Recipes: Thalagam Kozambu

Earlier this week was the festival of Thiruvathirai which is mostly celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. I decided, for the first time, to make this dish which is only made for this festival.

This dish is a traditional dish of the brahmins who come from the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu (of which I am also a part of from my parents) and is something I’ve always grown up with, but never actually made.

It is traditionally eaten with a sweet rice dish called kali, but I decided to pair with Ven Pongal. I also didn’t have all the vegetables traditionally used for this dish, so I improvised!

Talaga Kozambu

Ingredients:

  • 1 small lime-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and the juice squeezed out
  • 1 carrot, chopped into big pieces
  • 1 radish, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 large potatoes, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 raw bananas, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

To be ground into a paste

  • 6 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp toor dal
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp oil

To temper

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and put in the red chillies, toor dal and sesame seeds and stir.
  • When the dal turns light brown, add the grated coconut and continuously stir until the coconut is crisp and brown. Ensure the coconut does not burn.
  • Let it cool completely and blend this into a fine paste with water.
  • Wash the vegetables and put them in the same pan. Add just enough water to cover and then the turmeric powder and some salt. Cover and cook until the vegetables are half cooked.
  • When the vegetables are half cooked, pour in the tamarind juice and cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  • Next, add the blended masala and stir well. Check and add salt if needed. Remove from the flame around five minutes after it comes to a rolling boil.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and put in the mustard seeds, fenugreek/methi seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida. When the curry leaves become crisp, remove from the flame and pour over the Kozambu.
  • Enjoy with any rice of your choice through the traditional accompaniment is kali

Notes

The traditional vegetables used are raw banana, ash gourd, yellow/orange pumpkin, yam, brinjal/aubergine, broad beans, sweet potato, potatoes, radish, etc.

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Recipes: Ginger Coconut Chutney

This Chutney came about completely serendipitously! I started off making something else, felt it was not going to be enough, added some coconut and the end result was this yummy Chutney.

Ginger Coconut Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut, grated
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A small lime-sized ball of tamarind
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, red chillies, ginger and tamarind and stir for a few minutes.
  • Now add the onions and sauté till the onions turn translucent.
  • Switch off the flame and let this cool down.
  • Once cool, blend it together with the coconut, adding water as necessary and make it into a fine paste.
  • Season with salt and serve with any Indian bread like dosas, idlis, rotis. It even goes well with breads.

Recipe: Tomato Bell Pepper Chutney

TBPC4.1This is a new take on an old, but gold chutney recipe. This chutney is super easy to make and goes very well with any Indian flatbread or even dosai or ildi. My helper even had it with rice and she relished it a lot!

TBPC3.1Tomato Bell Pepper Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 fresh red chillies (can use dried red chillies instead)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp Gingelly oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • In a blender, blend to a fine paste without using water the tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, ginger, garlic and red chillies.
  • Heat the gingelly oil in a pan and when it warms, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the fenugreek seeds.
  • Next, add the blended paste and stir occasionally until it becomes thick. Add salt and when it reaches the thickness you want, switch off the gas and let it cool.
  • Serve with an Indian bread of your choice.

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Recipe: Lemon Semiya or Vermicelli

Lemon Vermicelli 2Usually, when I prepare vermicelli for dinner, it’s always both this lemon vermicelli and the coconut vermicelli I shared a couple of weeks back. So this was made the same time we made the coconut vermicelli. This is also super easy to make and will appeal to those who like a sharp tangy taste!

Lemon Vermicelli 4Lemon Semiya or Vermicelli

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet instant rice vermicelli
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp broken urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Lemon juice as per taste (around 3-4 tbsps)
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Prepare the instant rice vermicelli as per the instructions in the packet. Drain well and keep aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, green chillies, turmeric powder, curry leaves and salt and stir for a few seconds till the urad dal becomes red.
  • When the urad dal becomes red, switch off the flame and then add the lemon juice. Adding it while the flame is on will result in the lemon juice becoming bitter.
  • Now add the drained vermicelli and stir well to mix together.
  • Remove from the flame and serve hot.

Notes:

  • You can make the same dish with rice. Just substitute the vermicelli with precooked rice and you have lemon rice!
  • You can also add cashew nuts and fry them in the oil to add an extra zing to the dish!

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Recipe: Coconut Semiya (Vermicelli)

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Growing up, the making of semiya used to be a day-long affair at home with preparations starting in the morning to make the rice paste which then gets cooked and then using a special machine, thin strands of rice vermicelli are passed out which are then cooked to make this yummy coconut vermicelli. Nowadays, instant rice vermicelli is readily available which makes making this dish easy.

Coconut Vermicelli 3Coconut Semiya or Vermicelli

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet instant rice vermicelli
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp broken urad dal (split black gram)
  • A handful of raisins
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies, broken
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Prepare the instant rice vermicelli as per the instructions in the packet. Drain well and keep aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, green chillies, dried red chillies, curry leaves, raisins and stir for a few seconds till the urad dal becomes red and the raisins start to plump up.
  • Now add the grated coconut and stir well till it starts to brown and crisp up.
  • Add salt to taste and continue stirring till the coconut is slightly brown and crisp.
  • Now add the drained vermicelli and stir well to mix together.
  • Remove from the flame and serve hot.

This is yummy both as a slightly heavy breakfast or a light meal.

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