Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes

Colocasia Stem Subzi (Chembu Thandu Koottan)

A thick side dish for rice or roti made of colocasia stems, pumpkin, and cow peas. This is one of those rare Kerala dishes without coconut. This is a dish with thick gravy . Colocasia plants, just like coconut and banana plants/trees are commonly found in a Kerala backyard. Dishes using colocasia stem and leaves are very common in the village. These recipes are now getting forgotten due to unavailability of ingredients and people forgetting these age old recipes.

Peel colocasia stemIngredients:
Colocasia stems (peeled and diced) – 2 cups
Pumpkin (peeled and diced) – 1 cup
Cow peas (boiled) – 1/4 cup
Tomato – 2 (or else substitute with thick tamarind juice 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Shallots – 4-5
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
Whole dry red chili – 1
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves 3

Method:
Pressure cook the cow peas separately in some water and keep it aside. Be careful that they do not get mashed. Peel the skin from colocasia stem and dice into cubes. The colocasia stem pieces shrinks to 1/4th size when cooked. So you may cut in one-inch sized cubes. Peel and dice pumpkins (you may choose to add the skin also if the pumpkin is organic and good quality). In a thick bottomed pan, cook diced colocasia stems and pumpkin pieces with turmeric powder and just a sprinkle of water. Colocasia stems are a little watery so once heated, they would release some water. Check every few minutes and add water if you think it is needed. When the colocasia stems and pumpkin pieces get cooked, add the tomato pieces and boiled cow peas. You may add thick tamarind extract instead of tomato. Some colocasia stems tend to itch. Hence, it is important to add either tamarind extract or tomato. Add chili powder and salt to taste. While this is getting cooked, peel and chop the shallots finely. Heat oil in a small pan and add the chopped shallots and roast them until golden brown. Add curry leaves and the whole dry red chili also. Mix with the cooked vegetables. Taste and adjust salt.

Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Drumstick and Potato Korma

A nutritious and tasty side dish for dosa, idli, chapati, or even with rice. Very similar to Sagu, the mixed vegetable curry.

Ingredients:
Drumstick – 2
Potato – 2 medium sized
Onion – 1 medium sized
Tomato – 2 medium sized
Green chilies – 3 (adjust to taste)
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 1 clove
Bay leaf/Tej patta – 1
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 1
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut powder/coconut milk – 25 mg
Water – As needed
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2

Method: Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes. Peel the drumstick. You may just scrape to remove the green outer part. The hard shell can remain. Chop into a 2-inch long pieces.

Peel and chop the onions finely. Peel and crush the ginger, garlic, and green chilies into a coarse paste. Chop the tomato pieces finely.

Add coconut oil into a wide bottomed pan. Add the crushed ginger, garlic, green chilies paste as well as the whole spices (cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves). Saute until the raw smell disappears. You may choose to remove the whole spices after the flavors are released.

Add the finely chopped onion pieces and curry leaves. Saute.

Add chopped tomato pieces. Saute until you see oil seeping out.

Add coriander powder. Saute and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped potato and drumstick pieces. Stir. Add a cup of water. Empty one packet of coconut milk powder into one cup water to make a thin coconut milk. Add this to the vegetables.

Close with a lid and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until gravy thickens and potatoes and drumsticks look well cooked.

Add salt, cover and cook for 2 more minutes. If desired, you can mix another 25 gms of coconut milk powder in warm water to make a cup of thick coconut milk and add this thick coconut milk to the dish. This is optional. Remove from fire. Garnish with freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Notes: If you do not wish to have the shell of the drumstick, you may cook drumstick separately, squeeze out the pulp and use that for the korma instead of adding whole drumstick pieces.

Bachelor-friendly, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Keerai Mashiyal – Mashed Greens with Lentils

It is recommended that we use greens daily in our diet. Indians have various recipes to use locally available greens. One of the local recipe around the regions in Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala mainly dominated by the Tamil community is a preparation called mashiyal, which literally means mashed. Keerai mashiyal is nothing but mashed greens. You may puree the greens or decide to just cook them, add lentils along with them mashed greens, and choose your own favorite kind of seasoning for the mashed greens. The mashiyals that traditional Tamil Iyer community makes does not use shallots/onions. You may use your discretion to add or skip shallots. Lentils is a good way to add volume as well as protein in your mashiyal but this is optional too.

Ingredients:
Spinach/amaranth leaves/cheera/keerai/palak – 3 tightly packed cups
Tur dal/split yellow mung dal – 1/2 cup
Water – 2 cups
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Green chilies – 1 or 2
Pearl onions/Shallots – 7-8
Dried red chilies – 2
Urad Dal – 1 tsp (optional)

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins (20 mins pressure cooking time)
Makes 4 cups

Method:
If you are adding lentils, rinse the dal thoroughly, add a cup of water, and cook it well. Mash and keep aside.

Wash, clean, and chop the spinach. Keep aside.
Peel the pearl onions/shallots and chop them finely. Chop green chilies finely. Keep aside.

In a wok, add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal. Roast the dal until they turn red and add the dry red chilies.
Add the finely chopped shallots and green chilies. Saute until shallots turn pink.
Add the finely chopped spinach, along with quarter cup of water, and a pinch of turmeric powder. Cover and let this cook until the greens get cooked, stirring occasionally. Add the required amount of salt.
When the greens are cooked well, add the mashed dal. Taste and adjust the salt.
Turn off the fire.
Serve with rice or roti.

Notes: If you do not have shallots, you may use red onions but the taste does vary slightly. Red onions are slightly sweet whereas shallots are spicy.
You may avoid onions/shallots and choose to add just a seasoning of oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, and dry red chilies.

Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, South Indian

Milagu Kuzhambu / Spicy Pepper Gravy for Rice

A spicy and tangy kozhambu (gravy) just right for the winter / rainy season. Especially good to treat common cold and chest congestion. Ingredients may be many but the method is very simple and easy. You will definitely get hooked to its taste.

Ingredients:
Tamarind – one big gooseberry size ball
Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1 cup, adjust as needed
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste

For Roasting and Grinding:
Peppercorns – 1-1/2 tsp
Urid dal – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1-1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds / Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Hing/Asafetida powder – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilies – 1 or 2
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Sesame oil – 1 tsp

For Seasoning:
Sesame oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

IMG_2826Method:
Add a teaspoon of sesame oil to an iron pan. Add peppercorns, urid dal, chana dal, dry red chili, and coriander seeds.
Stir continuously and roast the ingredients. When the urid dal starts turning color, add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, hing powder, and curry leaves. Stir fry until jeera seeds start spluttering and the dals have turned red.
Turn off the fire, transfer to a bowl or plate and let this cool.
When the roasted ingredients have cooled down, pulse this in a mixture to make a fine and smooth paste. You may add small quantities of water also.
Add a cup of lukewarm water to tamarind and soak it for 2-3 mins. Extra the tamarind juice and remove and discard the pulp.
Heat a pot and add a teaspoon of sesame oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add curry leaves.
Now add the tamarind juice to the pot. Add turmeric powder. Bring to boil.
Add the required amount of salt.
Add jaggery powder, mix, and bring to boil.
Add the smooth paste of the roasted ingredients into the boiling tamarind. Stir well. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, or jaggery as per taste.
Boil until the gravy thickens and oil starts appearing on top of the gravy.
You can serve this as a gravy with rice or mix this with cooked rice to make milagu kuzhambu sadam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANote:
1. If you boil until the gravy thickens, you can store this gravy and mixed it with desired quantities of cooked rice to make instant milagu kuzhambu sadam, which is like a one-pot meal that can be served with papad or some stir fried vegetables. The gravy can be stored in refrigerator up to 15 days.
2. To make another version of this gravy, you can add sauteed shallots or garlic when boiling the tamarind.
3. It is important to use sesame oil to make this kuzhambu to get the authentic taste and flavor.

Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Vegan

Mixed Vegetables and Lentils Curry

A simple and easy to make dal and vegetables curry that can be easily cooked and is nutritious too. Sometimes you are so tired of the sambar, rasam, and all the spicy curries and crave for simple and mild dishes, or on days that I am super busy and cannot bother to make two different things, I go for this one. Goes well with rice as well as roti. It is very similar to the koottu curry that is a part of the Kerala sadya, but much more simpler.

Ingredients:
Ash gourd/kumbalanga – 100 gm
Ripe Pumpkin/mathan – 100 gm
Elephant yam/chena – 50 gm
Raw banana/kaya (optional) – 100 gm
Tur dal / Split pigeon peas – 1/2 cup / 50 gm
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Water as needed
Salt as needed

For grinding:
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp or Green chilies – 3
Water as needed

For tempering
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-5

Method:
Remove the peels of the vegetables, wash and clean them, and cut into small cubes.
Wash the tur dal 2-3 times in water.
Pressure cook the tur dal and cut vegetables along with a cup of water and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and the required amount of salt. 1-2 whistles would do.
Meanwhile, grind the grated coconut, jeera, black peppercorns along with few tbsp of water that is required to grind the mixture well. You may use green chilies instead of black peppercorns. Make a smooth paste and set aside.
After opening the pressure cooker lid and ensuring that the vegetables and dal and are cooked well, add the ground coconut, jeera and pepper mixture to the cooked vegetables and dal. Mix well well and bring to boil. Adjust salt if required.
When the dal and vegetables and coconut mixture bubbles well, turn off the fire, add a teaspoon of coconut oil for flavor and add a sprig of curry leaves. Aromatic and flavorful dal and vegetables is ready.

Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Vegan

Mung Dal (Cheru Parippu) Curry – A Side Dish for Dosa and Idli

A dal cooked along with simple and minimal spices, a very good side dish for dosa and idli. When you are bored of sambar and chutneys along with idli and dosa, make this occasionally. Supplements you with good protein for your breakfast. This koottan (curry) is a family specialty. My mother makes it even on her father’s death anniversary because apparently my grandpa used to love this curry along with idli. The fragrance of the roasted mung dal and roasted coriander seeds is the dominant flavors of this curry.

Ingredients:
Split yellow mung dal – 200 gms
Potato – 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt as needed
Water as needed

For Grinding:
Coriander seeds – 1/4 cup / 3-4 tbsp
Dry red chilies – 2-3
Grated coconut – 3-4 tbsp
Shallots – 4-5

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins
Serves: 4

Method:
Dry roast mung dal in an iron wok until the raw smell goes away and the dal turns red. Keep aside.
Clean, peel, and dice the potatoes into cubes. Keep aside.
Peel the shallots. Keep aside.
Pressure cook the diced potatoes and mung dal (in separate vessels). For every cup of mung dal, add twice the amount of water for pressure cooking.
While the dal is getting cooked, in a wok, add 1/4 tsp oil. Add coriander seeds and dry red chilies and saute until you get the roasted smell of coriander seeds. Be careful not to burn them. Slow roasting is better. Just before you turn off the fire, add grated coconut. Once the roasted mixture cools down, grind the roasted mixture along with the shallots to make a fine paste. You may add small quantities of water.
In a wok, add the pressure cooked mung dal and cooked potatoes along with turmeric powder and salt. When the dal and potatoes start boiling, add the ground paste. Bring to boil. Adjust water and salt to desired levels. The consistency can be that of dal that is served along with rice.
In a small pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add curry leaves and pour this into the boiling dal.
Mildly spiced cheru parippu koottan is ready to be served along with idli or dosa.

Bachelor-friendly, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Vegan

Simple Spinach Curry

Spinach/Palak leaves are healthy, rich in iron and nutrition. This super simple palak recipe is made with limited ingredients and goes well with rice as well as roti. In this recipe, I have steamed and pureed the spinach leaves. You may choose to just use chopped spinach leaves. I prefer the pureed spinach. You may also add cooked tur dal/split pigeon peas or split mung dal to this curry to increase volume and nutrition.

Ingredients:
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch
Green chilies – 1-2
Garlic – 1 clove
Onion – 1/2
Tomato – 1
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Lemon – 1/4
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins to steam and 7 mins to cook

Method:
Clean and wash the spinach leaves well in water.
Drain and place in a double boiler or pressure cooker to steam the leaves. You will notice that the leaves have wilted, turned dark green, and reduced significantly.
Peel the garlic and onion. Chop finely and keep aside.
When the steamed spinach leaves cool down a bit, puree it using a mixer. Keep aside.
In a wok, add oil and jeera, slit green chilies and garlic. Saute.
Add finely chopped onion and tomato. Saute for 2-3 mins.
Add the pureed spinach into this. Bring to boil. Add salt.
Add lime juice just before serving.