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 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 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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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 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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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, 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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South Indian Boondi Yoghurt | Crispy Fried Balls in Yoghurt | Boondhi Thayir Pachadi

A delightful pachadi with texture. From Tamil Nadu.

There are North Indian and South Indian versions of Boondhi Yoghurt – those little crispy balls made from chickpea flour. The North Indian version is chock full of spices, but the South Indian version, as with so much of their food, has pared it back to essential flavours and textures to let the ingredients shine in the undercurrent of spice. Boondhi Yoghurt is very cooling – a great summer dish.

Boondhi is chickpea flour crispies deep fried with spices. You can buy Boondhi in Indian grocers, or you can make your own on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

We have other Boondi recipes scheduled, so check back here later.

Try other Pachadi dishes with yoghurt – Ginger Coconut Yoghurt Pachadi, Cucumber Yoghurt Pachadi, and Carrot Sambol.

Are you looking for Tamil Pachadi recipes? You will enjoy them. Or perhaps Andhra style Pachadis? They are here. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here, and our Indian recipes are indexed here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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South Indian Green Peas Soup

Have you ever before seen serve hot with soy sauce as an instruction for a soup? Well, now you have. In this Green Pea Soup recipe from Tamil Nadu, South India, that is exactly the serving suggestion. South Indian soups are unspiced but flavoursome soups that are probably hang-overs from the British occupation. Somehow they have snuck into parts of the South Indian cuisine. This one has a slight Indo-Chinese influence – thickened with cornflour and topped with soy sauce.

In my experience, South Indian soups are served in small amounts. I have had them both before a main meal and after, so traditions must vary across South India.

This soup is made from peas, carrots and cauliflower, and thickened slightly with cornflour. It’s delicious, in a 1970’s sort of way. I love it.

Are you looking for other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or perhaps you are after other (more spicy) Indian soups? Try Mung Dal with Coconut, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, and Simple Indian Dal Soup.

Or some Pea recipes? Try Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Green Pea Pilaf, and Buttermilk Sambar.

You can also browse all of our South Indian Soups, and all of our Indian Soups. Or have a look at our Pea recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Late Spring dishes.

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Maddur Vadai

When the rains come, then snacks are needed, and it is the same here as it is in India, even though the temperatures are about 20C less than what they might be in India. Snacks means deep-fried too, but it it is a treat, who is to mind?

These are flat vadai, a little like thattai, and very delicious. Grab your flours from your Indian grocery and don’t substitute all purpose flours.

Maddur Vadai, named after the town of Maddur in South Indian, are also sometimes spelt Maddur Vadai.

Are you looking for other Vadai? Try Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Paruthithurai Vadai – a Thattai Vadai from Sri Lanka, and Kothimber Wada. There are also Gram flour Vada that are made to go into a Kuzhambu, but can be eaten as snacks as well.

Browse all of our Vadai, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Snacks are here. Or relax and browse our Late Autumn dishes.

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Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable

The second of three methods suggested by Meenakshi Ammal. A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

There are three main methods for making Poritha (Poricha) Kuzhambu. The first uses sambar powder, and this recipe, the second method, uses a paste of chillies, cumin seed and coconut. The third method uses chillies and urad dal ground to a paste.

Poritha Kuzhambu (or Poricha Kuzhambu) is a style of kuzhambu that usually includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added – just chillies and cumin. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth, and Pitlai.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable for Over Rice

A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

Poritha kuzhambu  or Poricha kuzhambu is a style of kuzhambu that often includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable. You will enjoy it. It uses a per-prepared Sambar Powder, which you can purchase at an Indian grocery, or make your own.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other similar recipes? Try Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind and Amaranth, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or Drumstick recipes? Try Sampangi Pitlai, Race Kuzhambu and Drumstick Kadhi.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

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South Indian Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup is less common than, say Onion Soup, but it isn’t unusual. It is delicious with a different taste to the long-cooked onions in Onion Soup. The base of the soup is made with potatoes which gives the soup some texture. This recipe also uses cream and a flour roux to add body to the soup, sticking with the usual simplicity of the soups from Vol 4 of Cook and See, the addendum to Meenakshi Ammal’s triology, this one written by Priya Ramkumar.

I do love exploring the soups in this volume. Theoretically, reading them op paper, they should not be worth making. Compared to other Soups that we usually make, they are so very simple, sort of 1950’s simple. But they are always amazingly good. Simple, unspiced or simply spiced, their flavours are unusual and unexpected.

I have spoken about South Indian Soups before – so gentle, just with the flavour of the vegetable, no chilli and little other spice. I am even more convinced that they are a left-over from the time of the British occupation (I have just read The Complete Indian Housemaker and Cook, written for British women spending time in India during the time of occupation). But nevertheless, I love these soups because of their quaintness, and perhaps because they remind me of the soups my mother made when I was but a wee girl.

Are you after other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Green Pea Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or a Spring Onion recipe? Try Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onion.

If you want to browse all Indian Soups, they are here. Or have a look at our Spring Onion recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu | Eggplant Tamarind Kothsu | Roasted Eggplant in a Spicy Tamarind Sauce

This Kothsu (Gothsu, Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian (Tambrahm) curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy.

Some people get this dish confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but it is different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. This Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.

It is a quick dish to make once the eggplant is roasted. The aroma of the roasting is a wonderful smell. I do it outside on the BBQ grill, and I am sure that all neighbours must suddenly become hungry, due to the aroma.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu and Onion Kothsu with Tamarind.

Or would you like other Eggplant dishes? Try Eggplant Kuzhambu, Baingan ka Salan – Eggplant in a Creamy Gravy, Sampangi Pitlai, and Eggplant Makhani.

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

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Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk & Coconut 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.

Moar (or Mor, More or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all. 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.

S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See set of books has 2 Moar Kuzhambu (Buttermilk/Yoghurt spicy gravy) with Lentil Dumplings made from ground lentils.

This Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu differs from the first version of this dish. The ground lentil balls are simpler and cooked in the buttermilk and coconut gravy rather than steamed. It is very delicious.

You might also like to try Avial – 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. If you would like to browse them, all of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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