Plantain Moar Koottu | Plantain in Yoghurt Sauce

This dish is a yoghurt sauce served with cooked plantain. It is similar to an aviyal, but made with one vegetable only. Other vegetables that can be used instead of the plantain are amaranth stems, chow chow, ash gourd, and plantain stem.

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 Moar Kuzhambu, Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

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

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Thani Kootu

Thani Kootu is a popular Thanjavur recipe traditionally prepared for Sumangali Prarthanai, Sankaranthi and other festivals. In this dish, 5 different vegetables are prepared in separate jaggery kootus – a delicious and tangy South Indian base for the vegetables which is made with tamarind, freshly ground spices and jaggery. Jaggery brings out the tanginess of the tamarind in a surprising way.

Thani means stand alone in Tamil, and this indicates how the vegetables are made into separate dishes rather than mixed together. The different Thani Kootu dishes are generally serve with plain steamed rice. The base can also be served on its own without any vegetable added. It is pretty delicious!

To make it easy to prepare these dishes we make a large pot of the base Kootu, then divide it into five. The vegetables are cooked separately, and then added to the bases. It is common today to combine the vegetables in one dish, but traditionally, five different ones were made.

By the way, Sumangali Prarthanai is a thanksgiving religious function to honour our female ancestors.

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 Plantain Moar Kootu, Okra Tamarind Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Kootu.

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

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Lime Rasam with Green Chillies

There are four different ways of making Lime Rasam, according to the Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal. This is the first of the methods. Lime Rasam, made with green chillies and a base of toor dal for that slightly silky texture. The green chillies give a fresh green taste with the lime juice. There is no tamarind in this recipe as the lime adds sufficient sourness. In this version of Lime Rasam, very little spice is used beyond the chillies, some asafoetida and mustard seeds. It is deliciously hot and tangy. Perfect for a hot day (I like to make it in summer when it is 43C).

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Pepper Rasam, and Tomato Lentil Rasam. There is also a version of Lime Rasam without the toor dal. Or browse our 30 Indian Dishes for Mid Summer.

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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 Early Summer recipes.

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South Indian Palak Soup

Another Indian soup for you – this time a Spinach (or other greens) soup.  It is a gentle one, similar to many of the other Indian Soups we have here. In this recipe a spinach stock is made, and it is served thickened and with cream. Delicious. A very good Spring soup. It is gentle, without spicing – a common feature of South Indian soups.

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. This one is from Vol. 4.

Similar recipes include 30 Beautiful Soups, Spinach Bhaji, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all Spinach recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

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.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

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

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Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice

Tomato Rasam has to be one of the most loved Rasams of South India – it certainly is mine. We have a number of different recipes for Tomato Rasam, as well as variations on Lime Rasam, and today I am bringing you Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe. It is an interesting one, using lime juice as the souring agent instead of tamarind. There is no chilli in this recipe, rather black pepper is used to provide some heat. The top water of cooked lentils is also used for added flavour (and nutrition), akin to using stock in Western soups. It is a good practice, one I adopted years ago – when there is flavoursome water in which lentils have been cooked, make rasam. Or at least use in soups. I surprised a friend once – we were on holidays in Hawaii and had cooked some lentils for a lunch dish. I saved the water and whipped up a tasty rasam with some snacks for our afternoon tea. She adored it.

Back to our recipe today. This particular Tomato Rasam 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 Lime Rasam with Green Chillies, Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Tomato Rasams and all of our Rasam recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Indian Carrot Salad | Kosumalli

Western style salads are not so common in India because Ayurveda, the underlying philosophy of lifestyle, health and wellbeing, recommends against eating raw ingredients. But there are some, and they are delicious. I have noticed that they are also becoming more common as the influence of the West is stronger than ever via the internet and increased travel.

I say Western style salad, because there are some Indian dishes that play the part of salads in a traditional Indian meal. Raita/Pachadi, for example. Indian chutneys. Sundals. Sprouted lentils.

Anyway, today’s salad is an Indian Salad somewhat after the Western style – grated vegetables topped with chilli and a spice tadka. There is nothing easier, and it is delicious.

You might like to read What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari.

Similar recipes include Cucumber Kosumalli, Indian Cucumber Salad, Indian Beetroot and Carrot Salad, and Onion Strings Pickled Salad.

Browse all of our Indian Salads, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early 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 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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South Indian Cold Minty Cucumber Yoghurt Soup

If you follow us on twitter or instagram you will know that in January we had the hottest day on record – over 47C – and temperatures into the 40c until midnight. It was manageable, and our local wild bird population crowded into the cool of the verandah where we made sure water was available for them. I made this crispy fried green bean dish for afternoon snacks that went well with beer (sadly I don’t drink beer, not even when it is 47), and this most excellent Feta and Pistachio Dip and Spread. I also made our recipe today, an Indian take on a cold cucumber soup. It is quite gorgeous. Simple. Easy.

Actually, this soup can also be sipped like a gorgeous lassi with ice. I love it this way too, on a terribly hot afternoon, sitting in the shade of the verandah.

Similar recipes include Tamatar Shorba, Cucumber Lassi, Cucumber Raita, and Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Cucumber dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes and Lime Juice

This recipe is the fourth in our series of Mysore style Rasam, and this one uses tomatoes and lime juice for the sour tang that is ubiquitous in South Indian food.  We already have a couple of different Mysore Rasam recipes. The recipes that use lime juice for the souring agent, rather than tamarind, have a lightness of taste, different to the deep earthy flavours of tamarind.

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.

Meenakshi Ammal

Similar recipes include Lime Rasam with Green Chillies, Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice, Mysore Rasam, Cumin Seeds and Pepper Rasam, and Coriander Seed Rasam.

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

Continue reading “Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes and Lime Juice”