Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, South Indian, Vegan

Kothamalli (Coriander Leaves) Chutney – Tamil Nadu Style

I have a distinct memory of the taste of the coriander chutney served with dosa at a restaurant in Thiruvannamalai. It did not have the raw green taste. I asked them how to make it. But, since I did not get the proportions right, it had not turned out well. So when I found out that my new domestic help belongs to Thiruvannamalai, I asked her what kinds of chutneys she makes at home for dosa and idli and she mentioned the coriander chutney. I asked her the method and from her description I could make out this is the same one I must have had at the restaurant. Got her to make it today morning and it was simply yum! I loved her style of cooking. She roasted the whole garlic cloves without chopping them. She has no hesitation about the quantity of ingredients. Unlike me, she was lavish about the quantity of oil and the amount of garlic. In the below recipe, I have reduced the amount of oil significantly. Unlike Navaratna chutney which is sap green in color has a raw taste, the color of this chutney is yellow green resembling pickled olives and has a cooked taste.

Ingredients:
For roasting and grinding
Coriander leaves – 2 cups (tightly packed)
Urad dal – 2 tbsp
Chana dal – 2 tbsp
Dry red chilies – 7-8 (adjust to taste)
Tomato – 2 medium
Garlic – 1 pod (8-10 cloves)
Coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Tamarind – lemon sized ball
Oil – 1 tsp

For Garnishing
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Dry red chilies – 2
Oil – 1 + 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Makes 2 cups

Method:
Wash, drain, and chop coriander leaves. You may use the tender stems as well. They add to the flavor.
Heat oil in a pan and add chana dal. When they start sizzling and changing color, add the urad dal and saute until they start turning red.
Add garlic cloves (whole will do – no need to chop them), chopped tomato, dry red chillies and saute in medium flame for 5 minutes.
Add the coriander leaves and let them wilt a bit and turn dark green in color. Do not overdo this. Just let the leaves wilt and turn off the fire. If you overcook the coriander, the flavor will be lost.
Add tamarind and grated coconut and let this get lightly cooked in the residual heat of the pan.
Once the ingredients cool down, use a mixer to grind along with salt. You would not need to add water as the tomatoes and coriander would have some water content. Do not overgrind. Grind until the red chilies and the roasted dals have been ground well.
Now for garnishing, heat oil in the same pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, split the dry red chilies into two, add that and the curry leaves. Roast for less than a minute and then add the chutney to this pan. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes or so.
Turn off and transfer to a serving bowl.
Chutney is ready to be served with dosa, idli, roti, or even rice.

Notes: If you want to avoid garlic, you can substitute it with a half an inch piece of ginger.
You could skip the tomatoes and add a little more tamarind but using tomato and tamarind in the given proportion is recommended to balance the tart.

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Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan

Kerala Style Roasted Coconut Chammanthi/Chutney

Roasted Coconut Chutney Ingredients

A chammanthi/chutney (not to be confused with chutneys served with dosa) that can add punch to the most mundane item like a rice gruel (kanji) meal. Mouth-watering, lip-smacking, flavorful, tangy; all these adjectives cannot do justice to this chutney. Make this once, and you will be addicted forever. Traditionally this chutney is made by roasting whole coconut and dry red chilies over burning charcoal. I can only imagine how exotic and flavorful this version must be!

Ingredients:
Grated Coconut – 1/2 of a medium sized coconut
Dry Red Chilies – 4
Tamarind – 1/2 lime size
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Pearl Onion/Shallot – 2
Garlic pod – 2
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Roasted coconut and dry red chilliesMethod:
Heat an iron pan and dry roast the grated coconut and red chilies in medium heat. Turn off when the coconut turns to golden color. Transfer to a plate and let the coconut and chilies cool down a bit. Peel shallots and garlic. Clean the tamarind by removing seeds and stringy membranes, if any. Grind all the ingredients in a mixer. I used a traditional stone grinder (ammikallu). Use very little water while grinding to make a coarse chutney.

Roasted Coconut Chutney

Serve with warm rice or rice gruel. This chutney can be used even for dosa or idly. I made a version without garlic and onion, and that too tasted extremely good.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Side Dishes

Onion Tomato Subzi

When you have to make roti subzi for just one person, what subzi do you make? Here is a simple one with very few ingredients that you can prepare in 5-7 minutes.

Ingredients:
Onion (medium) – 1
Tomato (medium) – 1
Garlic – 1 pod (optional)
Hing/asafetida – a pinch
Turmeric – a pinch
Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp (optional)
Coriander leaves – 1-2 (optional)

Method:
Peel the garlic and onion. Chop garlic, onion, and tomato into small pieces. Pour oil into an iron wok. Crackle mustard seeds. Add chopped garlic. When they turn brown, add chopped onion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, and hing powder. Add chopped tomato. Saute for 2 more minutes. Add salt and turn off. Add grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves if preferred. Serve with roti.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Side Dishes, Vegan

Stuffed Brinjal

Another stuffed vegetable that is very similar to the previous one. I have always been a brinjal fan. Isnt it one of the prettiest of vegetables? What a color! When I buy sarees for my mother, I always look for the aubergine or the brinjal flower color because that’s her favorite! Man has not yet mastered the art of replicating the colors of Nature very well, yet we take pride in saying that we came close. Whether it is the purple brinjal or the unique green long brinjal variety, the streaked purple and white ones, or the ivory white one; all taste excellent when cooked with the right ingredients. Who can resist the smell of the smoky bhartha baingan?

Stuffed brinjal is easy to make and makes good accompaniment for rotis or puris. You can go crazy with your imagination and use anything you fancy for the masala of this recipe. Make this one and you will fall in love with brinjal.

Ingredients:
Brinjal (purple small round ones) – 250 gms
Cooking oil (sunflower) – 2 tbsps
Coriander leaves – a bunch
Salt – to taste

For masala:
Onion – 2 (medium sized)
Peanuts – 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut / Copra pieces – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Tamarind – 1 lime size
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 2 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:

Please make sure that you use the small purple brinjal variety to make this dish. Wash the brinjal and pat them dry using a cloth. Make slits that cross each other while keeping the stem intact. Ensure that there is no dirt/worms. Keep aside.

Peel and cut the onion. In a pan, dry roast the grated coconut / copra and peanuts. Set aside.
Add one tbsp oil and add chopped onion, garlic, tamarind and saute well. After the onion turns pink, add turmeric power, chilly powder, jaggery, and salt. You may add anything you fancy, like coriander powder, garam masala, or ginger garlic paste instead of garlic. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool. Grind this to a fine paste in a blender. Add just enough water so that the paste is not too loose. Carefully stuff this paste into the slit brinjal so that the paste of masala coats the insides of the brinjal. If you choose to and have the time and patience, you can keep this aside for half an hour before you start cooking the brinjal. I did not do this and cooked the stuffed brinjal straightaway after stuffing them with the masala.

In a thick bottomed pan, pour 2 tbsp of cooking oil and place the slit brinjal with masala stuffing. Close with a lid. Hold the brinjal stem and turn them over occasionally to cook all sides until the brinjal is tender (about 10-15 minutes on medium fire). If you prefer some gravy for the dish, you can make the masala slightly watery and that will make the dish watery. If you prefer it tangy, you can cook the stuffed brinjal in tomato puree. When the brinjal is tender, remove from fire, and add chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rotis or warm rice.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Side Dishes, Vegan

Stuffed Bhindi/Okra

This is definitely a rich one! Once you try this stuffing, you will give up your other mundane bhindi subzis. It is an excellent combination with roti. I had this dish first when my friend’s aunt packed this along with rotis for our train journey. She had given us fairly big portions, but my friend and I licked it clean in a single sitting. First thing we did after finishing it was call up my friend’s aunt and get the recipe. The unusual ingredients (copra and peanuts) turn the otherwise dull bhindi into an exotic dish. Here is how to make it.

Ingredients:
Bhindi/okra/lady’s finger – 250 gms
Copra/dried coconut kernel shavings – 1 cup
Peanuts – 1/2 cup
Garlic pod (medium sized) – 1
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves 2

Method:
The okra that you choose for this subzi should be of small size. Use only the tender ones. Make sure that you wash them thoroughly and pat dry. Remove both the ends and make a single slit on the okra ensuring that it does not split into two. Okra is a favorite hideout for worms! So make sure that you check for any dirt or worms. Keep aside.

Slice the copra into small, even pieces. In a thick bottomed pan, dry roast the copra pieces until golden brown (for around 5 minutes). Remove from fire. Dry roast the peanuts in medium fire for around 5 minutes. When the peanuts start changing color, remove from fire. Grind the roasted peanuts, copra, garlic pod, and chilly powder in a blender to make a coarsely ground powder.

In a pan, pour one tbsp oil and add the slit okra. Close with a lid and cook for 3 minutes in medium fire. Stir occasionally. When the okra is half cooked, add the the coarsely ground powder. Add the required amount of salt, stir, and close with a lid. Cook for 5 mins in medium fire. Stir occasionally. Stuffed okra is ready. Serve hot with warm rotis. Since this is a dry subzi, you may serve it along with dal.

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Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads

Zucchini Salad and Garlic Bread

Tired of eating spicy food? Give some rest to your tummy. Try the subtle zucchini and carrot salad and garlic bread. Simple and easy to make, tasty and easy on your tummy.

Salad Ingredients:
Zucchini (a type of squash like cucumber) – 1 medium sized
Carrot – 1 medium sized
French beans – 100 gms
Garlic – 1 clove
Olive oil/butter/cooking oil – 1/2 tbsp
Crushed peppercorns – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Garlic Bread Ingredients:
Bread – As needed
Garlic cloves – 2 to 3
Butter – 1 tbsp

Method:
Salad
Peel garlic and chop finely. Wash and remove the edges of the vegetables. Peel the carrot. Slice the vegetables in a slanting manner (oblique cutting) so that the inner sides are more exposed.

Heat a wok and pour oil. Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a minute. When the garlic begins to change color, add the sliced carrots and beans, close with a lid, and cook for a minute. Stir and add the sliced zucchini. Cook for around 2 minutes. The vegetables should just become tender and should not be overcooked. Add salt and crushed pepper. Remove from fire.

Garlic bread
Peel and chop garlic finely. Mix this with butter. Spread on the butter garlic mixture on bread and place on a hot pan. Spread the butter and garlic on the other side of the bread. Cook in medium fire for half a minute or so. Flip over and cook the other side. Remove from fire and serve with cheese or zucchini salad.

Zucchini is not commonly found in India. It belongs to the cucumber family and tastes and smells very much like cucumber yet not as watery as cucumber. I used to always ignore the side of the market where the ‘exotic’ vegetables are sold. But I am so glad I gave zucchini a try.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Soups

Potato Spring Onion Soup

A delicious creamy soup. Excellent way to start the dinner on a cold winter/rainy evening.

Ingredients:

Spring onions(cleaned well and sliced) – 3

Potatoes (peeled and diced) – 2

Garlic (finely chopped)- 3 medium sized pods

Water – 3 cups

Freshly ground pepper – 1 tsp

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Rock salt – to taste

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Preparation Time: 5 min.

Cooking Time: 20 min.

Method:

In a wok, saute the garlic, spring onions, and potatoes in olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add water and bring to boil. Turn off and let it cool. Use a mixer to blend this well until pureed. Transfer the blended contents into the wok and bring to boil. Add pepper, salt, and water if needed. Bring to boil. Add cream if prefered. Enjoy creamy spring onion and potato soup.

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Skill Level:

Low

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