Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral

Uppadam is an older recipe, one which people recall their Grandmothers or perhaps Mothers making, but which seems to have lost favour in the current generations. It is generally made with okra, and, as Uppadam means something that is preserved, with vatral, sun-dried vegetables, as well. Manathakkali vatral is traditionally used, and I searched high and low for it. It is difficult to obtain here, it seems, so Sundakkai is the recommended alternative. Sundakkai is sun-dried Turkey Berry/Pea Eggplants.

There are a few ways of making Kuzhambu style dishes with okra, but I particularly like this way. It has that sense of connecting one with past generations of women cooking in the kitchens of South India, or directing the making of similar dishes with a specialist’s hand. The okra is cooked with spices and the vatral, before tamarind and a paste of toasted rice, fenugreek, and chillies is added. This thickens the dish, so it is half way between a Rasam and a Sambar. Meenakshi Ammal has a similar recipe, and I will share that one too, in due course.

Roasting the rice will interest you. It releases more moisture that you thought possible, and the grain itself therefore changes somewhat. Roast until it is aromatic.

Similar dishes include Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

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

Continue reading “Uppadam | Okra Kuzhambu with Sundakkai Vatral”

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Sundakkai Puli Kuzhambu | Turkey Berry Kuzhambu | Pea Eggplants in Spicy Gravy

Turkey Berry is also called Small Thai Eggplant, Wild Eggplant, Pea Eggplant and Sundakkai (in Tamil). It is a slightly bitter, tiny pea-sized vegetable very common in Thailand and in parts of India. You can add Turkey Berries to your list of slightly bitter foods that have so many health-giving properties – fenugreek, bitter gourd, pomelo, radicchio, Belgian endive, Escarole and other chicory greens. But don’t be afraid, they have only a slight bitter backnote and it is delightful.

The Turkey Berries first need to be picked from their stems. This is the sort of job that is similar to shelling peas or peeling broad beans – best done while watching your favourite show on TV or sitting outside in the sunshine. Then rinse them well in cold water.

This dish, Puli Kuzhambu, is a quick Kuzhambu, a gravy-style dish that is generally eaten with rice. It has such a wonderful flavour! Deep and rich. In this recipe the Turkey Berries are stir fried with spices before being added to a tamarind gravy. You will love it.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu dishes? Try Okra Kuzhambu with Vathral, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Coconut Masala Kuzhambu, and Simple Seasoned Kuzhambu.

You might also enjoy Sundakkai Sambar, and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Check here to see other Turkey Berry recipes. Browse all of our Kuzhambu dishes and all of our Indian recipes. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Puli Kuzhambu | Turkey Berry Kuzhambu | Pea Eggplants in Spicy Gravy”

Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu | Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce

Mor (or Moar or More) Kuzhambu is a yoghurt based dish of South India, forming a wonderful spiced yoghurt gravy that is delicious served over rice. In this recipe, ladyfingers (okra) are sauteed until crisp and then added to the yoghurt sauce. It is a flavoursome use of okra, and the crispiness contrasts beautifully with the silkiness of the yoghurt sauce.

The yoghurt is flavoured with a coconut flavoured spice paste which also contains rice flour. The rice flour helps to stabilise the yoghurt so it doesn’t split, and will slightly thicken the yoghurt sauce.

Find out what Kuzhambu is here.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Mor Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings, Moar Kuzhambu with Vatral or Vegetables, and another version of Mor Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings.

Similar Okra dishes include Sri Lankan Okra Curry.

Or browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. All of our Okra dishes are here, and our Yoghurt recipes are here. Or spend some time browsing our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind

Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.

What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.

Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!

This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.

Would you like to try other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuszhambu, and Ammal’s “Method Three” Poritha Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for general Kuzhambu Recipes? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil cuisine.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.

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Ridged Gourd Masiyal | Peerkankai Masiyal

Masiyal is a South Indian dish made from dal and vegetables. It can be made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. It can contain tamarind, and it always includes a lot of vegetables. However, there are no powdered spices used. Instead it is seasoned with a few selected spices which often include fenugreek. This recipe, however, is unusual in that it contains neither fenugreek nor tamarind.

The recipe is another from the doyen of TamBram cooking from South India, Meenakshi Ammal, in the first volume of Cook and See. It is in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu, and is one member of the family of toor dal based vegetable dishes. (Occasionally green gram dal – mung dal – is used in place of toor dal, or a mixture of the two dals is used.)

This same recipe can be made with green leaves – amaranth leaves, any greens, fenugreek leaves, radish tops, etc. I guess in these modern times we could use beetroot leaves too. You can make it thin as a Kuzhambu, or thick as a Koottu, depending on personal preference.

Similar recipes include Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy, Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Elephant Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds, Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or alternatively, browse all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes that we have made. All Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Amaranth Leaves Masiyal | Dal with Amaranth Leaves, Green Chillies and Cashews

Masiyal is a South Indian dish made from dal and vegetables. It can be made with toor dal or mung dal, or a mixture of both. It can contain tamarind (but not always) but will always include lots of vegetables. There are no ground or powdered spices, it is only seasoned with a few selected spices.

The recipe is another from the doyen of TamBram cooking from South India, Meenakshi Ammal, in the first volume of Cook and See. It is in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu, and is one member of the family of toor-dal based vegetable dishes.

This same recipe can be made with a range of green leaves –  fenugreek leaves, radish tops, etc, or with ridged gourd. I guess in these modern times we could use beetroot leaves too. You can make it thin as a Kuzhambu, or thick as a Koottu, depending on personal preference.

Similar recipes include Elephant Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds, Ridged Gourd MasiyalBrinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or alternatively, check out all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes that we have made. All Indian recipes are here. You might like to browse our Indian Essentials. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn collection of recipes.

Continue reading “Amaranth Leaves Masiyal | Dal with Amaranth Leaves, Green Chillies and Cashews”

Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices

Here is another Poritha Kootu – Mung Dal with vegetables – for a quick and delicious meal. This version is not spicy, very little spice is added, just chillies and cumin with coconut. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables.

Sometimes Poritha Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It is a reasonable description, as it is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, and contains multiple vegetables rather than just one.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy (Keerai Molag00tal), Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

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

You can find all of our Kootu recipes here, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu

We have been posting some Poritha Kootu recipes recently and (at least for a while) this is our last recipe for a Poritha Kootu that does not include tamarind. In the future we will post a few recipes that do contain tamarind, but for now our focus has been with those that don’t, as it is the most common way to make this dish.

This version uses toor dal for a change. Our previous recipes have used mung dal, but Meenakshi Ammal recommends toor dal for this one as it is a better fit for the flavours used.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Are you after Sambar and Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy). Try these Sambar recipes: Classic Seasoned Sambar Version 1, Version 2, Version 3 and Version 4. You can also try a Buttermilk/Yoghurt Sambar.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Toor Dal recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu | Recipe Without Tamarind

Mung dal has that immediate effect of making you feel good – supported, nourished, loved. Because of this quality – Miso Soup has it as well – dishes with Mung dal have become our go-to recipes after late nights and missed sleep, when work is far too busy and when there is disruption in our lives. Often it is a simple Mung Soup or Mung Dal, or Kitchari, all made in under 30 minutes, but today we make Poritha Kootu.

Kootu (Koottu, Kothsu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and is any vegetable combination with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices (but usually without sambar powder). Occasionally Toor Dal is used. Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes black pepper is used, but it seems fenugreek is never used. Kootu is a thicker dish than Sambar or Kuzhambu. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker.

Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, uses red chillies in the paste. As usual, her recipe takes some unpicking as it a little maze-like. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel some of her recipes in Vol 1 of Cook and See. I feel like a sleuth as I work my way through her complex instructions.

Recipes for Kootu vary from region to region, town to town, household to household. Some places define Poritha Kootu by the inclusion of pepper and urad dal in its seasoning, which makes it a variation of Kootu. This is at odds with the way Meenakshi Ammal makes Poritha Kootu – her recipe does not include pepper.

I have used zucchini with other vegetables in this dish – zucchini is still a slightly exotic vegetable in India where it was only recently introduced. I have paired it with potatoes and drumstick. It’s kinda special, as the zucchini and drumsticks are home grown.

Similar recipes include Poritha Kootu with Coconut Chilli Paste and Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind.

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

You can find all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Poritha Kootu | Recipe Without Tamarind”

Cabbage Baaji | Cabbage Kothsu

This is another great toor dal dish, how I love this lentil with its silky smooth texture. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe is based on the recipe for Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, except that the eggplant is replaced with cabbage.

The cabbage gives the dish an entirely different flavour. While the eggplant has a smokiness about it that enhances the dish, and the flesh melts into the toor dal, the cabbage retains some texture and bite and a definable  taste of cabbage. But it is oh so good. The green chilli adds a lovely fresh heat.

Although this recipe is the same as the one for Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, it has a different name – Cabbage Baaji. Gothsu/Kothsu is made from eggplants only.

Are you looking for other Cabbage dishes? Try a Simple Cabbage Thoran, Lemak-Style Vegetables, and Kimchi.

You could also try these other dishes from Meenakshi Ammal that are very similar – Poritha Kootu with Coconut Chilli Paste, Poritha Kootu, Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or alternatively, check out all of our cabbage recipes, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes that we have made. All Indian recipes are here. You might like to browse Indian Essentials. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Sodhi | Coconut Milk Kuzhambu | Jaffna Style

Today’s recipe, Sodhi, is primarily a Sri Lankan and Malaysian-Indian dish, but it is also very famous in Tirunalvelli District of Tamil Nadu in India. This is a simple recipe for the dish which is a thin coconut gravy great for eating with rice or idiappam. Vegetables can be added – drumstick, beans, carrot, potato and the like, for a more filling dish.

The dish is slightly sweet, from the coconut milk, balanced with the tartness of the lemon or lime juice. It is so good it can be eaten as a soup. You might be slurping it long before the rice is cooked.

You might like to try some of our other Kuzhambu recipes – Moar Kuzhamu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu are great ones to try.

Browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. And explore all of our easy Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Sodhi | Coconut Milk Kuzhambu | Jaffna Style”

Easy Eggplant Kuzhambu | Eggplant in Coconut Gravy

Kuzhambu, a cousin to the Sambar, is easy to make as (unlike Sambar) it usually does not use the time-consuming toor dal. Toor dal can take a long time to cook unless you use a pressure cooker (I do not). Without a lentil to add bulk, Kuzhambu is often like a gravy, and excellent to eat with rice.

This is an easy eggplant Kuzhambu from the Monks who wrote the Monk’s cookbook – a collection of easily prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, perfect for the home kitchen and not dependent on dozens of ingredients. Every recipe is delicious.

You might like to read about the difference between Sambar and Kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Sodhi, Simple Poritha KuzhambuSundakkai Kuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Race Kuzhambu and Drumstick Sambar.

Try our Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry too.

Browse our other Kuzhambu recipes, and our Eggplant recipes . All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here.  Try Sri Lankan dishes too. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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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 Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy (Keerai Molag00tal), Poritha KootuPoritha Kootu with Simple Spices, 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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Onion Kothsu with Tamarind

This Kothsu (Gothsu, Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian (TamBram) curry that is made by sautéing onions and popping them into a spicy tamarind gravy. While Eggplant Kothsu, with and without tamarind, is better known, this recipe with onion is just as tasty and enjoyable.

This is another Meenakshi Ammal recipe, a variation on the Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind. This recipe is from Vol 1 of her 4 volume set of Cook and See, and appears in the Poritha Kuzhambu chapter. It is easy to make, and is wonderful with rice.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Cabbage Kothsu, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Cabbage Kosthu, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu. Also try Okra Kuzhambu with Vathral.

Or would you like other Onion dishes? Try Onion Jam, South Indian String Onion Salad, and Sambar with Onions. You might also like Fenugreek Kuzhambu with Onions.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Onion dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here. Browse all of our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simply explore our Late 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, and Amaranth Leaves Masiyal.

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”