Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Occasionally the local Asian shop has Drumstick Leaves (also known as Moringa, Mungarai Keerai and Murungai Keerai) and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. One of our favourite ways to use them is to make a Drumstick Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.

The leaves, unless very tender, are quite tough to digest, so make sure you cook them well.

This recipe can also be made with the various types of Amaranth leaves.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai Sambar, and Classic Sambar.

Browse our Sambar recipes, and Drumstick Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Yellow Pumpkin Soup | South Indian Pumpkin Soup

Today, although it is Mid Summer, it is cooler and wet. It seems right to make soup, although Pumpkin Soup is usually reserved for Winter. This is a South Indian Soup, and the lightness of it suits our Summery wet weather.

Although the South Indian soups are not well known or recognised, I have a love of them which started when they were served each day for 2 weeks in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Home made and delicious, it was instant love. Luckily the Cook and See series of books has a chapter on Indian Soups in Part 4 by Priya Ramkumar.

This soup is a little thinner than what you might expect from a European Pumpkin Soup, but has a creamy texture because the milk is condensed slightly by simmering for 10 mins. It is peppery indeed, but not as peppery as you might think from the amount in the soup. It also has a little sweetness from the pumpkin and from condensing the milk – that sweetens it a little. I love the soup garnished with coriander leaves.

You might like to have a look at other Indian soups. We have South Indian Cauliflower Soup, South Indian Beetroot Soup, and Tomato and Potato Soup. There is also a wonderful Indian Vegetable Stock to use as a base for soups or to slurp on its own. All of our Indian Soups are here.

We have some other Pumpkin Soups too. They include Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley, and Cream of Pumpkin Soup. See other Pumpkin Soup recipes here.

All of our Indian Soups are here for you to browse. Other Indian dishes can be browsed herePumpkin Soup recipes are here and all of our Soups can be found here. Or take some time and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Onion Sambar

Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.

This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.

Are you interested in other Sambar recipes? Why not try a Classic Seasoned Sambar? Or Moru Sambar. And read about whether Sambar should be Sour, Salty or Hot.

You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Cumin Seed Rasam

This beautiful but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The flavouring of this one is is definitely cumin seeds, with the cumin being toasted and ground along with with toor dal and curry leaves, before adding to a tamarind and rasam powder base.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Pepper, Chilli and Cumin Seed Rasam, Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Plain Dal Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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South Indian Fresh Radish Chutney

I have radishes galore in the Kitchen Garden, and I do love them straight from the garden, sliced and slightly salted. They look glorious and taste even better.

In India, as far as I know, the main radish used is the long white radish. Not quite daikon radish, it is smaller. But red radishes can be substituted – it is just the colour that will alter. Rather than being pale, the red radishes (unpeeled) will give dishes a slight pink hue. It’s rather nice.

This chutney has the bite of the radish, the tang of tamarind, the heat of the chilli and the crunch of the sauteed dal. There is nothing better. I love it with rice, but it is good with chappati and rice roti too.

Are you looking for other Radish recipes? There is a Fresh Mint and Radish Chutney, Spicy Radish Salad with Coconut Milk or Cucumber and Red Radish Slighlty Pickled Salad. All of our Radish Recipes are here.

If you are looking for fresh Chutneys, Indian style, try Spinach Thogayal | South Indian Spinach Chutney, Coriander and Coconut Chutney or Indian Style Apricot Chutney. All of our Indian Chutneys are here.

Also try Fennel and Lemon Chutney.

All of our Indian recipes are here, or take some time to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Coriander Seed and Red Gram Dal Rasam

A rasam a day keeps the doctor away. I am sure that is true. Rasam is a health giving dish which is basically a broth flavoured with a variety of spices, each with health giving properties. This rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. It is a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make. Very similar to Kottu Rasam, it has added coriander seed and a little toor dal.

Similar recipes include Cumin Seed Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Plain Dal Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Browse all of our Rasam recipes and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Murungakkai Sambar | Drumstick Sambar With Crushed Curry Leaves

Drumsticks, such a funny name, are stick shaped vegetables that grow on a tree. They are funny, skinny, long vegetables with a hard outer covering that gives them the name drumsticks. You have to be in the know to eat this vegetable, as you would never guess it. There is a soft interior that is delicious. The pieces of drumsticks have to be picked up with the fingers, the exterior is squashed in the mouth and the tender interior can be scraped out with the teeth. You come to love this little procedure. The harder skin, once all flavour is extracted from it, is discarded on the side of the plate.

Drumsticks are particularly delicious in Sambar and Rasam. They are best bought fresh, but frozen drumsticks are readily available in Indian groceries if you can’t find them locally. This recipe is from the classic book Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine, such a great book of classic South Indian / Tamil traditional recipes. The method is somewhat different to Meenakshi Ammal’s seminal recipes from Cook and See, in that the tadka is added to the base gravy before the cooked dal is added. Ammal usually also includes tomatoes in her sambar as well, and thickens the dish with a little rice flour or besan at the end. I have added the thickening trick to the recipe as it really does add to the texture of the dish.

Similar recipes include Onion Sambar, Poritha Koottu, Poritha Kuzhambu, Drumstick Kadhi, and Pitlai.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Sambar dishes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Mysore Rasam | First Method

In the end, rasam is just flavoured water. But as Indian food is the most refined cuisine in terms of the layering of flavours to achieve complexity and exquisite balance, flavoured water is amazing! Hot, spicy, tangy, salty, herbaceous, it hits the palate like a flavour bomb, and stimulates all aspects of digestion. I am a lover of Rasam, and am generally found having multiple servings.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

In order to cook the toor dal while I potter around the house and garden doing other things, I have a little trick that I will share with you. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so first thing in the morning I rinse the dal and pop it into a saucepan with ample water. Then it is placed on the stovetop on the lowest heat available. Covered, I know that the dal will be perfectly cooked in 1 hour without me thinking about it. I do check the water level about half way through, but other than that, I can get on with the day without having to watch the pot. Perfectly cooked dal will be ready to make rasam for lunch. Or pop it on when you first get home from work or picking the kids up from school, and it will be easy to make rasam for dinner.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Coriander Seed and Red Gram Dal Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Tomato Lemon Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Fresh Radish and Mint Chutney

This chutney was one of my first forays into the universe of Indian fresh chutneys, some many years ago. These days I make them a lot – not only are they wonderful in their own right and an important taste element in an Indian meal, they are also a great way to eat more vegetables, and a great way to use up any vegetable and herb that is sitting a little neglected in the fridge. They go great in sandwiches, toasties, and dolloped into soups too.

If you are trying to learn more about Indian cooking the importance of the Indian fresh chutneys is not immediately evident. They may not make sense to you – they appear in a separate section of cookbooks and it may not be evident how critical a part they play in any meal. It is only through diligent reading of many many blog posts or books, or a visit to India where you can eat in homes and local cafes, that the place of fresh chutneys in Indian meals slowly dawns.

Similar recipes include Coconut and Tamarind Sambol, Andhra Eggplant Chutney, Andhra Spinach Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Don’t let a day go past without whizzing one up. Read about Indian Chutneys here. Browse our Indian Chutney recipes, our general Chutney recipes, and our pickle recipes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi | Crisipy Okra in Yoghurt

Okra in Yoghurt is popular across South India, and it is surprisingly good – more than might be expected if you are used to okra cooked with tomatoes as is common in the Mediterranean, Middle East and the US. This recipe is a Tamil version – the Kerala version is similar but also contains coconut.

This is usually made for festival days or other special occasions, although it is wonderful to eat on any day. It is easy to make, taking no more than 20 mins. You will love it.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Bhindi Raita, Okra with Apricots and Lemon, Okra in Mustard Oil, Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, and Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or find some wonderful recipes to make in our Mid Winter collection.

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Easy Eggplant Kuzhambu | Eggplant in Coconut Gravy

Kuzhambu, a cousin to the Sambar, is easy to make as (unlike Sambar) it usually does not use the time-consuming toor dal. Toor dal can take a long time to cook unless you use a pressure cooker (I do not). Without a lentil to add bulk, Kuzhambu is often like a gravy, and excellent to eat with rice.

This is an easy eggplant Kuzhambu from the Monks who wrote the Monk’s cookbook – a collection of easily prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, perfect for the home kitchen and not dependent on dozens of ingredients. Every recipe is delicious.

You might like to read about the difference between Sambar and Kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Sodhi, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Race Kuzhambu and Drumstick Sambar.

Try our Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry too.

Browse our other Kuzhambu recipes, and our Eggplant recipes . All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here.  Try Sri Lankan dishes too. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Pulissery | Simple Yoghurt Curry

A Yoghurt Curry, beautiful in its simplicity.

Puliseri, or Pulissery, is a yoghurt curry with simple spicing and thickened slightly with rice flour, designed to eat over rice. It can also be eaten as a soup, but this is non-traditional.

Pulissery is often associated with Kerala on the West coast of India, where it is also often cooked with vegetables. This recipe is from its neighbour, Tamil Nadu, and is kept simple without any additions.

The recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books, full of traditional Tamil recipes. This one is from a recipe in Volume 3, and she calls it the Raw Variety of Pulissery.

Similar recipes include Plain Pulissery, Pineapple Pulissery, Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns, Mango Pulissery, Pulse Ball Mor Kuzhambu, and Yoghurt Curry.

Check out all of our other Pulissery recipes, our Yoghurt dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our recipes for Early Spring.

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Onion Kothsu with Tamarind

This Kothsu (Gothsu, Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian (TamBram) curry that is made by sautéing onions and popping them into a spicy tamarind gravy. While Eggplant Kothsu, with and without tamarind, is better known, this recipe with onion is just as tasty and enjoyable.

This is another Meenakshi Ammal recipe, a variation on the Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind. This recipe is from Vol 1 of her 4 volume set of Cook and See, and appears in the Poritha Kuzhambu chapter. It is easy to make, and is wonderful with rice.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Cabbage Kosthu, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or would you like other Onion dishes? Try Onion Jam, South Indian String Onion Salad, and Sambar with Onions. You might also like Fenugreek Kuzhambu with Onions.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Onion dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here. Browse all of our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Cumquat Rasam | Kumquat Rasam | Sweet, Sour, Hot, Delicious

Rasam, that tangy, spicy, soup-like liquid of South India, is commonly made from lemons, limes and oranges, so, with a surfeit of cumquats in the kitchen, we made a delicious Cumquat Rasam to eat over rice.

You may be wondering what a Rasam is. It is a soup-like dish which can be thick or thin, and is usually eaten as part of a meal and served with rice – read more about Rasam here.

Similar recipes include Kottu Rasam, Pepper Rasam, Lemon Rasam, and and Tomato Rasam.

I’ve been discussing the spelling of Cumquat with others. In many places it is spelled Kumquat, but the British (and Australian) spelling is Cumquat. Surprisingly, in India, which has followed the British spellings in other things, has chosen Kumquat. But actually, neither spelling is correct. The name derives from the Cantonese gām-gwāt 金橘, literally meaning golden orange or golden tangerine. Our transliteration of the Cantonese, with the g sound so close to the k sound, had become C(K)umquat. There are parts of the world that call them Chinese Orange – so much simpler.

Cumquat recipes include Cumquat Tea, Cumquat Rice, and Cumquat Chutney.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and our Cumquat recipes. Explore our Indian dishes, and our Indian Essentials too. Or check out our delicious Late Winter dishes.

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Green Mango and Coconut Rice

Perfect for hot weather. Cooling and delicious.

It is easy to have a thing for green mangoes, whether they are the sour type, or just unripe sweet mangoes, or the sour-sweet type. Here, we love them a lot.  (If you love green mangoes, you probably also love ripe, sweet mangoes of any variety.)

When it is green mango season, the local large Asian supermarket stocks all sorts of green mangoes in large boxes, a dozen layers deep, by their front counter. It is difficult to leave the shop without any. But even when it is not prime season, they seem to have some, so we enjoy them pretty much all year round.

This recipe highlights the crispy tartness of the green mango, together with a punch of chilli and a hint of salt – the three flavours that go so well together. It is all combined with rice – slightly hot and salty with the sweetness of coconut, the slight bitter punch of the fenugreek, and toasted peanuts and crispy fried dal for a crunchy texture. What could be better?

This dish works well as a snack, side dish or rice salad. Rice made with green mangoes is popular in South India , with Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu all making it a little differently. This one is Tamil in style.

Similar recipes include Kiribath – Sri Lankan Coconut Rice, Carrot Rice, Mango Rice, and Zucchini Rice. Green Mango dishes include Mung Dal with Green Mango, and Spicy Green Mango in Coconut Milk.

Check our different Coconut Rice Recipes. Browse our Green Mango Recipes, and our Sweet Mango recipes also. Or if you are looking for Rice recipes, they are here. Try our Rice Salads. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply browse our easy Mid Spring recipes.

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