Brinjal Dosai Masiyal | Eggplant Masiyal

This Masiyal made with eggplants is so good with Dosai that is has been given the name Dosa Masiyal. It is thick and gorgeous, tangy and spicy, and easy to make.  But don’t keep it only for dosa – it is also good as a side dish, or with rice. It is surprisingly good in wraps and on toast! Or thin it somewhat, and it is perfect for rice and idli.

I have cooked without onions, but onions can be added – see the notes at the end of the recipe.

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 recipes include Brinjal Kootu, Brinjal Asadu, and Brinjal Kootu with Tamarind.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and our Masiyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.
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Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal

There are a number of Amaranth greens available in South India – Mulaikkeerai, Muli Thandu or Thandukkeerai, and Arikkeerai. The most common variety of amaranth that is grown here, Foxtail Amaranth, is Thandukkeerai, but it is grown for ornamental reasons in gardens, not culinary ones. It is very difficult to find the  different varieties in shops unless you search the Asian markets.

The different varieties do have different tastes and properties – for example, some are heating to the body and some are cooling to the body. In India, the crops of Amaranth are also dependent on the season – the cooling ones in the hottest parts of the year, the heating ones in the coldest times of the year. Here, there is no such availability, information or attention to detail. Do use whichever amaranth is available to you.

We generally think of Masiyal as being made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. However Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See has several recipes for Amaranth Masiyal (in Vol. 1) that do not contain any dal. This one mashes the leaves, and I have to say it is very delicious. One of the defining characteristics of Masiyal is that there are no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices. It allows the ingredients to shine rather than being overwhelmed with spices, onions or garlic. That is the beauty of all traditional Tamil food.

Similar dishes include Eggplant Misayal, Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal, Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

Browse all of our Amaranth dishes and all of our Masiyal recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind

Oh the joy of Amaranth. Spectacular in the garden, a delight in the rays of sunset, and absolutely delicious in the kitchen. Today we are cooking Amaranth leaves with tamarind in a simply spiced dish. The leaves are mashed a little but not completely.

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. In Vol 1, she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Misayal, Amaranth Leaf Masiyal, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

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

Continue reading “Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind”

Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal

It is quite fun exploring the use of Amaranth Leaves in both Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Right now we are focused on Indian uses (of course) but will explore the uses in Middle Eastern and other cuisines as long as our season of Amaranth lasts. Luckily the plants are self-sowing, so there will be another amaranth forest next year, no doubt.

This dish is another Masiyal with Amaranth Leaves – the third one we have made. 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. In Vol 1, and she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.

Generally masiyal is made with toor dal but less commonly it is made without dal, as in this recipe. The  vegetables generally are mashed or finely chopped, and there are (generally) no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices.

You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Puli Keerai, Ridged Gourd Masiyal, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

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

Continue reading “Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal”

Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime Juice

Two of the special yams in India are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two often get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.

This Masiyal can be made with either of the two yams. I am using frozen yam as fresh ones are not available here. Its a surprising dish, incredibly delicious.

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

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her books Cook and See. The dish is made with toor dal (red gram dal) but uses lime juice instead of tamarind. Lemon juice works too, due to the same word being used for both fruits in India it is often difficult to tell which is intended. Both work well in most dishes. I like lime because it gives a tropical spark to dishes.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Suran and Arbi, Amaranth Leaf Masiyal, Ridged Gourd MasiyalPoritha 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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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.

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Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds | Karunaikizhangu Masiyal

India has so many types of yams, ones that we don’t even dream of here. Two favourites are Elephant Yam and Elephant Foot Yam. Luckily these are available in a frozen from from Indian groceries.  (Note that these yams are often confused, understandably, but are in fact, different yams.)

And luckily, Meenakshi Ammal, in her books Cook and See, has some recipes for these yams. In Tamil, the yams are Karunaikizhangu and Chenai (or Senai) Kizhangu. Don’t confuse it with Seppankizhangu, which is colocasia (taro), slightly smaller than karnaikizhangu. The Hindi name for the Elephant Foot Yam is Suran Jingikand. This recipe is for Elephant Yam but can also be made with Elephant Food Yam.

Similar recipes include Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime Juice, Elephant (Foot) Yam Masiyal, 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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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 Elephant (Foot) Yam Masiyal, Poritha Kootu with Snake Gourd, Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy, Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Elephant Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds, Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, 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 (Foot) Yam Masiyal, Mango Kootu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Tamarind, Elephant Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seeds, Ridged Gourd MasiyalBrinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, 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”

Indian Essentials: What is the difference between Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu and Related Dishes?

Differences between Indian dishes can be very subtle compared to other cuisines. Learn to differentiate between these dishes.

Is a sambar a kuzhambu, or a kuzhambu a sambar? Where does a Kootu fit in? And then there is Masiyal and Pitlai. These are the big questions that keep one awake at night.

Traditional Indian cuisine is an ancient one, eons old, with superb flavour and texture combinations, exquisitely evident in the soupy dishes of sambar and kuzhambu. Infinite varieties of both dishes exist, emerging from very subtle cooking differences (eg whether the vegetables are added before the tamarind or after), on the time of the meal, on the region, the village, the time of year, the festival, the vegetable used, or the spices used, whether coconut is added, and so on.

In general you can say that sambar has a base of red gram dal (toor dal), and kuzhambu does not use lentils as a base. A kuzhambu may use a small amount of toor dal ground in a spice paste, but not generally as a key ingredient.

All kuzhambus and sambars contain fenugreek but it is considered the defining spice for a kuzhambu, because it pairs so well with the sour taste of tamarind.

Continue reading “Indian Essentials: What is the difference between Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu and Related Dishes?”