Morkuzhambu – Buttermilk gravy spiced with coconut and cumin

Background:

Considering parupu usili is a favorite in our household and morkuzhambu is often spoken of in the same breath, it is only natural that I feel the need to record my way of making this no fuss side.

Stuff you will need:

Thick curds – 1 cup
Coconut gratings – 2 handfuls
Green chillies – 5
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dhal  – 1 tsp pre soaked
Curry leaves – 1 sprig chopped
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil to season
Okra or pumpkin: 10 pieces each about an inch long.

How to make it?

Grind coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds, soaked bengal gram dhal to a fine paste using little water. Beat the curds to fine consistency and mix the coconut paste in. Add salt. If adding okra, fry it in oil till brown and add it to the curd coconut mixture. If using pumpkin cook it in little water ahead of time and add to mixture. Now heat this concoction on low flame stirring occasionally till the sides start to bubble. Turn heat off and garnish with mustard seeds tempered in oil. Add curry leaves and mix in.

Serves four

Special Notes:

If too much of coconut is not desired using a little more of the bengal gram dhal while grinding the paste. Morkuzhambu can also be made without any vegetables. Goes well with hot rice and parupu usili.

Kadalai Kuzhambu – Spicy tamarind soup with groundnuts

Background:

For a twist in the regular vatral kuzhambu, my mom adds ground nuts or kabul channa. As kids this was one of our favorite dishes. So, with amma visiting I figured this was the best time to record the recipe for later.

Stuff you will need:

Tamarind – the size of a small lemon soaked and juice extracted
Brinjal – 2 small – quartered
Groundnuts/Kabuli channa – soaked and cooked – 2 handfuls
Bengal gram dhal – 2 tsp
Urad dhal – 2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Red chillies – 2
Coconut – shredded 1 handful
Salt to taste
Sambar powder – 1.5 tsp
Rice flour – 2 tsp
Mustard – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs chopped
Jaggery – 2 tsp powdered

How to make it?

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add mustard when the oil is hot. As the mustard pops, add urad dhal and bengal gram dhal. Add coconut and fry till reddish brown. Add the chopped curry leaves, brinjal and saute. Add tamarind pulp extract, salt and sambar powder. Allow the kuzhambu to boil till smell of sambar powder goes away. Add boiled groundnuts (kadalai) or kabuli channa and jaggery. If the kuzhambu is watery thicken by adding rice flour mixed in water. Simmer for about five minutes and turn heat off.

Serve hot with rice, a dollop of ghee and appalam or poduthuval

Serves four

Special notes:

This kuzambu can be made with chenai kizhangu (yam) instead of brinjal.

Lemon and rice make for a spicy lunch

Background:

Lemon rice for me is like a quick fix. A last minute resort when I can’t think of what to make to supplement what I already have. The dish I make when I have a get-together and get this sinking feeling food is not going to be enough.

Stuff you will need:

Rice 1 cup
Lemon/Lime – 2 – squeezed
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dhal – 1 handful – soaked for 30 mins and drained (optional)
Peanuts – 1 handful – dry roasted
Curry leaves – 1 sprig – chopped
Ginger – 1/2 inch cube chopped
Green chillies  – 2 slit
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Gingelly oil – 2 tsp
Canola oil – 2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Salt to taste

How to make it?

Pressure cook 1 cup rice with 2.5 cups of water. Once done add gingelly oil and spread out to cool. In a small pan heat canola oil , add mustard and when it pops add urad dhal, soaked and drained bengal gram dhal, asafoetida, turmeric, chillies, ginger, peanuts and curry leaves. When fried, remove from heat and add juice from the lemon/lime and salt to taste. Pour this mixture on top of the cooled separated rice and slowly mix in without mashing the rice.

Serves two

Special notes:

I soak and drain bengal gram dhal because it makes it softer. That step can be omitted. I usually serve lemon rice with vadam or any kind of poduthuval.

Pulav – no onions nor garlic

Background:

Being married to a person who does not particularly relish garlic and overt presence of onions, I have over the years learned to make foods that I enjoy tailored to accommodate the significant other.

So today I as I made Pulav it occurred to me that I might as well jot it down for reference later.

Stuff you will need:

2 cups white Basmati rice
1 carrot – cubed
Green peas  – a handful
Green beans – a handful french cut into 1″ bits
1 inch cube of ginger shredded
Green chillies – 1-2 slit and sliced
Coriander leaves – washed, minced  to garnish
Ghee 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera – 2 tsp
Cinnamon – 1/2 stick powdered
Cardomom – 5 peeled and powdered
Cloves – 5 powdered

How to make it?

In a wok heat a generous tablespoon of ghee. Just as it heats throw in the cumin seeds and the ground mixture of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Add the rice and fry it just so it gets coated with the ghee. Add the cut veggies to this mix and turn it over a few times.

Remove the contents to a rice cooker and add 4.5 cups of water and salt to taste before letting it cook. Once done, fluff up the rice with a fork and garnish with fresh cut coriander.

Serves four

Special Notes:

To go with his heavenly smelling rice shred four pickling cucumbers, squeeze the water out, add a tsp each of sugar and salt and two tablespoons of thick fresh curds. Mix well and serve with pulav