Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

Kootu usually includes lentils and is perhaps similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used. We have made this one with Amaranth Leaves.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal style as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home.

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 Aviyal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and 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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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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Ezhukari Kuzhambu / Kootu | Seven Vegetables Kuzhambu | Pongal Kootu

This dish gets its name from the fact that it is prepared with 7 vegetables. It is a South Indian dish, actually a Tamil dish, which is often prepared on Thiruvathirai Day as a side dish for Thiruvadhira Kali (a sweet mung dal and rice dish made on this festival day). Although its name means seven vegetables, often nine, eleven, or even more are used! It is a blend of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours that meld so well together, and is a perfect clean-out-the-fridge dish.

It is a dish that is also made on Thai Pongal, where it is called Pongal Kootu and as an accompaniment to Sakkarai Pongal. For this dish it is made thinner than for Thiruvathirai.

But you can also make this dish at any time – don’t keep it only for a festival dish. 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.

I love this dish cooked just with potatoes. It is divine. Today I made it with Colacasia, Chenai Yam, Cluster Beans, Pumpkin, Potato, Ridged Gourd, and Drumstick. Delicious!

Similar dishes include Drumstick and Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Poritha Kootu, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, and Moringa Leaf Dal.

Browse all of our recipes for Thai Pongal. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Black Gram Sprouts Sundal | Quick Urad Lentil Stirfry with Coconut

Urad Sprouts make a delicious Sundal

Sundals, from Tamil Nadu in South India, are quick, stir-fried lentils or beans with spices and coconut. Not only are they quick, they are delicious and healthy.

Sprouting the lentils adds another layer of nutrition and flavour. In this recipe, whole urad lentils are sprouted and then stirfried.

Similar recipes include Bean Sprout Sundal, Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted White Pea Sundal, and Urad Dal Sundal.

Check out our other Sundal recipes for quick and easy snacks or side dishes. Sundals can also be used as prasadam and neivedyam for Navaratri or Ganesha Chaturthi and other Hindu Festivals. Click the links for other recipes for these festivals. Or explore our collection of Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here.

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Sago Payasam | South Indian Dessert

A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu

Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.

You might also like our Payasam recipes here and here. Or our Sago recipes here and here. Explore our Indian Desserts here, or the more general Dessert recipes here and here.

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Mung Dal Usli | Muga Dali

Mung dal is a perfect dish – an eat anytime dish but also very good for those sensitive times. Here it is roasted then cooked with coconut for a flavoursome breakfast or side dish.

A dry spicy dish of mung dal is very popular with the people of the mid West Coast of India, for example, Goa and further south into Kerala. It is easy to make and brings the beautiful and gentle taste of mung dal to the fore.

Mung dal is very easily digested and so is a favourite ingredient in Ayurveda and also for invalids. But there is no need to wait until you are on an Ayurvedic regime or are unwell, this is a dish that can be eaten any time. Often served for breakfast, it is also used as a side dish at a Konkani meal. It is also very good as a snack with chapathi too.

Similar recipes include Hara Mung Dal Taka.

You might like to browse our other Mung recipes, and our other Goan recipes. Try other Usili dishes, and sample our Indian recipes.

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14-Spice Kitchari | Bengali Bhog Kitchari | Khichuri

An amazing Kitchari from Bengal

This dish is a powerful, multi flavour-layered experience, created from the humble rice and mung dal, and that leaves one feeling so wonderfully warm for hours after. It doesn’t take long to cook – but does take a little thought to keep all of those spices in order!

The Mung Dal and rice are dry roasted, imparting a lovely warm aroma and taste to the khichdi

Similar recipes include A Collection of Kitchari Recipes, Norom Shada Khichuri, Bhuna Kitchari with 5 Lentils, and Moraiya Kitchari with Yoghurt.

Browse all of our Kitchari Recipes. Our Rice dishes are here. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Eliappe, Sweet and Delicious Pikelet-like Dosa

A delicious, surprising Indian pancake style dish

This recipe is adapted from Festival Cookbook by Vilma Patil. Eliappe recipes vary wildly. Some cook Eliappe in molds, some in a wok, some cook them free-form. Some ferment the batter, some do not. Some cook over a very hot pan, some cook them more slowly. Some include additional ingredients.

This is my interpretation of Eliappe, sweet and delicious pikelet-like dosa snacks. If you cook it differently, I would love to hear. If you like this, you should also check out the Goan Surnoli.

This is especially good for Pongal Festival in South India.

You might also like to browse all of our Desserts. Or you might be interested in our Poha (flattened rice) recipes. Explore our Dosa recipes too.

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Navarathri | 9 Nights for the Goddess | Devotion, Dolls and Food

Navaratri – 9 nights dedicated to the Goddess

Millions of Hindus consider Navaratri the year’s central festival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine days dedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, in her incarnations as Durga, Lakshmi and Saravati, provide an opportunity to seek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time for sacred gatherings, austerities, selfless acts and intimate prayers. It also includes joyous worship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance—all venerating God as the loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.

Dishes for Navarathri

Like all Hindu festivals, food plays a large part. See below for the list. Or browse all of our dishes for Navarathri here.

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Pepper Cumin Rice | Milagu Jeeraga Saadham

A warming rice combining the dark flavours of pepper and cumin

Pepper-Cumin rice is another great favourite of South India. Rice is flavoured with the warmth of black pepper and the earthiness of cumin. You can adjust the pepper levels to your individual taste preferences.

Similar recipes include Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon RicePepper Rice and Black Pepper and Cumin Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our  Mid Winter recipes.

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