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 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 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.

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Mysore Rasam with Lime Juice

We already have a couple of different Mysore Rasam recipes, and today we are adding one of two Mysore Rasams that use lime juice for the souring agent, rather than tamarind. It provides a lightness of taste to the rasam, rather than the deep earthy flavours of tamarind, while still retaining the sour tastes so essential to South Indian food. We have a number of rasams that use lime, including the Mysore style rasam dishes.

Mysore Rasam comes from the city of Mysore in Karnataka, South India. It is one of the four dishes that are named after the city. The others are Mysorepak, Mysore Bonda and Mysore Masala Dosa. The defining features of Mysore Rasam are:

  1. The base of the rasam is toor dal.
  2. It uses a particular mix of spices – coriander seed, dried red chillies, and pepper corns. Bengal gram is also included in its spice mix.
  3. Usually, but not always, coconut is included in the rasam. You will see that the two recipes for Mysore Rasam with Lime Juice do not contain coconut.
  4. The rasam is thicker than many of the more watery rasam varieties.

Because this rasam is based on dal, when it is being served the Sambar is usually omitted, and the rasam becomes the showpiece of the meal.

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 Cook and See

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

Browse all of our Mysore Rasam recipes, all of our Lime 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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Lime Rasam with Cumin Seed and Black Pepper

Today we have another Rasam recipe to add to our series exploring the different types of Rasam. This one has a slight toor dal base, uses fewer spices (mainly cumin and black pepper) and uses lime juice for a tangy, digestion promoting, delicious dish. There are four different ways of making Lime Rasam, according to the Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal. This is the third of her methods.

The Rasams Chapter in Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See contains traditional Tamil rasam recipes. Although we are not afraid to step away from the tree, going back to very traditional recipes (that can still be made in the modern kitchen) is an important way to get the hang of traditional as well as modern methods and flavour combinations. I hope you feel the same.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice, Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

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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Green Bean Kootu

There is a wide variety of vegetables that can be used in kootu dishes, and today we use a standard recipe with green or runner beans. Of course, it is delicious. It is the same as Brinjal Kootu but uses green beans. It is a variation suggested by Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of Cook and See.

Similar recipes include Cluster Bean Kootu, Okra Tamarind Kootu, Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime JuiceBrinjal Asadu, Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Dal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Green Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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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 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”