Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram

The best Gothsu, they say, is definitely Chidambaram Gothsu, and the Gothsu made in this temple town is certainly different to varieties from elsewhere. Chidambaram Kothsu (also spelt Kosthu), or Gothsu (also spelt Gosthu or Gotsu), is a South Indian curry that is made using roasted and mashed eggplant. The Gothsu was originally made by the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple’s Dikshithars (special priests). They make it with Samba Sadham (lentils and rice) as an offering to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. It certainly does taste divine.

They say that Gothsu is a very old Tamil recipe, about 2000 years old. Traditionally the eggplants would be roasted over coals, but sadly today they are deep fried or sautéed. This recipe is without onions, just as the Dikshithars would make it. However, Chidambaram Gosthu is also made for many marriages in Chidambaram and for those occasions sambar onions are included.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal’s treasure of TamBram recipes. It is different to other varieties of Gothsu in that it uses smoky roasted and shredded eggplants along with toor dal. You will see recipes without any dal, but if Ammal was making it this way it is probably more traditional. Ammal also includes this recipe in the chapter on Poritha Kuzhambu because of the dal and the spice mix fried in ghee.

There are other versions of Brinjal Gothsu that claim to be Chidambaram Gothsu, but they are not. The Chidambaram Gothsu includes Toor Dal. Without the dal, it is just Gothsu.

Are you looking for similar Poritha Kootu type recipes? We have some coming up and you should check for them here. In the meantime try Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or are you looking for Eggplant Recipes? Try Babaganoush, Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi, and Madras Curry with Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Spinach.

Want more? Check out our Meenakshi Ammal recipes and all of our Indian recipes. You might like to browse Indian Essentials. Have a look at all of our Eggplant dishes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Spicy Green Mango in Coconut Milk | A Classic from Kerala

Green Mango season brings such a welcome addition to the menu. Coming in Spring, its tang is a delight after the heavier flavours of Wintery cold weather. For this dish I chose a sweet-sour green mango, and it is perfect. A sour green mango would work well too.

Are you after other Green Mango dishes? Try Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Green Mango and Lemon Rice, and Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad.

Are you after other dishes from Kerala? Try Sweet Surnoli Dosa, Sweet and Sour Mango Curry, and Cabbage Thoran.

If you are after all of the Green Mango recipes, explore here. We also have other recipes from Kerala to browse. You might like to read more about Green Mangoes. All of our Indian recipes are available here. Or take some time to browse all our Mid Summer recipes.

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Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes. You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai. (Some of these dishes will be published later. Pop back and check if the link is not returning what you might expect.)

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

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Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Check out our Poritha Kuzhambu dishes. Also try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

You might like to try some Sambar. We recommend Moru Sambar, Classic Seasoned Sambar, and Sambar Powder and Paste.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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South Indian Beetroot Soup

The concept of soup in South India is unusual but not unknown. Even Meenakshi Ammal and Priya Ramkumar covered them in the classic books Cook and See. I have not been able to trace the origins of South Indian Soups – perhaps the British occupation – and many people that I ask deny their existence. But no, they are part of the cuisine, albeit a limited part, and I have been served them in India on several occasions.

Indian soups are basically un-spiced thin but flavoursome broths, with perhaps the addition of some cubed vegetables. This one is from Priya Ramkumar herself, in Vol 4 of Cook and See, and is a beetroot soup that extracts the flavour and colour of beetroot for the soup without including the vegetable. It is surprisingly delicious! I was quite amazed by the flavour of this soup and it has become a favourite. And why would you make soups any differently in a country that produces so many thick, nourishing, soupy, spicy dishes that are eaten as an accompaniment to rice?

Are you after Beetroot Soups? Try Chilled Beetroot Soup. Or some Beetroot recipes include Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing, Roast Beetroot with Cumin, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Or perhaps some Indian Soups. Look at South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Light Summery Tomato Soup, and Amaranth and Tamarind Soup.

Are you looking for more? Check out our Beetroot Soups, and then for more Indian Soups, browse here. You might like to have a look at our range of Soups here. Or explore all of our Indian dishes. Or cook seasonally with our easy, Mid Spring dishes. Enjoy!

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal with Milk

Sakkarai Pongal is short grained, raw rice cooked in jaggery and milk with mung dal, simmered until thick and then garnished with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. It is not the traditional Milk Pongal cooked completely in milk, but is a definite favourite. It is a distinctive dish from Tamil Nadu, and also cooked in Sri Lanka and some other states in South India.

Pongal is a festival in January where we thank the Sun for the bounty that it brings us. Sakkarai Pongal is cooked in the morning as the sun rises and is presented as part of the devotions. Read more about the Pongal Festival here. And all of our dishes for the Pongal Festival are here.

But Pongal, the dish, can be made at any time. There are sweet versions like this one (called sakkarai), and you might like to try the other versions: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk. Check to see if we have since posted other version.

And there is are savoury versions, and we have a couple of versions of Ven Pongal. You can see recipes here.

Otherwise, browse all of our Rice dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. You might like to take some time and browse all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Mango Vathal | Dried Mango for Indian Dishes

Dry Mango for year round summer flavours

South India, I guess all of India, has a culture of drying vegetables, mixtures of lentils and spices, and pastes made from rice, sago and similar. This is sensible of course – it preserves summer produce for use throughout the year, and thus in leaner seasons it extends freshly available ingredients.

Although terms are used interchangeably, strictly speaking:

  • Vathal are dried vegetables and fruits
  • Vadagam are dried balls of lentils and spices
  • Vadam is a paste or dough made from rice, sago etc that is dried and then fried before using. Also called Fryums.

You might also like other Mango recipes here and here. Browse our Indian Recipes here. Or try a collection of easy Summer dishes here and here.

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Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi | Cucumber Yoghurt Salad

The joy of yoghurt is beautifully expressed in this flavoursome recipe for Cucumber Raita. Cucumber Raita is a dish known all over the world, and if you must equate it, it is the Indian version of Tzatziki. The combination of cucumber and yoghurt, in what ever form or from what ever cuisine, is well known all over the world. Both ingredients are cooling, so it makes it a special dish for hot weather, but this does not mean that you need to forgo it on cooler days. An essential part of an informal gathering, Cucumber Raita always wins over your guests.

You might like to read more about Pachadi. Browse our Pachadi recipes here and here. Or explore our Yoghurt recipes here and here. Our Indian dishes are here and here. Be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.

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Sago Payasam | South Indian Dessert

A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu

Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.

You might also like our Payasam recipes here and here. Or our Sago recipes here and here. Explore our Indian Desserts here, or the more general Dessert recipes here and here.

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Spinach Thoran | Spinach Stirfry with Coconut

A seriously deliciously Thoran from Kerala

Spinach Thoran is an everyday side dish for rice which is generally cooked in an Indian wok or Kadhai. In this style of Thoran from Kerala, the main ingredient is stirfried or wilted, then pushed aside while a coconut and spice paste is placed in the centre of the wok. This is covered by the main ingredient and it is allowed to cook gently. This method leads to dishes that are light and delicious.

In this recipe a little rice is used as a spice adding a little texture and a lovely nutty flavour.

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Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style

Another beautiful Mung Bean recipe, a soup from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan in its origins, this Mung Dal recipe from Jaffna is quick and lovely. This is from that lovely cookbook of Sth Indian and Jaffna cooking – A Monk’s Cookbook by the monks from the Hindu Aadheenam on Kauai in Hawaii (you can download it here).

You might also like to try Mung Sprouts Sundal, Sweet Mung Dal Kitchadi, Mung Dal Sundal, or  Stir Fried Mung Bean Sprouts. Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes here and here, and Dal recipes here and here. Continue reading “Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style”

Spinach Thogayal | South Indian Spinach Chutney

A South Indian cooked Chutney, a smooth puree with spices that intensifies the flavour of the main ingredient.

Indian Chutneys are spicy, sweet or sour condiments that add variety and flavour to a South Indian meal. They bring out the very essence of the ingredient being used, intensifying the flavour and enhancing it with the spices used. They are eaten at most days in a South Indian household. This is a cooked chutney – spinach is steamed until cooked and then pureed with fried mustard seeds, chilli, a little dal and curry leaves.

Cooked chutneys will last several days to a week, and can be frozen successfully. Although traditionally eaten with rice and Indian dishes, they can be used in a variety of ways including in spreads, dips, sauces and dressings. Or like me, you can eat it by the spoonful. This tastes so exceptionally spinachy.

You might like to browse our other Indian Chutneys here and here, or other Indian recipes here and here. Our Spinach recipes are here and here. You might also like our Autumn recipes here and here.
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Simple Cabbage Thoran | Spicy Cabbage Fry | Indian Style

A simple stirfry with coconut and spices turns cabbage into a dish you will come back for.

Cabbage is a much under rated vegetable, and it is so easy to cook. Take a couple of spices and work magic. Whoever thought that cabbage could taste so good? This can be served as an accompaniment to rice and curries, but I don’t mind eating it with rice and a salad as a quick meal.

Feel free to browse recipes our Thorans and Poriyals here and here, or other Fry recipes. You might also like our Cabbage recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Indian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here.

 

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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 similar to a Kootu or Pitlay and is very common in South Indian households.

Rasavangi is a close cousin of the Arachuvitta Kootu/Sambar, but with different spices. It is also very close to Pitlay. 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.

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Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal with Mung Dal and Coconut

Poriyals, from Tamil Nadu, and Thorans, from Kerala in India, are quick dishes where vegetables are stirfried with spices and coconut, turning ordinary vegetables into something amazing. They can form part of a meal, or can be eaten alone with roti or chapatti.

Our Thoran and Poriyal recipes are here and here, or try our other Fry recipes here.  Are you looking for Indian recipes? Browse here and here. Or perhaps search our Beans recipes here and here. Autumn recipes can be found here and here.

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