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 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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Madhura Pachadi | Kerala Pineapple Pachadi with Tamarind

I love fresh pineapple, so much so that it (mostly) overcomes the need to peel it and remove the eyes before the juicy slices can be used. This year I have made two Madhura Pachadi dishes, both delicious. They are from Kerala. One has a little coconut but no yoghurt and is a little like a spicy halwa, and this one where the pineapple is cooked in a tamarind base. It also contains a little coconut. BTW there are many other versions of Madhura Pachadi, but we love these two.

Kerala has the best dishes, don’t you think? That is after Tamil Nadu of course.

Similar dishes include Pineapple, Grape and Plantain Madhura Pachadi, Pineapple Pulissery, Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes, all of our Pineapple dishes,and all of our Keralite dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Madhura Pachadi | Kerala Pineapple, Plantain and Grape Pachadi

Pineapples are ripening at the moment, and along with all of the other magnificent produce in the shops, they are abundant, cheap and delicious. I am not a fan of peeling pineapples with all those eyes to cut out (some have more than others), but the occasional recipe is worth it.  Today we are making a Pachadi – a side dish – from pineapple. This dish from Kerala is quite unusual. Commonly, Pachadis from Tamil Nadu and Kerala  have a yoghurt base for the vegetable component, or include an amount of coconut. This one has some coconut, but it cooks the pineapple, grapes and plantain to the point that it is jammy, almost like a halwa. But don’t be fooled, it is spicy with sweet and sour tastes.  It tastes a little like a pickle, or a cross between a pickle and a pachadi. It is definitely a dish where less is more when serving – a couple of Tblspns along with rice, thorans and other Kerala sadya dishes. It is delicious, I am sure you will come back for seconds.

There are two main versions of Madhura Pachadi, this one flavours the pachadi with powdered mustard seeds, and another which cooks the pineapple in tamarind. The recipe today is based on one from Elephants and Coconut Trees. You can chop the pineapple into pieces that are about 1 – 1.5 cm and they will retain a little bite when cooked (yummy) or chop smaller and it will melt into a halwa type consistency (also yummy).

Similar recipes include Madhura Pachadi with Tamarind, Bitter Melon Pachadi, Green Tomato Pachadi, and Ginger Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Keralite dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer 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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Keerai Molagootal | Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy

A bunch of beautiful spinach leaves from the garden – what can be better than cooking them with toor dal and coconut with a pepper hit? This recipe is a Palakkad recipe – from that region in Kerala on the border of Tamil Nadu. The area is a melting pot of influences especially Tamil and Malayalam. This dish is quite traditional. Some recipes include pepper and others do not. As it’s name indicates with pepper, that is how we cooked it. It is quite similar to a kootu, but subtly different. It is much like the Poritha Kuzhambu of Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala, many different greens are used for this dish, even cabbage. It can be made with chowchow, long beans, snake gourd and yellow pumpkin. Mixtures of vegetables such as plantain, carrot, yam, potato and chowchow, are also excellent. Indian greens include mulai keerai, paruppu keerai, thandu keerai, palak keerai, and ara keerai – oh to have the same range of greens here.

Similar dishes include Okra Tamarind Kootu, Chilli Leaves with Peas, Mango Kootu, Ridge Gourd Dal, Cluster Bean Kootu, Moringa Leaf Dal, Poritha Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Masiyal.

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

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Vendakkai Khichdi | Okra in a Coconut Yoghurt Sauce | Ladyfinger Pachadi

Vendakka Khichdi is a delicious and common side-dish from Kerala. It is crispy fried okra in yoghurt flavoured with a green chilli-cumin-coconut sauce. It is often included as a part of Onam or Vishu Sadya. Otherwise, it is often served with Sambar and beautiful Indian pickles.

The okra is sliced and fried and then mixed into a yoghurt base flavoured with mustard seeds, cumin, green chill and coconut. It is one delicious dish, served warm.

This dish, which is a Khichdi, should not be confused with Kitchari – the Indian dish of rice and lentils. Khichdi is a Kerala yoghurt-based style of dish, similar to a Pachadi or a Raita.

Similar recipes include Tomato Pachadi, Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Bhindi Raita, and Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (you can use okra in place of pineapple).

Or browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Indian recipes too. And explore our Mid Winter series of recipes.

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Teeny Dried Okra | Okra Vathal | Crispy Okra

There are lots of ways of drying Okra in South India, from the plain – salted and dried, to the curd-soaked okra similar to yoghurt chillies, to okra that is pre-cooked in chilli and tamarind and then dried.

This version partially dries the okra and then blanches them in salt and turmeric (how healthy!) before finishing the drying process. Like all Vathal, the dried okra are fried before use, and can be eaten as snacks, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or included in dishes such as Vatral Kuzhambu.

Traditionally, in India, drying would be done on a roof top terrace in the hottest of suns. I once saw my neighbours put a whole sack of onions out in the sunshine for months to fully dry. Sadly, in other parts of the world, this is not possible. So here, I use a dehydrator with excellent results. You can also dry them in the oven.

Are you after some other Okra recipes? Try Dried Turmeric Okra, Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or try some of our other Vathal and VadagamDried Mango, Another Method for Dried Okra, and Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

You can check out all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal and Vadagam. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Moringa Leaf (Muringayila) Thoran | Drumstick Leaf Stir Fry

Thorans are delightfully delicious, simple and quick dishes from the South of India that can form part of a meal, or can be eaten just with rice. Today our recipe is for Drumstick Leaf (Moringa Leaf) Thoran. The recipe is the same as all thorans – a tadka, some onion perhaps, the vegetable and some coconut. Delicious.

Similar recipes include Spinach Thoran, Cabbage Thoran, Green Tomato Bhajji, and Zucchini Thoran. And have a look at our collection of Thoran recipes.

Also try Moringa Leaf Dal.

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

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Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns | Pineapple Curry with Green Peppercorns

In one episode of Master Chef last year, the contestants had a mystery box that contained pineapples and green peppercorns. We were yelling at the TV screen “Kerala Pineapple Curry!!!”. Sadly, they could not hear, and I don’t recall that anyone paired them together. Kerala uses pineapple a lot in savoury ways, and this is one of them. So, Master Chef contestants, here is how you enhance the flavour of pineapples with chillies, coconut and green peppercorns.

Similar recipes include Pineapple Pulissery, Kerala Cooking, and Green Mango in Coconut Milk.

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

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Fresh Radish and Mint Chutney

This chutney was one of my first forays into the universe of Indian fresh chutneys, some many years ago. These days I make them a lot – not only are they wonderful in their own right and an important taste element in an Indian meal, they are also a great way to eat more vegetables, and a great way to use up any vegetable and herb that is sitting a little neglected in the fridge. They go great in sandwiches, toasties, and dolloped into soups too.

If you are trying to learn more about Indian cooking the importance of the Indian fresh chutneys is not immediately evident. They may not make sense to you – they appear in a separate section of cookbooks and it may not be evident how critical a part they play in any meal. It is only through diligent reading of many many blog posts or books, or a visit to India where you can eat in homes and local cafes, that the place of fresh chutneys in Indian meals slowly dawns.

Similar recipes include Coconut and Tamarind Sambol, Andhra Eggplant Chutney, Andhra Spinach Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Don’t let a day go past without whizzing one up. Read about Indian Chutneys here. Browse our Indian Chutney recipes, our general Chutney recipes, and our pickle recipes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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