Elephant (Foot) Yam Masiyal

India is Yam Heaven – so many more varieties there than are grown or available here. Two outstanding ones are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.

While you can’t purchase them in the shops here, not even in Asian or Indian shops, you might just find them in the frozen section of your South Indian grocery store. It is worth searching them out, just to try them and to say that you have eaten Elephant (Foot) Yam.

If you have any more information about these yams, please share.

Elephant Foot Yam | Senai kizhanguElephant Foot Yam | Senai Kizhangu

And luckily, Meenakshi Ammal, in her books Cook and See, has some recipes in her Masiyal section of the Poritha Kuzhambu chapter. In Tamil, the yams are Karunaikizhangu and Chenai (or Senai) Kizhangu. Another name for the Elephant Foot Yam is Suran Jingikand.

Elephant Yam | KarunaikizhanguElephant Yam | Karunaikizhangu

According to Meenakshi Ammal, the two different yams can be used interchangeably in the three Masiyal recipes that I am going to make and share with you. Today’s recipe is made with toor dal (red gram dal) and uses tamarind.

Similar recipes include Elephant Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds, Poritha Kootu, and South Indian Yellow Pumpkin Soup.

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

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The Huge Vine Leaf Pakora | Angoor Patta Pakora

Fresh grape vine leaves are a rarity, unless you have a vine in your yard, or are surrounded by vineyards, or live in an Italian neighbourhood. If you can, grab some fresh ones (more than you need and freeze the rest). We have quite a number of recipes for them. If you can’t find them locally, you can purchase them preserved in water, salt and citric acid. They are available at most gourmet stores or Greek groceries.

In this recipe, the leaves are blanched, drained, finely shredded and folded into a spiced chickpea flour batter. The mixture is then poured into a sauté pan and shallow-fried into a large round cake that is golden brown, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is like making one pakora from the batter. You could of course, make individual pakoras the usual way.

This recipe is adapted from Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a beautiful book full of Vedic cooking.

Similar recipes include Eggplant and Kale Pakora, Malabar Spinach Pakora, and Crispy Battered Onion Rings.

Browse all of our Vine Leaf recipes and all of our Pakoras. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Dum Aloo | Kashmiri Potatoes in Spicy Yoghurt Sauce

There are two main versions of Aloo Dum – the Kashmiri version, and a Punjabi version which is generally less spicy than the Kashmiri version.

Dum style cooking is a slow cooking style which allows the ingredients to cook in their own juices and any added sauce. When the lid of the pot is sealed to prevent any steam from escaping it is called dum pukht – dum meaning breathe in and pukht meaning to cook. Dum lets the dish breathe in or steam slowly in its own juices, absorbing the delicate flavour of the spices and herbs. You can still see large cooking pots that are sealed with dough or cloth to trap the steam, cooking the vegetables or rice until tender. It is used most commonly when cooking biryani, and is a technique that is more than 400 years old.

Traditionally only a handful of Indian spices were used for flavour, but with time many more ingredients were added to suit different taste preferences. The dough seal is only opened once the dish was ready to serve to retain maximum flavour. A heavy bottomed clay pot is said to work the best as it releases heat slowly (maintaining the temperature inside) and prevents the fire from burning the bottom of the dish.

While Dum dishes were cooked over open fires with coals added to the top of the pot, today the oven provides a way of maintaining a low heat, and a pot can be sealed with kitchen foil if a dough seal is out of the question. On a stove top a heat diffuser can be used to keep the heat low so that longer cooking is possible. This allows greater infusion of the flavours into the potatoes.

As usual, my recipe for Aloo Dum is one of the simpler ones, home-cooking style, but with extraordinary flavours. You may have Greek or French clay pots, or lovely Indian terracotta ones. I lost my Indian pots when I shifted (they break easily) so sometimes I will use a Chinese clay pot for dishes such as this. The advantage is that it comes with a lid that can be easily sealed with foil, although the sealing isn’t strictly necessary these days for this dish.

Most of the times it is brought directly to the table and then the lid is opened. The result is dramatic, with the rich aroma that comes with the escaping steam is always considered an important part of the experience of a Dum cooked dish. They say that Dum cooking takes years to perfect. The good news is that every trial dish, while not perfect, is jolly jolly good. Just cook with deep respect for the ancient technique, with patience, with love, and with home-made garam masala.

This dish is a little different to those you might see elsewhere. It is Kashmiri rather than from other parts of India. It’s sauce is yoghurt based and does not include onions or tomatoes. Cashews are not added. It it is simply yoghurt and spices, very traditional. The potatoes are first deep fried. This gives them a lovely brown colour and also a crisp coating that prevents them falling apart when they are cooking in the yoghurt sauce.  The crispness is lost during cooking in the sauce and they become beautifully infused and soft. Before frying, the potatoes are pricked all over to allow the infusion of flavours.

Similar dishes include Aloo in Aloo, Potato with Onions, and Aloo Gobi.

Browse all of our Potato Curries and all of our Potato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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

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Garlic Rasam

The health benefits of garlic in the diet are well known. Pair garlic with Long Pepper and you have an immune boosting rasam. Long Pepper is well known in Ayurveda to have multiple health benefits. It also is known by numerous names in India – Pippali, Thippili, Kandathippilis, Desavaram.

This rasam is flavoured with the Pippali and Garlic, as well as black pepper, cumin seeds, chilli and curry leaves. With such layerings of flavours, how could it not be delicious?

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Cumquat Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and another version of Garlic Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Whole Okra with Onions, Garlic and Turmeric | Pyaaz Waali Bhindi Subzi

This must be such a healthy dish, with the goodness of okra combined with heaps of garlic and some health-giving turmeric. The okra is cooked whole, steamed gently, until cooked and tender. The dish is served as a dry curry with lots of onion s and coriander leaves to garnish.

We have had a focus on okra for the past 12 months or so, and this is our latest dish in the series. The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey.

Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Try it in Sambar, and in Moar Kuzhambu. And make Greek Okra in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. Have a look at the Madhur Jaffrey dishes we have made. And explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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South Indian Amaranth Leaves Soup with Tamarind

Amaranth is loved across India (and features strongly in a range of Asian cuisines). All parts are used – the seeds are well known outside India, and at the moment they are fashionable and quite popular. But in India the leaves are also used, and the young, tender stems as well.

Amaranth leaves are available in Asian shops so keep an eye out for them. There are different varieties – some are green, but others often contain a tinge of red. Beautiful indeed.

Meenakshi Ammal in her cookbooks Cook and See mentions Amaranth leaves and stems a lot in her sections on sambars and kuzhambu recipes. This recipe she calls (in English) Greens Soup with Tamarind and it sits in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu. It is an unusual name given that soups are not traditionally part of the Tamil cuisine (although they are popular more recently). I wonder if the name in Tamil is quite different. However, she certainly got the colour correct!

This recipe is a cousin to this one of the same name. While that one uses Pitlay spices but not a tadka, this recipe uses sambar powder with a tadka. Both are pretty special and you should try them both. This one is closer to this Poritha Koottu with Tamarind.

Would  you like more Kuzhambu recipes? First, check our Poritha Kuzhambu dishes and Poritha Kootu recipes. Then try Moar Kuzhambu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Some popular Indian Soups include South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Two Gentle Mung Dal Soups, and A Light, Summery Tomato Soup.

But why not browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all Indian Soups? Or explore our Amaranth dishes, and our complete Indian Recipe Collection. Or take some time to check out our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Mango Dal / Kootu

Mangoes are coming back into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but recently the early sweet mangoes are appearing. We needed no further prompting to celebrate the long Australian Mango Season with mango dal.

All the flavour and taste of mango is in this kootu as tamarind is not added – it is full of natural flavours. You might think that it would be too sweet, but the spices mellow the sweetness. The recipe is meant for a sweetish mango, but a slightly sour one can be used as long as it is soft enough to melt into the dal. Our local shop will have sweet-sour mangoes later in the season. These would also work with this dal. Today I have made it with a very soft sweet one.

It is quite a simple dal with few spices, but that is the beauty of the South Indian style of cooking.  If you feel it is too sweet, add a little amchoor (to layer different mango flavours) or lime or lemon juice. I never find this is necessary, but it is an option if you prefer. I like with good chilli heat and slightly salty.

This is a very traditional Tamil recipe. It 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 traditional recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

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

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Kerala Mung Dal with Onions, Garlic and Green Chillies

In Kerala, there is an amazing dish, Neyyum Parippum, which is mung dal cooked with few spices, and with a fair amount of ghee added. Because the amount of ghee is frightening (but delicious), different versions of the dish abound, introducing more spices and less ghee. Here is one of them, given to me by a Keralite friend.

Similar dishes include Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Dal Tadka, and Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach.

Browse all of our Kerala dishes and all of our Dals. Our Indian dishes are here. Or enjoy our Late Winter dishes.

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Ridge Gourd Dal | Peerklankai Paruppu

Ridge Gourd is also known as Ribbed Gourd, and it makes a particularly lovely dal. It is a simple dal recipe that perfectly accompanies rice and roti. It is also very good with curd rice. This is a dish loved in Tamil Nadu.

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 Mango Kootu, Kerala Mung Dal, Ridge Gourd Masiyal,  and Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices.

Browse all of our Ridge Gourd dishes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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

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Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings with Chilli Powder and Lemon | An Indian Snack

Once upon a time, it is hardly believable now, we didn’t eat much fried food. Falling in love with Indian food changed that, as their snacks and street foods are over the top delicious. Not all are deep fried, of course, but there are a fair number that are.

This is a simple dish – it just takes time to fry the strings of potato and carrot in batches. It is moreish and you may have to make more than you anticipated. It makes a great afternoon snack with a cuppa, or a late night supper. But note that the vegetable strings need to soak for 30 mins before cooking.

Similar dishes include Malabar Spinach PakoraMadhur Vadai, and Crispy Onion Rings.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Potato and Carrot dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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