Recipes: Kalyana Gotsu

Earlier in the week, we celebrated the harvest festival of Pongal and on that day I made Venn Pongal for dinner. I wanted to make something to go with this but was not in the mood for Coconut chutney, so decided to search for something else to make to go with Pongal.

I came across Gotsu, which is also a traditional accompaniment to Pongal, but this is usually made with Brinjals or Aubergines. S is allergic to this vegetable, so I decided to substitute it with other vegetables. This is also a one-pot recipe and I made it from start to end in my pressure cooker. It can also be made in a large pan or dutch oven but will take longer than if you use a pressure cooker. It was so yummy and tasty and everyone gobbled it up.

This Gotsu is also served in weddings, especially for breakfast with Idlis, Vadai and Pongal.

Kalyana Gotsu

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 potatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 large tomato, chopped finely
  • 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind or 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 3 tbsp chana dal
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp sambhar powder
  • 1 tbsp jaggery (can omit this or even substitute with sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in hot water for 30 minutes, then squeeze the pulp out and strain the water. Keep aside.
  • Soak the dals together in warm water for 30 minutes, strain and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure cooker and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and green chillies and stir for a few seconds.
  • Now add the finely chopped tomatoes and stir for a few minutes.
  • Then add the finely chopped potatoes and carrots and stir well.
  • Then add the soaked dals and give it a good stir.
  • Now add the tamarind water, sambhar powder and salt to taste and stir everything well.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles.
  • If you are using a pan or dutch oven to cook, cover and cook, stirring occasionally. Periodically check and add water if needed. You need the vegetables to be fully cooked and the dals to be soft and mushy.
  • When the pressure reduces in the cooker, open and lightly mash the gotsu with a potato masher. Don’t mash it completely like we do for Pav Bhaji, but just a bit to make the gotsu thicker.
  • Add the jaggery and check for seasoning. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Idli, Dosai, Vadai or Pongal.

Notes:

  • I made this without onions or shallots because I made it on a festival day. If you want, you can add onions or shallots and the place to add it is just after popping the mustard seeds.
  • You can use any vegetables you like though it’s usually made with Brinjals or Aubergines.

 

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Recipes: Pineapple Rasam

A special variety of Rasam, this one is made usually during weddings and is something we don’t usually make during a normal lunch. I have made this many aeons ago and so this week when I opened a tin of pineapple, I decided to keep aside some to make this yummy rasam.

Rasam is a spicy soup made in south India using tamarind juice, pepper, tomato, cumin and other spices and each household has their own unique recipe which they make on a daily or regular basis. Rasam has a distinct sour, peppery and chilly taste that makes it a true repository of flavours. Rasam is either eaten along with rice or savoured after a meal. The British also adapted this rasam and what is Mulligatawny Soup is nothing more than rasam. In Tamil, this word translates to “Pepper Water”

Rasam prevents constipation, is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, facilitates digestion, is rich in antioxidents, helps in weight loss, is an excellent food for patients recovering from illness and the best food when introding babies to solids.

Pineapple Rasam

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Toor Dal
  • 6 rings of pineapple
  • 1 tsp rasam powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-6 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Pressure cook the toor dal with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and enough water till it is soft and mushy. Keep aside.
  • Chop 2 of the pineapple rings into small pieces and keep aside.
  • Chop one tomato into small pieces and keep aside.
  • Powder the cumin seeds, peppercorns and 2 dried chillies into a coarse powder and keep aside.
  • Blend together the balance pineapple slices into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Blend the remaining tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In a largish pan, mix together the tomato puree, 1 cup water, the remaining turmeric powder and half the quantity of the blended peppercorn, cumin and dried chilli powder and let it start boiling.
  • When it comes to a boil, add the pineapple paste and rasam powder and let it continue to boil. Allow the pineapple paste and tomato puree to cook well.
  • In a separate pan, add the ghee and when the ghee warms up, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the red chillies, after breaking them into halves, the asafoetida, rest of the ground pepper-cumin-chilli powder and saute it for 20 seconds
  • Add the chopped pineapple and tomato pieces and saute it for 2 minutes in a medium flame
  • Add the ingredients in the pan to the rasam which has been boiling all along.
  • At this point, add the mushed dal and mix well.
  • Then add 1.5 – 2 cups of water and keep the flame in a medium level until the rasam starts to froth. Finally, garnish with coriander leaves and remove from flame.
  • The delicious and spicy pineapple rasam is ready to serve. Serve with rice and an Indian dry vegetable stir fry.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have access to rasam powder, just omit it, the taste should be just as good.
  • You can also blend together some garlic pods along with the cumin seeds, peppercorns and red chillies for a different taste.
  • This is wonderful as a slightly spicy and tangy soup during the winters.

Recipes: Raw Mango Thokku

A thokku is a pickle which is cooked down to a paste. In normal pickles, you don’t cook them (or barely cook them) allowing the vegetables (or fruits) to absorb the spices from the spice paste that coats them. In a thokku, you cook it down until there is no moisture left in the vegetable (or fruit) and this can also be made with herbs like coriander (or cilantro as it is called in North America) or curry leaves.

A thokku can be eaten not only with rice or flatbreads, but you can eat it as a stuffing in a sandwich. The raw mango thokku is an all-time favourite pickle and I have been known for eating it as it is, that’s how much I love it!

Last year in December, when my mum was with me, one day when I was wondering if I should make my instant mango pickle with the raw mangoes that S brought home, she asked me if I wanted to make this raw mango thokku. Me being me, I instantly said yes and learnt it from her. Since then I’ve made it at least once a month, fine-tuning my recipe. I am now confident of this recipe enough to share with everyone.

This is an easy recipe, just a little tedious. For around 4 largish mangoes, it usually takes me an hour from start to finish. If you are making more, perhaps for the whole year, then yes it can even take the whole day!

Raw Mango Thokku

Ingredients:

  • 4 large raw mangoes
  • 4-6 tbsps gingelly oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp red chilli powder (approximately)
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seed powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Wash and dry the mangoes thoroughly.
  • Peel the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces, the smaller the better. Discard the seed.
  • In a large pan, heat the gingelly oil and when it starts smoking, add in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, pour in the chopped mangoes and stir well to cover all the pieces with the oil.
  • Stir well and cover and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then add turmeric powder and salt and stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Now add the chilli powder and continue to cook. You can do a taste test at this point to check for seasoning and the level of chillies in the thokku. When you feel it is slightly spicier than you can handle, that’s what you are looking for.
  • Add the jaggery (optional, you can omit this completely or even add some brown sugar) and let it cook till the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add more oil if your thokku starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Just when it is ready, add the fenugreek powder and remove from the gas.
  • When the thokku is cool, remove it to a jar and enjoy!

Notes:

  • I have found that the best way to cut the mangoes is to peel them with the peeler (after you have removed the skin).
  • Peel the flesh until you come to the seed, and then chop the remaining flesh finely. This way, the flesh breaks down fast and you get a smooth paste like thokku.
  • In the photo below, (I made this version about a month back), I have chopped the flesh and you can still see the slightly grainy cubes which have not melted into a paste.
  • You can also grate the mango flesh.

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.

Recipes: Eriserri

Eriseri 7Since my mum is with me, I got her to make this dish which comes to Tamil Nadu via Kerala. This is made of Elephant’s Foot or Yam which looks like a stone but when cooked is a yummy dish which can replace potatoes in a dish.

Eriseri 3.1Eriseri

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yam, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup raw bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • In a pan or pressure cooker, cook the cubed yam and raw banana with the turmeric powder till they are completely cooked and soft. Keep  aside
  • In a small pan, heat 1 tsp oil and fry the cumin seeds, peppercorns and red chillies till they are brown and keep aside. When cool, grind it to a smooth paste with 1/4 cup grated coconut and keep aside.
  • Now add this paste to the cooked vegetables and season it with salt and let it come to a rolling boil. When the gravy is as thick as you like it, remove from the flame and keep aside.
  • In the same smaller pan, heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds and when it splutters, add the curry leaves and the balance coconut and fry until the coconut becomes golden and crisp.
  • Pour this over the cooked vegetable, adjust seasoning and serve hot with plain rice. This also goes well with any Indian flatbread.

Eriseri 6.1

Eriseri 5

Eriseri 2

Eriseri 1.1