Instant Puliogere Mix

 

Puliodarai podi

Puliodarai (known across the nation more popularly as Tamarind rice)  is a must in temples, as travel food, in weddings and other social events.

Pulikachal the sauce that forms the base for this rice is a bit laborious ans has to be prepared with planning .  Fresh pulikachal certainly has its aroma and place but often for those in a hurry who need it as a fast food alternative an instant mix with all the merits of pulikachal is a boon. Commercially available mix of various brands are there in the market but home-made mix has its place and retains all the flavors and taste of the moist sauce. This mix can come handy at anytime when in a hurry and can be stored for at least a month at room temperature if no coconut is added as in Karnataka style.

 

Ingredients

Tamarind  small ball about the size of a lemon

Dry red chilies 10 (preferbly the long variety)

Peppercorns 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Fenugreek ½ tsp

Coriander seeds 2 tbsp

Sesame 1½ or 2 tbsp

Chana dal  1 tbsp

Urad dal 1 tbsp

Jaggery shavings 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder  1 tsp

Salt 1 tbsp

For tempering

Oil 1 tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Peanuts  2 tbsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Salt ¼ tsp

Method

  • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a wok till it starts spluttering and transfer to a plate to cool it.
  • Add a drop or two of oil in the same wok and roast the chilies on low flame till the aroma surfaces.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool and add the fenugreek seeds  to the wok and roast for a minute on low flame. Add the peppercorns to the wok followed by cumin seeds and when you start getting the aroma of pepper add the  lentils and roast till it starts turning golden in color. Transfer to  a plate and in the same wok roast the coriander seeds just enough to get the dry look and releases aroma;  transfer to the mix in the plate.
  • Now is the turn for tamarind to get a complete dry condition by flipping it in the wok for a minute or two. Add it to the chili plate and cool.
  • Blitz the chili and tamarind to get a coarse powder as they take longer to get powdered. Add the remaining roasted ingredients, salt, and turmeric powder and powder to fine state. Add jaggery shavings and run the blender for a few seconds.

This powder can be stored for a few weeks in an airtight container and used when needed.

  • For those who prefer to add the tempering to the mix before storing heat the oil in a wok and let the  mustard seeds splutter.  Add the peanuts, asafotida ad salt and roast till the peanuts are done and crunchy. Add the tempering to the mix and  and mix well.

Puliodarai mix is ready for use. To make puliodarai refer to Melakotai puliodarai given in the blog.

 

Puliyodarai made with the mix has a flavor its own and close to the Melkottai puliyodarai

 

Chef’s Note

  • In case you want get the Karanatka flavor roast a tablespoon of coconut grate or desiccated coconut till crisp and  blitz along with jaggery.  However, do remember to store in the refrigerator as coconut does not have long shelf-life.

Tomato-Cilantro Thokku

 

 

tomato-coriander-thokkuTalking about pickles how can one miss out on the ubiquitous tomato-coriander that find their way into our dishes?

Last week was satisfying as I got to make more than one pickle in a couple of days’ time.  Soon after preparing lemon pickle I was informed that Ar and As were planning a homecoming for the weekend.  The immediate plan was to make one more pickle to be sent back with them and who else  but tomato and coriander came to my rescue! I decided to make a combo, the thokku way and  was too happy with the outcome.

It took me less than an hour to process and get the pickle ready. I used the pressure cooker to reduce the volume of the puree and it helped in fast reduction and avoided mess while cooking.

Ingredients

Ripe (firm) tomato 1 kg

Cilantro (coriander) leaves 3 cups (loosely packed) or 2 cups (well packed)

Tamarind 100 g (free from fibers)

Sea salt 3 tbsp

Red chili powder 3 tsp (heaped)

Turmeric powder 1 tsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Fenugreek powder ½ tsp

Sugar 1 tsp

Sesame oil 3 tbsp

Method

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes to soften it. Use just enough water to soak the tamarind.
  • Clean the cilantro leaves and let the water dry out to get moisture-free leaves.
  • Remove the stalk point from the tomatoes and quarter them for easy blending.
  • Transfer the tamarind and half the tomato to the blender and blitz  to get a smooth puree. Transfer to a bowl and now transfer the remaining tomato the blender. Add the cilantro laves also and blitz to get a coarse puree.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure pan on a low flame and when the oil gets hot add fenugreek powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, asafotida and mix well. Transfer the two portions of the puree to the pan and add salt and sugar.
  • Close the pan, add the weight and let the mix cook on high flame for three whistles.  As the mix gets cooked the entire place will get filled the aroma of the pickle.
  • Wait for the pan to cool down and open the lid to see the thickness of the pickle.  If it has reached a gel like consistency wait for the pickle to cool down completely and transfer to airtight bottles for storing.
  • In case the the mix is a bit liquid like in consistency heat on low flame to thicken the mix. Do keep an eye on the mix and keep stirring to avoid burning of the pickle.

 

 

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Chef’s Note

  • Before storing the pickle add a tablespoon of vinegar on the top to store the pickle longer
  • Minimal water to soak the tamarind helps in thicker puree.
  • Coarsely ground cilantro gives a lovely bite to the pickle besides the bursting flavor

Kothamalli (Coriander) thogaiyal

IMG_2308 - Copy

 

Been a very long time since I added any recipe in my blog …. reasons followed by excuses and then finally came a point when I thought I need to be a little more active! I wondered where I should begin and the simplest and evergreen coriander came to my mind. Either a chutney (that goes as a sauce for many evening dishes such as fritters) or thogaiyal (to go with rice or chappati)  seemed  a good choice and it was refreshing to see the green color retained in the dish to give it its fresh look 🙂

Ingredients

Cleaned  and thoroughly rinsed leaves of coriander  3 cups

Dried red chilies  4 or 5 (depends on how spicy  you like it)

Peppercorns   ½ tsp

Tamarind scales  1 ball (Size of a gooseberry) soak in just enough hot water

Chana dal   2 tbsp

Urad dal 2 tbsp

Salt 1 tsp

Jaggery ¼ tsp

Oil  1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tspIMG_2309 - Copy

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and temper the mustard seeds . As they splutter transfer to a bowl and keep the pan over low lame,
  • Add the dals and stir for a minute. As the dals gets crisp add the peppercorns and chilies and roast till the chili becomes smooth and wrinkles are gone. Transfer to the blender to cool.
  • In the same pan saute the coriander leaves (if needed in batches) till it gives out moisture and shrinks. Make sure you do this on low flame and just enough to reduce the bulk.
  • Add the tamarind, jaggery piece,  and salt to the spices in the blender and blend to get a coarse texture. Add the coriander leaves and blend the mixture to get a nice paste.
  • Add a little water if need be to get a smooth texture. Transfer the thogaiyal containing the tempered seeds and mix well.

Enjoy with rice or chappatis

IMG_2309 - Copy (2)

Note

This thogaiyal stays good in the refrigerator for at least a week. Howvwer, if you want to preserve it like a thokku, add a little oil to the on and saute the thogaiyal for 5 minutes on low flame  so that all the moisture is gone. It is likely to lose the fresh green color and turn darker in the process

Murungai (Drumstick) Rasam

 

 

murungakarasam

 

Drumstick in any form as the pod, leaves or even the flowers is used in South Indian cuisine or even among the Bengalis very frequently. The flavor and its loaded mineral content makes it a much sought after vegetable. Very often the fruit finds its place in sambars, vatha kuzhambu or avial. The leaves are sauteed and cooked as a  stir fry in an onion-tomato base  or they are used as a topping in adai.   The tender drumsticks are a hot favorite with Bengalis who cook it with fish or potatoes.

Murungakai rasam is also quite popular as it is a very aromatic rasam. I used the pulp from the fruit and also the leaves to make the rasam and it was a good decision.

Ingredients

Drumstick      10 to 12 pieces (3″ long)

Tomato            1 big or 2 medium-sized

Tamarind       1   gooseberry-sized ball or 1 tbsp pulp

Rasam powder    2 tsp

Salt              1 tsp

Arahar dal  2 tbsp

Turmeric powder ¼  tsp

Moringa leaves   1 tsp (separated and cleaned)

Ghee 1 tsp

Mustard seeds   1 tsp

Pepper powder ½  tsp  (optional)

Asafotida  ¼ tsp

Water 4 cups

 

Method

  • Add water and turmeric powder to arahar dal and pressure cook the dal along with tomato for 4 whistles to get a soft texture.  Cook the moringa pieces in the cooker in a bowl while cooking the  dal.  Scrape out the flesh from the skin and add to dal-tomato mixture. Keep the seeds separately. Mash the dal, moringa flesh and tomato to a pulpy consistency and keep it ready.
  • Add salt and rasam powder to tamarind extract/pulp and add a cup of water and boil on medium flame till the raw rasam powder smell is gone (about 5 to 7 minutes). Make the volume to 1 liter.
  • Add the dal-moringa pulp to the rasam when it starts boiling  and simmer it till the rasam starts frothing. Add asafotida powder, cooked moringa seeds and switch off the flame.

In a thick-bottomed ladle/wok heat the ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard starts spluttering add pepper powder (if used) ans switch off the flame. Add the moringa leaves to the seasoning while hot and let the leaves get crisp. Transfer the seasoning to the rasam and enjoy one of the most flavorsome rasams.

Murungaka rasam

Chef’s Note

  • Freshly roasted rasam powder  can be used in place of ready powder.
  • Some like to drop drumstick pieces in the rasam instead of pulping it like I did.

No garnishing with curry leaves or cilantro is done in this rasam as the flavor of moringa can get masked. Moringa leaves are used for garnishing and to add to the flavor.

murnga rasam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Udupi Rasam

udupirasam

 

Time we visited the coastal Karnataka after reveling in the land of mangoes for a festive cuisine …. Udupi rasam! No meal offered in the Udupi temples/Dharmasthala or any of the Brahmin Mangalorean wedding feast is complete without the famous Udupi rasam. The specialty of the rasam powder for this is the inclusion of mustard seeds as also fenugreek seeds. Furthermore, the ingredients are roasted in a generous amount of coconut oil and often the tempering is also done in coconut oil. Naturally with so much of coconut flavor to it, fresh coconut is only optional. The powder is made in bulk and used for other stir fry dishes too. I used coconut oil minimally to roast the condiments and I love the aroma of ghee in tempering; so tempering in ghee. To balance the heat from the chilies I used coconut and also jaggery. Byadagi chilli is used to give the vibrant color and one can use a mix of normal red chilies and Byadagi chilies to give color and taste.

This recipe is adapted from the recipe from  Chitra Amma’s Kitchen

Ingredients

Tamarind 1 lemon/gooseberry sized ball or  1 tbsp of pulp

Green chili 1 (slit)

Arahar dal 2 tbsp (to be pressure cooked)

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Tomato 2 medium-sized

Fresh coconut 1 tbsp (grated)

Curry leaves frpom 3 sprigs

Salt 1 tsp or as per taste

Jaggery powder ½ tsp

Ghee 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Asafotida ¼ tsp

Water 4 cups

 

For rasam powder

rasam condiments

 

Red chillies 4

Byadage chilies 4

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1tsp

Urad dal 1 tsp

Coconut oil  ¼ tsp

 Mustard seeds 1/3 tsp

Fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp

udupi rasam ingred

Method

  • Add turmeric powder to the washed arahar dal and pressure cook the dal for 4 whistles.
  • For rasam powder: In a wide and thick-bottomed pan add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and dry roast till the color starts changing to brown. Remove from fire and transfer to a platter to cool.

Add the coconut oil to the same pan and roast the chilies, followed by cumin seeds, coriander seeds and urad dal. As the aroma is released switch off the flame and transfer to the platter to cool down.

Powder the roasted condiments to a slightly coarse texture.

  • Blanch the tomato in hot water or by microwaving for a minute. Blend the blanched tomato, coconut and curry leaves to a smooth paste.
  • Extract the pulp from tamarind soaked in warm water into the cooking vessel or add the ready pulp and make up the volume to 1 cup. Add salt and slit chilly and keep it on slow fire till the raw smell of tamarind is gone.
  • Add the mashed dal and tomato-coconut paste to the vessel and make up the volume to 1 liter.
  • When the mix starts boiling add the rasam powder, asafotida, and jaggery. Switch off the flame when the mix starts boiling and gets frothy.
  • Temper the mustard seeds and transfer to the ready rasam.

udupi saaru

Note

Normally this rasam uses coconut oil for tempering and those who love strong coconut flavor can use coconut oil. The condiments are also roasted (fried?) in a fairly large scoop of oil

Red chili is commonly used in tempering but I decided to skip it.

 

 

 

Mysore Rasam

IMG_2024

Exotic … is how one describes this rasam! As the name implies, this rasam has its origin from Karnataka and unlike rasam known as “saaru” in this region, it is called Mysore Rasam. A specialty of this rasam is use of coconut, and as is the trend in Karnataka, desiccated coconut is used in many dishes, a tradition that possibly evolved as a technique to preserve excess coconuts from spoiling. I prefer to use fresh coconut as desiccated coconut gives a different aroma akin to coconut oil. No rasam powder is used here as the ingredients are freshly roasted and powdered. Another feature of Karnataka is add jaggery to rasam. Actually I prefer to add either jaggery or a pinch of sugar in rasam as such as it enhances the taste.

This rasam is normally thick in consistency and makes a wholesome mix with steamed rice.

Ingredients

Tamarind  lemon-sized/gooseberry-sized ball (1 tbsp pulp)

Arahar dal  2 tbsp (to be pressure cooked)

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Tomato 2 medium-sized (blanched)

Curry leaves from 3 sprigs

Water 4 cups

Asafotida ¼ tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Ghee  1 tbsp

Powdered Jaggery ½tsp

For rasam powder

Red chilies     5

Peppercorns     1 tsp

Cumin seeds     1 tsp

Coriander seeds  1 tbsp

Chan dal        1 tsp

Grated Coconut  2 tbsp

Method

  • Add a few drops of ghee in a wok and roast the spices for the powder in the order chilies, pepper, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and chana dal. The spices should be roasted on a low flame and just till the aroma is released to retain the aroma. Transfer to a dry plate and in the same wok dry roast the coconut till the moisture is gone. Transfer to the plate and wait for it cool. Transfer the cooled spices to a blender and blitz it to get a slightly coarse powder. Keep the powder aside and in the same blender puree the blanched tomatoes and fresh curry leaves.
  •  In the meantime pressure-cook the dal after adding turmeric powder to it and keep it ready.
  • Add salt to the tamarind extract in a wide vessel and boil it till the raw smell of tamarind is gone as it happens in less than 5 minutes. Add the puree and boil for another 2 minutes or a minute longer and add the mashed dal. Make up the volume to 4 cups or roughly 1 liter. When the mix starts boiling add the spice powder, jiggery, and asafotida. Switch off the flame as soon as the rasam starts frothing and boiling.
  • Heat ghee in a wok and add mustard seed when the ghee is hot. As soon as the seeds splutter transfer the tempered seeds to the rasam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and enjoy one of the heavenly rasams!

IMG_2022

 

 

Tamarind Paste

Imli paste

 

 

A ready stock of tamarind comes handy in many preparations such as Sambahr, kuzhambu, rasam, puli kaachal when you are in a hurry or even as additive for sour taste in place of amchur (mango powder) in stir-fry  dishes.  An urge for chutneys as khatta-meetha chutney, imli ka chutney can also be quickly made when t he paste is on hand. A well spent time of 15 minute to 20 minutes goes a long way up to a month easily, that is. if the stock does not get over  by then! I always store a bottle of this pulp on hand, but it somehow didn’t occur to me that I should post this in the blog until I decided to do this Rasam series.

Ingredient

Seedless tamarind 250 g (1 cup)

Water 1 cup

Method

  • Take the tamarind scale in a metallic bowl and add about one-third cup of water. Place the bowl in a pressure cooker and steam it for two whistles.
  • On cooling blitz the soaked tamarind to make a paste.
  • Transfer to a colander and mash it with your fingers to bring out as much pulp as possible.  If the pulp is too thick to pass through the sieve add some water from the remaining two-thirds cup  to filter as much pulp as possible. The pulp collected with 2/3  cup of water is as thick as what is shown below. The fiber left behind is just about the size of a marble

  • Collect the pulp in a wide thick- bottomed pan and thcken it on a low flame for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bottle on cooling and can be stored for about a month.

Note

  • A measure of 1 tbsp of pulp equals  the extract from a lemon-sized ball of tamarind.
  • If you are at leisure, you can soak the tamarind in a bowl and leave it overnight in the refrigerator and skip stemin in the pressure cooker.
  • Needs no additive as salt or oi as the acidity of the pulp preserves it

Imli paste