Murungakkai Sambar | Drumstick Sambar With Crushed Curry Leaves

Drumsticks, such a funny name, are stick shaped vegetables that grow on a tree. They are funny, skinny, long vegetables with a hard outer covering that gives them the name drumsticks. You have to be in the know to eat this vegetable, as you would never guess it. There is a soft interior that is delicious. The pieces of drumsticks have to be picked up with the fingers, the exterior is squashed in the mouth and the tender interior can be scraped out with the teeth. You come to love this little procedure. The harder skin, once all flavour is extracted from it, is discarded on the side of the plate.

Drumsticks are particularly delicious in Sambar and Rasam. They are best bought fresh, but frozen drumsticks are readily available in Indian groceries if you can’t find them locally. This recipe is from the classic book Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine, such a great book of classic South Indian / Tamil traditional recipes. The method is somewhat different to Meenakshi Ammal’s seminal recipes from Cook and See, in that the tadka is added to the base gravy before the cooked dal is added. Ammal usually also includes tomatoes in her sambar as well, and thickens the dish with a little rice flour or besan at the end. I have added the thickening trick to the recipe as it really does add to the texture of the dish.

Similar recipes include Onion Sambar, Poritha Koottu, Poritha Kuzhambu, Drumstick Kadhi, and Pitlai.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Sambar dishes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Murungakkai Sambar | Drumstick Sambar With Crushed Curry Leaves”

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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 Drumsrick Leaves Sambar, 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.

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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. Also try Drumsrick Leaves Sambar.

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 Drumsrick Leaves Sambar, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:)

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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 are variations on the classic sambar.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question.

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:)

The other methods of cooking a basic, classic Sambar are here – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four.

Similar recipes include Onion Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, and Sundakkai Sambar.

Browse all Sambar recipes, Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some relaxing time to explore all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

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.

Continue reading “Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Three”

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”