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: 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

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!

Lemon Vermicelli 5Lemon Vermicelli 1

Recipe: Coconut Semiya (Vermicelli)

Coconut Vermicelli 5

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.

Coconut Vermicelli 2Coconut Vermicelli 4Coconut Vermicelli 1

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Ginger Pepper Rasam

Ginger Pepper Rasam 3

Last week GG caught a bad cold from school and since the children are in the midst of exams, I decided to make this rasam, which can also be eaten as a soup which is filled with the goodness of peppercorns and ginger, both which are very good for getting rid of a cold. I made another version earlier, this version omits tamarind and also slightly different.

This is a fairly easy recipe to make and can finish in under 20 minutes when you have the ingredients ready.

Ginger Pepper Rasam 1Ginger Pepper Rasam

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked tuvar dal
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 1 red chilli (omit this if you don’t want it too spicy or if you intend to increase the number of peppercorns)
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper powder (optional)
  • Lemon juice as per taste

Method:

  • In a pan, take 1 tsp ghee and fry the cumin seeds, chana dal, peppercorns, red chilli, ginger and 4-5 curry leaves and fry until the dal changes colour. Remove from the flame and cool down
  • When cool, grind to a smooth paste with the chopped tomatoes and a bit of water.
  • In a pan, heat the water and add to this the cooked tuvar dal, asafoetida, jaggery and salt and bring to a boil.
  • When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the cooked tomato and spice paste and let it cook well. This should take between five to ten minutes.
  • When it starts boiling, the water will reduce. At this point, top up the water and once it starts boiling again, remove from the flame.
  • Add the lemon juice after the rasam has been removed from the flame.
  • In another smaller pan, heat the remaining ghee. When warm, add the mustard seeds and the balance curry leaves and let them pop. Now add the pepper powder (if you are using) and pour this over the rasam.

Drink hot as a soup for a soothing concoction for your throat. This is yum over rice and a dollop of ghee or even as a pick-me-up during cold and rainy days!

Ginger Pepper Rasam 4

Ginger Pepper Rasam 2