Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mixed Vegetable Kootu

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Today I’d like to share the recipe for mixed vegetable kootu. It is a popular dish from the state of Tamil Nadu and forms an integral part of tamil feasts. It is a healthy combination of different types of veggies, lentils and a freshly ground paste of coconut and spices. While we were growing up, my mum regularly made different types of kootus, slightly varying the ingrdients and my sister and I loved it absolutely. I on the other hand don’t make them as often. I’m waiting to come into possession of a little jar that would be ideal for grinding masalas. Until then I need to manage with my big blending jar. Enough about my travails of being away from home, let’s get down to business. ūüôā

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The Recipe:

Source – Mum

Cooking time – 30 minutes

Serves – 3-4

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup dal (you can use toor dal or moong dal)
  • 1 cup of chopped vegetables (carrots, peas, french beans, cauliflower, cabbage)
  • 1 tomato roughly chopped (optional)
  • 4 heaped tbsp of grated coconut
  • 2 – 4 dried chillies (depending on the level of hotness you can handle)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A generous pinch of hing
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • Salt to taste

For the seasoning (Optional)

  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tsp oil

How to make it:

  1. Add a pinch of turmeric and cook dal with sufficient water. If you plan to use moong dal then roast it in a pan for a 2 – 3 minutes. It brings out a nice flavor. If you’re using toor dal, then I recommend you use the pressure cooker to speed things up.
  2. Take the cooked dal in a vessel, add 1 – 1.5 cups of water and the chopped vegetables, tomatoes and salt and cook for 15 minutes. I used only cauliflower and tomatoes today.
  3. While the dal and veggies are cooking, grind the coconut, cumin seeds, and dried chillies into a fine paste. Add this paste and a pinch of hing to boiling mixture when the veggies are 3/4th done. Boil for 5 more minutes.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and wait till they crackle. Turn off the heat, add the dried chilli and curry leaves and quickly pour it over the kootu. (The kootu tastes great even if you don’t season)
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Rasam (South Indian tomato and lentil soup)

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This is a basic recipe for the humble rasam. This lentil soup consisting of dal, tomato and spices is a must-have in tambram meals. It forms a part of the staple three course meal at the in-laws, the recipe being handed down from Paatima to MIL. I have borrowed this from Paatima, hoping to one day achieve the magic taste that her seasoned hands stir up everyday.

The recipe:

Source – Paatima

Cooking time – 30 minutes

Serves – 3 – 4

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup dal (boiled or pressure cooked)
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 2¬†tbsp freshly sqeezed tamarind pulp or 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tsp rasam powder
  • A¬†pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • A pinch of pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 – 3¬†curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 – 3 coriander leaves¬†(optional)
  • 1 tsp ghee (Great if you have it. If not, butter could be a substitute)
  • Salt to taste

How to make it:

  1. Take 2 – 3 cups of water in a pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, rasam powder, hing, tamarind pulp, corinder leaves, and salt. I skipped the coriander in my recipe because I didn’t have any today. Cook this mixture¬†for 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. Lightly whisk the cooked dal with an egg-beater or a spoon to partially mash the dal.
  3. Pour the dal and a¬†small pinch¬†of pepper (optional)¬†into the boiling tomato soup and adjust the level of water to achieve a thin soupy consistency. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Taste check for your preferred level of salt and tanginess (tamarind). Once you’re happy, remove it¬†from the stove.
  4. The final step is to season the rasam. Heat the ghee in a pan and add in the mustard seeds.¬†Once they crackle, throw in a sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of hing. Season the rasam with this hot mixture.¬†¬†(I used butter since I don’t¬†store ghee at home. Butter provides the same taste like ghee, however the flipside is that it tends to burn more easily.)
  5. Serve hot with rice. You can also serve it by itself as a soup.

Note:¬†Step 4¬†might seem like a trivial step that we sometimes feel like¬†eliminating for the wont of time, and to let you all into a secret, I’ve done that¬†a couple of times myself. But¬† I highly recommend that you go the whole hog and do this final step, especially if you’re making this for guests. ūüėȬ† May be its just an acquired sense of smell but the aroma from the ghee transforms this soup into a divine concoction and fills the place with a wonderful waft, bringing hungry stomachs to the dinner table. ūüôā

Stir-Fried Cauliflower (South Indian Style)

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The¬†H loves cauliflower and this is his all time favorite preparation. I learnt this dish from¬†my¬†MIL¬†and¬†had a request from my sister to share the secret with her. ūüôā Plus¬†we were¬†both craving for¬†a simple no-frills lunch so I made this to go along with good old rasam.

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The recipe:

Source –¬†MIL

Preparation time – 10 minutes

Cooking time – 15 minutes

Serves – 2 – 3

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Half portion¬†of a Cauliflower (chopped into small to medium sized florets)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp urad dal
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1 tsp sambar powder/chilli powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A pinch of¬†asafoetida¬†(hing)
  • A few curry leaves (roughly torn)
  • Salt to taste

How to make it:

  1. Heat oil in a wok/kadai/non stick pan. I normally use olive oil for most of my cooking, unless the dish is very traditional and calls for a specific type of oil. You are welcome to use any oil you are most comfortable with.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard and wait for it to pop. Then add in the urad dal, dried chillies, hing, turmeric, and curry leaves in quick succession. Add the chopped onions and stir until they turn translucent.
  3. Add the chopped cauliflower bits. Follow up with the sambar/chilli powder and salt. Give it a good stir. Sprinkle a tbsp of water into the pan and cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat for 10 Р12 minutes, giving it an occasional stir.

You can stop cooking when it is still slightly crunchy or go the whole way. This can be served with rice or rotis. A couple of tips:

  • If you are new to the kitchen, make sure to always add the turmeric and hing JUST BEFORE adding the vegetables. They tend to burn easily otherwise, and you don’t want that.
  • I’ve started using sambar powder instead of¬† red chilli powder¬†in a lot of south indian stir fries. I learnt this trick from the MIL again. Since the sambar powder also contains lentils in it, you can add this powder more generously without making the curry too spicy or burning the powder.

Heeray Kaayi Mosaru Bajji (Ridge gourd raita)

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This is an interesting recipe for a raita, quite different from the conventional raita recipes but fairly simple to whip up. This dish has Havyaka origins from Karnataka, but it has been modified and innovated upon as it changed hands in my family. I borrowed this recipe from my mum. A cool thing with this dish is that its goes down well even with those who don’t usually like members of the gourd family. I have the husband as proof of that. ūüôā

The recipe:

Preparation time – 5 minutes

Cooking time – 10 minutes

Serves 4

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ridge gourd (Thurai in Hindi/Heeraykai in Kannada/Peerkangai in Tamil)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups of yogurt/curd

How to make it:

1. Wash, peel and chop up the ridge gourd into medium sized bits. You don’t have to be too careful with chopping since we’re cooking them very soon.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. When sufficiently warm, add in the chillies, urad dal and sesame seeds and fry until the dal turns golden brown ( it takes very little time).

3. Once the urad dal and sesame seeds are roasted add in the chopped ridge gourd and cook until it turns soft (around 5 – 7 minutes). Let this mixture cook for a bit.

4. Blend the cooked mixture, coconut, hing and salt in a mixer (or with a hand blender) into a fairly smooth pulp.

5. Add in the yogurt and give it just one whizz in the mixer and the raita is ready.

You can serve it along with rice, as a side dish to Sambar or Rasam. It tastes best when you use cold yogurt or chill it before serving. I love using this as a dip with dosas as well.

Until next time…keep the curry leaves ready!

Hello world!

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Just married and experimenting with cooking. Using mum’s and the MIL’s recipes for inspiration. Being a nooB here, using my cooking adventures to explore the blogosphere. So wish me the best and visit me for some interesting recipes. ūüôā