Saturday, April 30, 2016

Karuvepillai Kuzhambu - Curry leaves kuzhambu

Be warned my friends and fellow foodies  - if you have a low tolerance for spicy food, this is not a post for you. 

My son was out for pretty much the whole day on Saturday.  First he had volunteering at an event at CU (Univ or Colorado) and then a soccer game.   He wasn’t going to be home till 4 p.m.

So after feeding him and packing lunch his lunch, I looked in the fridge and saw a ton of beans that needed to be used and a couple of sad looking tomatoes.  And of course I had some potatoes in my pantry.  Don’t judge me – I haven’t been grocery shopping in a couple of weeks!

Anyway – I did have a bunch of curry leaves and remembered that I used to make this fantastic kuzhambu with them. 

So I turned on my Bluetooth speaker – and with music blaring (thanks Sujata for starting those music groups on FB), I made karuveppilai kuzambu, beans curry, potato curry, rasam, and sutta appalam.

My husband’s comment at the end of the meal “nothing beats the taste of this kuzhambu, mixed with thayir sadam (yogurt rice) and aloo curry” :)

Our friend Ramesh gave me a cook book over 20 + years ago – Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan.  I first saw the kuzhambu recipe in this book.  I have made it several times, and now, this is the recipe that works for me.

Here is what you need:

For the masala powder: 
  • 5 – 6 red chilies
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. channa dal
  • 1 tsp. urad dal
  • 1 ½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp rice
  • 20 – 30 curry leaves
  • a tiny bit of tamarind (soaked in water to soften it up a bit)

For the kuzhambu:
  • 2 – 3 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. asafetida
  • 1 red chili
  • lime size ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water
  • salt to taste

Here is how I made it:

  1. Dry roast all the ingredients for the masala powder except the curry leaves and tamarind.
  2. Let this cool.  Grind it to a fine paste with curry leaves, tamarind and a little bit of water.  Set aside
  3. Squeeze out the pulp from the tamarind and extract a thick juice. I added about 2 – 2 ½ cups of water.
  4. Heat oil in a cast iron kadai.  Add mustard seeds
  5. When they sputter, add hing.  Add the ground masala after a few seconds. Mix well.
  6. Gently pour the thick tamarind extract.  Add salt.
  7. Let this simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until the raw tamarind smell is gone.
  8. You can add a little more sesame oil to this at this point – just before turning off the heat.

Serve with steaming hot rice, drizzled with sesame oil and sutta appalam (fire roasted papad), or with pongal.  Remember - it is spicy!  You only need a tiny bit.  It stays fresh in the fridge for 7 - 10 days

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Simple Sprouted Kala Chana Curry – no onion, no garlic

It has been a while since I posted a recipe.  We lost a dear friend – a great soul, who has touched so many lives in a positive way, a guy with a great sense of humor, a fantastic writer, a guy who brought so many people together, and opened his home to anyone who needed it.

A few of us who knew him well met last weekend and were able to share a few stories and reminisce about old times. It was good to talk about how Ramesh was instrumental in bringing us together over 20 years ago.  And not surprisingly, when we talked about Ramesh and our memories of him, we ended up laughing, even though our reminiscing started off with tears.  RIP Ramesh

Now here is the post:

With so many things that were going on, I have been relying on simple, easy to cook dinners. I found this recipe on Tarla Dalal’s website and love the way it turned out.

I keep sprouting some kind of bean or the other regularly.  Since I had some sprouted kala chana at home,  I looked for a recipe that was easier than the one I posted earlier and found it on Tarla Dalal’s site. 

Here is the recipe with some minor modifications to suit our palate.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups sprouted kala chana
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of asafetida
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2  - 3 cloves
  • ¼ tsp. asafetida
  • few curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies, minced
  • 1” piece ginger, minced
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. jaggery
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Here is how I made it:

  1. Cook sprouted chana in the pressure cooker with enough water, salt, and asafetida.  I cook it on high heat till the first whistle and then on low for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pot.  Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, and asafetida.  When the mustard seeds sputter, add curry leaves.  After about 20 seconds, add minced green chilies and ginger.
  3. Fry this for a minute or two.  Now add turmeric powder and chili powder.  Fry for a few seconds.  Add the cooked kala chana with some of the cooking liquid.   Add more salt if necessary.
  4. Let this simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Add jaggery and cilantro.  Mix well and turn off the heat.

Serve with rice or rotis.

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