moru Sambar | Buttermilk Sambar | Two Recipes”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four

This is the fourth of four methods that Ms Ammal presents for her basic sambars.

Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 1 has four methods for cooking basic, classic seasoned sambar. This is the fourth method that she describes for that dish.

There are other types of sambar – Yoghurt and Buttermilk sambars, kuzhambu and others that stray from the classic approach. This recipe sticks to that classic, seasoned approach.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse all sambar recipes, kuzhambu recipes, and these helpful posts – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

You can see the other methods here – Method 1, Method 2, Method 3. Continue reading “Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Three

This is the third of four main ways of cooking sambar.

We have four main methods of cooking Sambar, and this one is the third. The difference in this method  from previous ones is that a delicious paste of chillies, coriander and channa dal is made, instead of using dry spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you can browse these helpful posts – Sambar Method One, Method Two, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish:)

This recipe is different to Methods One and Two in that it introduces a lovely paste as a part substitute for individual spices.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Onion Sambar II

Seasoned Sambar Method THREE a la S. Meenakshi Ammal

Source : adapted from Method Three, Seasoned Sambar in Cook and See Part 1, by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian
Prep time: 15 mins or so
Cooking time: 30 mins + time of cooking the toor dal (about 1.5 hrs)
Serves: 4 people

ingredients
0.5 cup Red Gram Dal = Toor Dal
1 large Tblspn Tamarind
1 tspn salt or to taste
0.5 tspn rice flour or chickpea flour
6 dried red chillies, depending on heat and your preference. I use 3 or 4.
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
3 tspn Gingelly Oil = Indian Sesame Oil (a very light sesame oil without a sesame taste. Use ghee or vegetable oil if you can’t get Indian Sesame Oil)
2 Green chillies
1 pinch asafoetida
6 or so curry leaves
coriander leaves
0.33 tspn Turmeric powder
1 cup chopped vegetable (see below)

for chilli paste
6 dried red chillies
1.5 tspns coriander seeds
1 tspn bengal gram (channa dal)

for vegetables
Vegetables like carrot, pumpkin, french beans, runner beans, cluster beans, eggplant, okra, chow chow and drumstick can be used.  It is best to use only one vegetable. Prepare the vegetable by washing and cutting into chunks or lengths. ADD THESE VEGETABLES WHEN THE TAMARIND IS ADDED.

If you prefer, you can briefly par-boil any harder vegetables, like eggplant, okra, pumpkin or any of the beans before using in the recipe. ADD THESE VEGETABLES BEFORE ADDING THE TAMARIND.

You can also use Amaranth stems, radish, white radish or onions, which can be par-boiled in a little water along with the tamarind water before adding to the recipe AT THE POINT THE TAMARIND IS USUALLY ADDED. (Add the cooking water as well). Don’t add extra tamarind to the recipe.

Or Amaranth stems, radish, runner beans, cluster beans or pumpkin can be cooked separately with a little salt, drained an ADDED AFTER ADDING THE TAMARIND.

 

method
Wash the dal. Boil about 4 cups water, add the dal and 1 tspn gingelly oil or ghee. Cover with a lid and cook until a soft mass. Add more water as it cooks if needed. It will take at least 30 mins and up to 90 mins to cook until very soft, depending on the age of the dal.

Towards the end of cooking, add the turmeric powder.

Make the paste. Shallow fry 6 dried red chillies or to taste, coriander seeds and bengal gram in a little ghee. Grind to a paste in a spice grinder or small processor.

Get ready the remaining 6 dried red chillies. Take a small pan and heat with the remainder of the gingelly oil or ghee. Break the dried chillies in half and add to the oil with the mustard seeds first, then the fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Allow the mustard seeds to pop and fry the seeds till they are a dark brown but not burnt.

Slit the green chillies into 2 and add to the spices with the curry leaves. The curry leaves will splatter so stand back!

Check when your vegetables should be added to the sambar – either now, with the next step or after the next step.

Strain the tamarind water, removing the seeds and strings and keeping the pulp, and add to the spices with the salt.

By now the vegetables are added, so add enough cooking water to make a soupy consistency. Stir, cover and cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables are cooked.

Now add the spices, the chilli paste and vegetables to the dal and mix very well. Allow the sambar to boil well for 3 or 4 minutes.

Mix the rice flour or chickpea flour in some water, mixing well to remove lumps. Stir into the dal, mixing it well. Boil again for a few minutes. Remove from the stove.

Once off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.

Sambar

 

recipe notes
Grated coconut can be roasted to a golden brown and added to the spice paste, but the keeping properties of the Sambar might be reduced.

Always consider the heat and size of your chillies (dried for red and fresh for green) when selecting how many you will use in the recipe. If the chillies are large, reduce to 4 for the spice paste and 4 for the sambar.

I like to add 2 tomatoes, chopped well, with the vegetables.

Green chillies are optional and may be replaced by red chillies.

If you use more toor dal than specified, the sambar will be thick enough without the need for rice flour or chickpea flour.

If masalas are liked, saute in ghee or gingelly oil: 1 tspn poppy seeds, 0.5 tspn anise, 2 cm cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 4 cardamon pods, and add for extra flavour to the sambar.

A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two

I adore sambar. There are no two ways around it. It is a dish of choice, and when I visit my most favourite Indian restaurants, I will always order a dish of sambar and idli. As homely as it is, it is comforting, flavoursome, awesome.

This is a second method of cooking Sambar as described by Meenakshi Ammal, that classical Indian author of cookbooks. It introduces the use of Sambar Powder as a replacement for some of the individual spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse these helpful posts – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish 🙂

Continue reading “A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two”

Seasoned Sambar, Method One

A classic, traditional Sambar, from Meenakshi Ammal.

A treat that you can give yourself is a wonderful South Indian Sambar, a South Indian soupy spicy dish, generally served over rice or with dosa.

This recipe is interpreted from the doyenne of South Indian cooking, S. Meenakshi Ammal. Her books, Cook and See (in four parts) are a goldmine of traditional South Indian cooking. Sometimes hard to interpret for the novice non-Indian cook, her recipes take a bit of detective work, planning, thinking, rewriting, and discussing. But if you are serious about real and traditional Indian food, these books are a treasure.

You can read more about Sambars and their characteristics here.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

For Meenakshi Ammal’s other Sambars, try her different ways of making this dish – Method Two, Method Three and Method Four. Each is delicious!

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Seasoned Sambar, Method One”