Recipe: Milagu Kozambu

This is another typical tambram recipe which is probably made in every tambram household at some point or the other. I love this recipe and always used to ask my mum to make it. It is said this is good when you have an upset stomach, as this recipe will clear your stomach.

Both BB & GG also love this recipe and it is usually made plain with no vegetables and is really useful when there’s nothing to cook at home. This time around, I added some vegetables and it was super delicious!

Milagu Kozambu

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, chopped into big pieces
  • 10 ladies fingers, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4-5 pieces of drumstick, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns
  • 5 Red Chillies
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 2 tsps Chana Dal
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 tsps Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • Tamarind piece as big as a piece of lime (make sure you remove all fibre from the tamarind as well as any seeds which may be there)
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 1/8 tsp of Asafoetida
  • 2 tsps Oil

Method:

  • In a bowl, put the tamarind and pour boiling water over it to release the water and flavour and keep aside for 30 minutes. When cool, mash it well to remove the juice and keep aside. There’s no need to remove the flesh for this recipe.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and when warm, fry the peppercorns, red chillies, urad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
  • When the dals turn red, add the curry leaves and fry till the curry leaves are crisp.
  • At this point, add the asafoetida and let it cool down.
  • When cool, grind to a smooth paste with the tamarind and a little water into a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil and fry the mustard seeds. Now add the onions and fry them so it starts becoming translucent. Then add the drumstick and ladies finger and let them fry for a  couple of minutes.
  • Mix the blended paste with enough water to make 1.5 cups of the paste and add this to the vegetables cooking and let it cook.
  • Add salt to taste as well as some jaggery if you find it spicy and let it cook till the vegetables are fully cooked and the mixture becomes thick and reduces.
  • Check for seasoning and switch off the gas.

This kozambu will keep for about 2 days outside and about a week in the fridge. Eat with hot rice and some papad. So soul satisfying on a cold or rainy day!

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Recipes: Ginger Pepper Rasam

GG had been on this Hallyu craze recently and wanted to eat Bingsu at a newly opened shop at the food court near our home. I accompanied her and BB. All I did was take a few bites from them but came down with a sore throat almost immediately! My solution was to make a traditional pepper rasam to which I added some ginger, both which are good for throats. You can also have this as a soothing soup when you are sick or when it is cold and rainy outside.

Ginger Pepper Rasam

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Toor dal, washed and cooked till it is soft and mushy
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes and then the juice extracted
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Blend together the peppercorns, dried red chillies, ginger and 1 tsp cumin seeds with 1 tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Smoosh the tamarind and drain the water into a pot along with the cooked dal.
  • Chop the other tomato into quarters or eights and drop it into the pan.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add the blended paste along with salt and jaggery and let it boil till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Switch off the gas and start the tempering.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and when hot, add the mustard and balance cumin seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and asafoetida and stir before pouring it into the rasam.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot as an accompaniment to rice or as a soup

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have jaggery, you can use sugar instead or even omit it completely.
  2. If you don’t have tamarind, you can either use 1 tbsp tamarind paste (which you can get at any Indian store) or use lemon juice. If using lemon juice, add it according to taste at the very end, just before serving.
  3. If you are planning to have this as a soup, omit the dal and follow the rest of the recipe.

Recipe: Pooshnikai Kootu aka Ash Gourd Stew

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Another typical tambram food, which I made for the first time for the sumangali pooja. This was really good with a medley of tastes. A keeper which I plan to make often.

Pooshnikai Kootu aka Ash Gourd Stew

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized pooshnikai or as gourd, chopped into small pieces with the seeds and fibres removed
  • 3/4 cup toor dal or red gram dal, cooked with a pinch of turmeric till mushy
  • 1/3 cup chana dal or bengal gram dal, cooked with a pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tsps coriander seeds
  • 1.5 tsps bengal gram dal
  • 6-8 dried red chillies
  • 4-5 tbsps grated coconut
  • a lime sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and the pulp squeezed and the juice removed and kept aside. Alternatively use 2-3 tsps of tamarind paste
  • 2 tsps oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal or black gram dal
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • In a large pan, take the chopped ash gourd and cook it with just enough water to cover the vegetable. Add some salt and turmeric powder.
  • When the ash gourd is half cooked, add the juice of the tamarind and let it cook till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  • In the meantime, in another pan, with 1 tsp oil, fry the bengal gram dal,  coriander seeds, dried red chillies and the coconut until the coconut looses all it’s moisture and becomes dry. Blend this coconut mixture into a smooth paste. Add a bit of water if needed to do this.
  • When the ash gourd is cooked, add the cooked toor dal to the ash gourd and let it mix well. Bring it to a boil and then add the blended coconut paste and let it boil for around 5 minutes
  • In a seperate pan, heat the balance oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chillies and stir for a few seconds till the urad dal is brown the curry leaves are crisp.
  • Season the kootu with this and remove from the gas. Serve hot with a rice of your choice or any flatbread.

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Recipe: Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Chilli Sauce/Pickle

img_6105An essential part of a Tamil brahmin wedding feast, Puli Inji is one of my favourite parts of the fest. Sweet, Sour and also slightly spicy, I love this dish, and always want more, though the servers would only put a small tsp in each banana leaf.

The other day, with a whole bunch of ginger at home, I was wondering what to make which will use the ginger up and then decided to make some puli inji. I make a slight change to the traditional recipe. In the traditional recipe, the chilli and ginger are chopped into tiny pieces, while I blended it up so the end result was more chutney-like than a gravy-like which is how it is usually made. This recipe can be stored for a couple of weeks when refrigerated.

img_6107Puli Inji aka Sweet Sour Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ginger, peeled, chopped and ground into a rough paste
  • 1 cup green chillies, peeled, chopped into a paste
  • 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsps of grated jaggery (more or less depending on the spice intensity of the chilli plus your spice tolerance)
  • Salt to taste

To be ground into a powder

  • 1 tbsp Urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves

For the seasoning

  • 1-2 tbsps Gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

 

Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in hot water and keep aside for 30-45 mins. When it cools, smash it well and extract all the juice. Throw the pulp and reserve the tamarind water. You can also use store-bought tamarind paste and use a couple of tsps for this recipe.
  • In a dry pan, dry-roast the urad dal, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves till they become brown and crisp. Keep aside to cool completely and then grind this into a fine powder.
  • In another pan, add the oil and when it warms up, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Now add the asafoetida and stir for a couple of seconds. Next, add the ginger and let it brown. Now add the chilli and let that cook for a couple of minutes.
  • When the ginger and the chilli are brown, add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, salt and let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, add the jaggery and the ground powder and let it come to the consistency that you want and switch off the flame.
  • The mixture will thicken as it cools, so do switch off the flame before it reaches the final consistency you want.

img_6106Yummy Puli Inji is ready. This is great as a side to any south Indian dish as well as a chutney for bread. You can also use this as a dip.

If you want a more textured dish, chop the ginger and chillies and then make it as per the recipe.

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