Should Sambar be Sour, Salty or Hot? And Other Sambar Hints.

Advice for perfecting sambar

Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See, talks about Sambar tastes, which she says are personal preference.

Sour, Salty, Hot?

Some prefer their sambar a little sour, some a little hot and some more salty. Sometimes, some varieties of tamarind are more sour than others, some chillies are hotter than other chillies. Experience, personal taste and discretion should determine the amount, the number and the quality.

Green chillies are not compulsory and may be substituted by red ones.

Continue reading “Should Sambar be Sour, Salty or Hot? And Other Sambar Hints.”

Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal

Rasavangi is a spicy, tamarind based eggplant dish that is a wonderful change from a regular sambar. It is very common in South Indian households.

Rasavangi is a close cousin of the arachuvitta sambar, but with different spices. It is also very close to pitlai. It is a good example of how a small change in spices can make a dish taste very different. This has a wonderful flavour profile of coriander and coconut. All you need with it is some rice and perhaps a simple potato dish, papadums or a vegetable curry.

You might like to browse our Sambar Recipes or all of our Eggplant recipes here and here. Feel free to browse the Indian Recipes. Our Kuzhambu recipes are here.

Continue reading “Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal”

A Light Summery Tomato Soup | Indian Tomato and Potato Soup

Take this soup on summer picnics.

A gorgeously summery tomato soup that is perfect for Autumn too. Good tomatoes are generally available from Early Summer to Mid Autumn, and light soups suitable for the weather are wonderful.

This is an Indian soup. As I understand it, soups are more recent additions to South Indian cuisine, probably as a result of the British dominance. Not a rasam, generally not spicy, they are nevertheless flavoursome. On one trip to Kerala we got into the habit of having soup after our meal, sitting outside and chatting the evening away.

Madhur Jaffrey also does a wonderful tomato soup in one of her books – full of lemongrass and Indian spices and it is a real keeper. Explore some other tomato soup recipes and here. Or browse our summery salads here and here. Our Indian recipes are here and here.

Continue reading “A Light Summery Tomato Soup | Indian Tomato and Potato Soup”

Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | Method 2

This recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. It is a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of toor dal. She has three methods for making this rasam, each one treats the 1 teaspoon of toor dal that it does contain, in a different way. I have detailed Method 1, and this is Method 2.

Have a look at the types of  rasam powder. If your intention is to make a plain rasam without toor dal, it is best to use a powder that does not contain large amounts of toor dal.  That is the case with this rasam. But any rasam powder will work really well, so you can use whichever type you have.

Continue reading “Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | Method 2”

Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk Gravy with Ground Lentil Balls | Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings

Pulse balls, or lentil dumplings, are added to the moar kuzhambu (spicy yoghurt gravy) to make a delicious South Indian dish.

S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books have a Moar Kuzhambu (Buttermilk/Yoghurt spicy gravy), this time Moar Kuzhambu with Lentil Dumplings.

Moar (or Mor or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all to cook. This one includes the lentil dumplings and so takes a little longer. The base for this dish with the lentil dumplings is Moar Kuzhambu, but rather than add vegetables or vatral, balls of ground lentils and spices are made (pulse balls) and added to the base.

You might also like to try Avail – Veggies in a Yoghurt and Coconut Sauce, Yoghurt Curry with Drumstick Vegetables, Moar Sambar, or a host of different lassi drinks. You can find other Kuzhambu recipes here and here. All of our Indian recipes are here and here.

Continue reading “Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk Gravy with Ground Lentil Balls | Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings”

Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk Gravy with Vegetables

Beaten yoghurt (Indian Buttermilk) Thin Curry with Vegetables. Both warming (from the spices) and cooling (from the beaten yoghurt) it is a dish for any time of the year.

Moar Kuzhambu is an Indian dish made with churned yoghurt. It can include vegetables, dried pea vatral, or bondas. Deliciously spicy, it is wonderfully cooling at the same time.

Moar (or Mor or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all to cook. It can be served with hot rice and a vegetable stir fry. Generally green or cluster bean paruppu usili is a wonderful accompaniment, as is a spinach dish such as spinach masiyal or spinach poriyal.

You might also like to try Avail – Veggies in a Yoghurt and Coconut Sauce, Yoghurt Curry with Drumstick Vegetables, Moar Sambar, or a host of different lassi drinks.

You can find Kuzhambu recipes here. There are more here.

Continue reading “Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk Gravy with Vegetables”

Green Chilli Kuzhambu | Pacha Milagai | S. Meenakshi Ammal

This is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s hotest dishes.

The Kitchen is a-hum with activity this week. But first things first, a perspiration generating, hot hot dish of green chillies.

Some kuzhambu dishes are like gravies, perfect to eat ladled over rice. This one is a perfect for rice, and very hot, lunch.

You might also like How to Make Chilli Paste, Coriander and Chilli Lassi, or Tomato and Chilli Jam. Browse all of our Chilli recipes here and here. Or explore our Kuzhambu or Sambar recipes.

Continue reading “Green Chilli Kuzhambu | Pacha Milagai | S. Meenakshi Ammal”

Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai | S. Meenakshi Ammal

A delicious kuzhambu with gram flour dumplings / vadai

Some time ago I had a revelation about Indian food. It is this – European food, and those cuisines that derived from Europe, focus on the vegetables (or meat if you are non veg) as the basis of a dish, and on how to incorporate flavours into the base through the use of herbs, some few spices, browning of ingredients, stocks, sauces etc.

However Indian food is the other way around – the basis of a dish is the spice mix, and the vegetables are the carrier of the spices and add texture. Flavours are deepened through the roasting of spices, the use of oil to enhance and prolong the spice flavours, even spices to thicken liquid components of a dish. When you begin to think this way about Indian food your cooking style will change and many flavours will open up for you.

This dish from Cook and See Part 1 by Meenakshi Ammal typifies this, with 4 different spice combinations added to the dish to create a layered flavour profile. The “sauce” or “gravy” for this dish is just water, tamarind and spices. The texture is created through little balls of besan/gram flour, deep fried into vadai which are dumpling-like.

Continue reading “Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai | S. Meenakshi Ammal”

Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | First Method

There is nothing plain about this dish. Rasam heaven.

Rasam powders vary as much as rasam recipes themselves. It is interesting that rasam recipes that use rasam powder (rather than individual spices) don’t specify the type of  rasam powder to be used in the recipe. For example, if your intention is to make a plain rasam without toor dal, it is best to use a powder that does not contain large amounts of toor dal.  That is the case with this rasam.

This recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. It is a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of toor dal. She has three methods for making this rasam, each one treats the 1 teaspoon of toor dal that it does contain, in a different way. I have detailed Method 1 and included the other 2 methods in the Recipe Notes at the end of the recipe.

You might like to browse Method 2 here.

Continue reading “Kottu Rasam | Plain Simple Rasam | First Method”

Plain Dal Rasam | Easy Rasam

Meenakshi Ammal was an amazing woman. In 1950, in India, no one thought it a great idea for a woman — imagine that! a woman! — to write an entire book of recipes. Today we cook her plain dal rasam.

I came across a great, humorous post about Meenakshi Ammal’s books, Cook and See, this morning. You must read it, if you know and love her books. Written in 1951, they were a treasure trove for new brides entering the kitchens of Sth India for the first time. Today, they are a treasure trove for me as I delve into Sth Indian cooking in my own Australian kitchen. Continue reading “Plain Dal Rasam | Easy Rasam”

Dhal Puttu | Paruppu Puttu | Dal Poriyal | Delicious Stir Fried Lentil Crumble

Puttu is a “scrambled” or “crumbled” dish in South Indian cuisine.

A technique common in South Indian cooking but missing from other cuisines is the steaming of lentil batter, which is then crumbled and added to other dishes. The thick lentil batter is made by soaking the lentil and then grinding with scant water to form a batter. For example, this Bean Paruppu Usili uses that technique. This one, too, uses a modified form where the lentil batter is used to cook in a kadhai with vegetables, forming a scrambled lentil crumble.

Perhaps you are looking for other Thoran/Poriyal recipes here and here, or other Fry recipes. You might also like our Usili recipes here. Or you might like to browse Indian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Summer recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Dhal Puttu | Paruppu Puttu | Dal Poriyal | Delicious Stir Fried Lentil Crumble”

Cucumber Kosumalli, Version 3 | Indian Cucumber Salad

You can never have too many cucumber salads.

Meenakshi Ammal in her Cook and See Vol 1 book has a slightly different Cucumber Kosumalli to the ones posted earlier (this version and this version) with coconut and few spices. This version has more spices and a delicious dish.

You can see all Kosumalli Recipes here. Or check all Cucumber Salads here and here. Browse all of the Indian recipes here.

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South Indian Salt Lassi | Indian Yoghurt Drink

Perfect for Summery days. Yoghurt is a cooling ingredient.

Salt Lassi in the traditional Sth Indian style is a perfect drink for hot days, and although not as popular as the sweet lassi and fruit lassi drinks, they suit hot weather perfectly. Made from yoghurt, salt and spices, they are cooling and nourishing while replacing salts and electrolytes commonly lost during hot weather.

We have a wealth of lassi recipes – you can browse them here. Include are Tomato LassiCumin Lassi, and Lassi Khara. Or browse all of our yoghurt drinks here and here.

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Peas and Bengal Gram Flour Sundal | Mochai Kottai Sundal

An unusual dish – a Sundal with Gram Flour

This Sundal is a little different to other Sundals, those quickly stirfried salads of south India. A Gram Flour mix is poured over the sundal towards the end of cooking. This recipe comes from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 2. It is unusual to say the least, but delicious and filling. It could almost be an Usili, although Amma includes it under Sundals.

Feel free to browse the many sundal recipes – please click here for the complete list. If you are new to Sundals, these posts will also introduce you to this wonderful, stirfried, lentil-based dish from Tamil Nadu, South India.

You might also like to try Red Lentil (Masoor Dal) Sprouts Sundal, Coconut, White Peas and Green Mango Sundal, Channa (Chickpea) Sundal, and Mung Dal Sundal. Or you can make a sundal with Adzuki Beanes (Red Chori) or some White Pea Sprouts, equally as delicious. Explore all of the Sundal Recipes, they are all quick and gorgeous.

Continue reading “Peas and Bengal Gram Flour Sundal | Mochai Kottai Sundal”

Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy | Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu | South Indian

Wonderful dumplings in spicy gravy

Meenakshi Ammal, my favourite Indian cookbook author, in her chapter on Vatral Kuzhambu, includes wonderful gram flour “dumplings”, like this recipe for Kuzhambu: Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai.

By contrast this recipe, Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu, uses dal dumplings, or pulse balls made with toor dal. These give the kuzhambu a sambar like feel. The balls are made from soaked and ground toor dal which is then sauteed to par-cook and remove additional moisture before being poached in the Kuzhambu spicy broth.

The balls can be used in a Vatral Kuzhambu base, a rasam base or a moru kuzhambu base.

You might like to try other Kuzhambu recipes here and here, and our Sambar recipes here and here. Explore our Indian recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy | Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu | South Indian”