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

Vendakka Puli (Okra in Tangy Tamarind Gravy)

In the North of India, dal (boiled lentils) is a must for every meal, whether it is rice or roti. In the South also, one dish for the meal must contain dal. The other dish, invariably, will be spicy and tangy complementing the bland and sober dal. Puli means tamarind in Malayalam and Tamizh. Puli / tangy taste of the tamarind is the main character of this gravy. Everyone at home loves this dish. 

Ingredients:
Okra / Ladies Finger / Vendakka – 200 gm
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:
Shallots – 6 – 8
Coriander seeds – 1-1/2 tsp
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Dry red chilies – 5 – 6
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
Water – 1/2 cup

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves – 4

Method:
Wash, clean, and pat dry the okra. Remove the edges. Cut horizontally into small pieces.

Heat an iron wok, add half a teaspoon of oil to it. Put the okra pieces into the wok and stir occasionally and fry until the stickiness disappears. Keep aside.

In the same iron wok, add half a teaspoon of oil, coriander seeds and dry red chilies. Stir and roast until the raw smell of coriander seeds goes away. Add peeled shallots and grated coconut and roast for 2-3 mins. Remove to a plate and let this cool.

Meanwhile, take a cooking pot (stone is ideal as this is a tamarind gravy) and add a cup of water in it. Add the tamarind to this water and dissolve the tamarind in this. Strain and retain only the water and discard the tamarind pulp.

Now heat the cooking pot with the tamarind water in it and add the stir fried okras to this tamarind water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt.

While that cooks, grind the roasted ingredients (coriander seeds, dry red chilies, grated coconut, and shallots) in a mixer to a smooth paste. You may add small quantities of water to make the paste.

When the okras get cooked in the tamarind water, add the ground paste to the cooking pot and bring it to boil. Let this boil for 3-5 mins.

Add half a teaspoon of jaggery powder to this to balance the tart of the tamarind.

In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds to it. Let it splutter. Add curry leaves and then pour this mixture on the boiling gravy. Mix well. Taste and adjust the salt and tamarind if required. Tangy spicy vendakka puli is ready to be served with rice.

Notes: You may add asafetida, fenugreek seeds, and / or garlic along with the ingredients while roasting.

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

Mulaku Varutha Puli (Chilies and Shallots in Tamarind Water)

Every region has a few dishes that involves just rustling up some basic stuff together to get by on a lazy or difficult day. These dishes are never made for guests as they are considered too simple, minimalistic, and not grand enough to be served to guests. Palakkad has it’s own set of such dishes – Chembu thandu curry, moloshyam / molagoottal, vattikkal, pachadis, and the list goes on. Mulaku varutha puli is one such and a family favorite. On days when amma makes this, we run out of steamed rice because everyone tends to overeat. It is nothing but some chilies and shallots cooked in diluted tamarind water. The title sounds very grand like the accented Mulligatawny soup coined by Britishers. It is actually quite similar to a clear sour soup. So here is how.

Ingredients:
Green chilies – 2-3
Shallots – 4-5
Tamarind – a lemon sized ball
Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Water as needed
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 7 mins

Method:
Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice. Discard the pulp. Keep the tamarind water aside.
Slit the green chilies. Peel the shallots and chop finely. Keep aside.
In a wok, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add slit green chilies, finely chopped shallots, and curry leaves.
Saute the chilies and shallots in oil for about 2 mins.
Add the diluted tamarind water into the fried green chilies and shallots.
Add salt as needed and bring to boil.
Add jaggery and stir.
Taste and adjust the amount of water and salt.

Sour and tasty mulaku varutha puli is ready to be served with steamed hot rice.

Notes: It is important to add jaggery as it balances the tart of the tamarind and gives it a wonderful taste without making the dish sweet.