Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sambar Puli - A Powdery And Spicy Tamarind Relish

Sambar puli in Tamil means 'spicy tamarind' or 'spice tamarind' to be precise. My great grand mother had very active taste buds all through her ninety sixty years of life. She loved to savour spicy and tangy dishes and had them cooked with her expert instructions. As kids we hovered around her to taste her favourite yummy dishes which she lovingly shared with us. Her sambar puli mixed with rice and a spoon of pure ghee used to be a great relish. But we as kids pinched spoons of sambar puli , rolled them into marble size balls and dumped them into our eager mouths.The spice and tang caressed each and every taste bud on our rolling tongues and it was an undescribable experience by itself!
Fresh green coriander is used in the preparation of sambar puli. Instead I have used curry leaves here as per a friend's request. Sambar puli ensures great relief after a grand feast or after a prolonged bland diet. It is a good digestive and relieves nausea.
Curry leaves separated from the stalks - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 small lime size
Split black gram dal - 4 tbsps
Red chillies - 6
Asafoetida - one small piece
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
salt - 1 1/2 tsp


1. Separate curry leaves from the stalks and wash them thoroughly.
2. Spread the washed leaves on a towel and blot them dry.
3. Shread the tamarind into tiny bits and keep aside.
4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the asafoetida. ( If asafoetida powder is used add it after the red chillies are fried - Step 6 )
5. Add the split black gram dal and roast till it is golden brown in colour.
6. Add red chillies and fry till they are crisp and switch off flame.
7. Cool the fried ingredients and process in a mixer till it is coarsely powdered.
8. Add shreaded tamarind and salt and blend by running the mixer for a few seconds.
9. Add the curry leaves and again run the mixer so that all the ingredients of the smbar puli blend together  till you get the required texture.


Cool it and store in a clean dry jar. Sambar puli is neither a dry powder nor a wet chutney. The tamarind and the raw curry leaves give it a damp texture. Enjoy with steaming hot rice and a spoon of desi ghee.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kal Dosai - A Soft And Silky Crepe With Rice And Black Lentil

Kal dosais are so soft and silky that they can be folded like silk handkerchiefs. The white, oil- free dosais taste great with Kumbakonam Kadappa. My aunt used to serve the lilly white, soft kal dosais with pachai milagai tokku ( green chilly relish ) which is a deadly combination!

Raw rice - 3 cups
Split black gram dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
1. Stir the rice in a heated kadai until the rice is warm but not roasted.
2. Switch off flame and immediately add water and fenugreek seeds.
3. Let the rice soak for one hour in the same hot kadai.
4. When it is cooled, drain the rice and fenugreek seeds and grind to a smooth paste adding fresh water.
5. Mix in salt and store it in a covered vessel.
6. Soak split black gram dal in another vessel and cover with a lid.
7. Let the contents in both the vessels stand overnight.
8. Next morning grind the soaked split black gram dal until smooth and fluffy.
9. Thoroughly mix the rice batter and the dal batter together to make the dosai batter.
1. Heat a greased tava ( DOSAI KAL ) on medium flame.
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into a thin round dosai.
3. When holes start appearing on the dosai cover it with a lid.
4. Let  the dosai  cook in steam for two minutes.
5. Remove the lid and wait for few more seconds .
6. When the dosai is done it can be easily removed by using a spatula.It need not be flipped and cooked.

The dosais stay white because the black gram dal batter is not allowed to ferment. Secondly it is not roasted using oil. The steam cooking keeps it soft and pliable.


Enjoy the hot, soft and silky kal dosais with your favourite sambar, chutney or tokku.

Sending this to Srivalli's Breakfast Mela!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kumbakonam Kadappa - A Flavoursome Vegetable And Lentil Dish

The temple towns of Tamil Nadu especially in Tanjore District, are famous for their exotic dishes with their queer names. Kumbakonam Kadappa is one such dish conjured up with vegetables, lentils and super flavoursome spices. As you travel through the busy lanes of the town the aroma from the small and big eating hubs tickles your taste buds and activates the digestive juices. The fire is satiated only when doused with the awesome kadappa served with idlies and dosas !
Green gram dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Potato - 1 big
Carrots - 2 ( chopped )
String beans - a handful ( chopped )
Tomato - 1 big ( Chopped )
Onion - 1 ( sliced )
Green chilly - 2 ( Cut into big pieces )
Fresh ginger - 1'' piece ( Finely chopped )
Curry leaves - a few
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp
Chopped fresh coriander leaves - for garnishing
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cooking oil - 2 tbsps
salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp
Cardamoms - 3
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Cloves - 6
Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp ( I use my home made sambar powder )
1. Pressure cook green gram dal adding turmeric powder .
2. Pressure cook potato along with the dal in a different separator.
3. Cook chopped carrots and chopped beans separately to avoid them becoming mushy.
4. Grind all the INGREDIENTS FOR GRINDING adding little water into a slightly coarse paste.
5. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
6. Add sliced onions, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves.
7. Saute till onions become transparent.
8. Stir in the ground paste and cook for 2 minutes.

9. Add chopped tomatoes and cooked carrots and beans.
10. Add peeled and crumbled potatoes and stir well.

11. Add the pressure cooked mushy dal and salt.
12 . Simmer for a few more minutes till you get a pleasant aroma.


13. Garnish with roasted cashewnuts and fresh coriander leaves.


Enjoy the mouthwatering flavoursome Kumbakonam Kadappa with idlies or dosas. We relished it with pudina paratas. The aroma of the dish filled the entire house though I had omitted garlic and fennel seeds, since my family did not prefer a strong flavour.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tengai Obbuttu/Kayee Obbattu for Tamil New Year's Day - Flatbread With Sweet Coconut Filling

Obbuttu / Obbattu is a delicacy prepared on all happy and auspicious occassions. A Ugadi feast or a Chittirai Pirappu (Tamil new year's day ) feast is never complete without the delicious obbuttu / obbattu. It can be relished as it is or with warm milk. Savouring it with payasam /payasa might be a overkill but it is heaven for people with hopeless sweet tooth!
Coconut gratings - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Semolina - 2 tbsps
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
1. Dissolve jaggery in half cup of warm water and strain.
2. Dry roast semolina and keep aside.
3. Grind coconut smoothly sprinkling little water.
4. Cook jaggery water and coconut paste till it becomes thick.
5. Switch off flame and mix in roasted semolina and cardamom powder.
6. Let the poornam / hoorana cool down.
Maida /Plain flour - 1 cup
Chiroti rave ( very fine semolina ) - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 pinch
Cooking oil - 2 tbsps
1. Mix maida, chiroti rave, turmeric powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Knead into a soft dough adding water little by little.
3. Add oil and knead again .
4. Cover with a lid and allow it to stand for about 2 hours.
1. Take a lemon size ball of dough and flatten it.
2. Take a portion of the filling, make a ball and place it on the flattened dough ball.

3. Pull the edges to seal the filling inside the dough ball.
4.Grease a plastic sheet and place the dough ball with filling on it with its sealed surface down.
5. Cover it with another greased plastic sheet.
7. Roll the dough ball with filling using a rolling pin, into a thin chapati ( flatbread).


8. Heat a greased tava on low fire.
9. Peel the rolled chapati carefully and place it on the tava.
10. Cook the obbuttu/obbattu on both sides ( with or without ghee ) till reddish brown patches appear on the surfaces.

Relish the warm crisp obbuttus/obbattus with payasam/payasa !

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mavina Kayee Holigae / Mangai Poli - Flat Bread With Raw Mango Filling

This tangy spicy holigae / poli  was a substitute for Mavinakayee Chitranna / Mangai Sadam  because my husband is on an 'off  rice diet'  since a month. This holigae /poli  can be savoured with or without an accompaniment. Topping it with  half a spoon of fresh ghee or butter makes it more tasty.
Firm raw mangoes - 2 ( 4 cups when grated )
Green chillies- 6
Chopped coriander - 1 cup
Rice flour - 4 tbsps ( or as required )
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
1. Grind green chillies with chopped coriander into a smooth paste adding little water.
2.Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds splutter add asafoetida and grated mangoes.
4. Saute till the mango gives out a pleasant aroma.
5. Add salt and the ground paste and cook the mixture till the raw smell of chillies disappear.
6. Add the rice flour little by little stirring continuously till the mango mixture comes together into a smooth ball. Use only little quantity of rice flour since it is required only  for binding.
7. Switch off flame and set aside the mango filling.( hoorana / poornam )
1. Wheat flour - 2 cups
2. Maida or plain flour - 1/2 cup
3. Salt - 1 pinch
3. Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
4. Cooking oil - 2 tbsps.
1. Mix the flours, salt and turmeric powder together.
2. Mix oil into the flour mixture.
3. Add water little by little and knead the flour into a soft dough.
4. The dough should become pliable but not sticky.
5. Cover the dough and rest it for at least two hours.

1. Make lime size balls out of the filling and keep aside.
2. Take a ball of dough and flatten it on your palm.
3. Place one ball of filling on the flattened dough and gather the ends to seal it.
4. Place the dough ball with mango filling in between two greased  plastic sheets .
5. Placing this on the counter or on a rolling board, flatten  the ball  into an even holigae/poli as thin as possible using the pressure of your palm over the plastic sheet.


6. Heat a greased tava on low fire and cook the holigae/poli on both sides till golden brown spots appear on both the surfaces.The initial greasing of tava is enoug to cook all the holigaes / polis. Dribbling of oil while cooking  is not necessary.

Enjoy the Mavinakayee Holigae / Mangai Poli while it is still warm.