Monday, July 21, 2014

Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya - Drumstick Leaves Curry


The market is flooded with drumstick leaves since it is the Tamil month Aadi .  Murungai Keerai  Porial is especially prepared on the first day of the Aadi month called Aadi Pandigai and also on Aadi Krithigai day.  Rice, Murungai Keerai Porial, Vadai and Payasam are the main dishes prepared and offered to Lord Murugan on the festive occasion of Aadi Krithigai . After completing the Kavadi bearing ritual, the devotees return home to savour this special and nutritious home made meal along with Panchamruta prasadam (a mixture of   ripe banana, jaggery, dates, honey, ghee and nuts showered on the image of the Lord as part of the temple pooja) , which is brought back from the temple. 
 (A Kavadi is made up of  two baskets of offerings hanging from the two ends of a decorated pole and is  balanced on the shoulder of the bearer. The devotee carries the Kavadi and walks up to the temple and offers the contents to Lord Murugan to fulfill his vow of thanks giving. )
After furnishing me with all the above details my house hold help Gowri  shared the customary recipe of Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya which was prepared for the occasion. 


Drumstick leaves/ Murungai Keerai / Nugge Soppu - 4 cups loosely packed
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Powdered jaggery - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Red chillies - 2 ( broken)
Peanuts - 4 tbsps

1. Separate the drumstick leaves from the stalk and wash thoroughly.
2. Dry roast the peanuts and grind into a coarse powder and keep aside.
3. Heat ghee and add the mustard seeds.
4. Add the broken red chillies.
5. When the chillies become crisp add the drumstick leaves and stir well.
6. Cover and cook till the leaves wilt.

7. Add salt and the jaggery powder and cook till the leaves become tender.
8. When all the water has evaporated add the coarsely ground peanut powder. (Back in the villages powdered oil cake is used instead of roasted peanut powder.) 

10. Mix well and switch off flame .

Enjoy the Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya bursting with nutrition along with rice or ragi muddae.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Goddu Rasam / Godsaaru - Watery Tamarind Soup


The simple and flavoursome Goddu rasam / Godsaaru along with rice  makes a soothing and   light meal. The thin soup can be savoured before a heavy meal . Enjoying the rasam sip by sip is sure to  elevate one's spirits on a cold and rainy day !   

Tamarind - A plum size ball
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tsp
Powdered jaggery - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Red chillies ( broken ) - 2 or 3
Split pigeon peas / Tur dal - 1 tbsp

1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
2. Add salt, asafoetida, jaggery, turmeric powder and curry leaves to the tamarind extract.
3. Heat 1/2 tsp ghee and roast the split pigeon peas/tur dal till it turns reddish in colour giving out a very pleasant aroma. Add this to the tamarind extract. 
4. Boil the above mixture for ten minutes or until the raw smell vanishes.
5. Pour 2 glasses of water into the boiling tamarind extract in a gentle stream so that the rasam is covered with  foam .

6. Switch off flame before the rasam boils over.
7. Heat the rest of the ghee and add mustard seeds. 
8. When the mustard seeds splutter add the broken red chillies.
9. When the chillies become crisp, pour the seasoning over the Goddu Rasam/ Godsaaru. 

Enjoy the hot and flavoursome Goddu Rasam / Godsaaru with  rice and a spoon of  ghee. Or enjoy the delicious thin watery soup as it is.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sepankizhangu Varuval - Taro Fry


My Pati ( grandma ) was not only an excellent cook but was also love and hospitality personified. She was very fond of  preparing delicacies for her loved ones even if it demanded a lot of her time and labour.We loved her chips whether banana, potato, senaikizhangu ( elephant yam ) or sepankizhangu ( taro ) which she often prepared for immediate and long term use.  She sat on a low stool in front  of a kerosene stove placed on the kitchen floor and fried chips in a huge kadai of hot oil  for the entire family for very long hours. We ate the fresh and crisp chips  as and when they were made  till our heart's /stomach's content without  letting  the huge steel sambadam (steel container)  to get filled up . She enjoyed it and continued to fry more and more chips till  the sambadam  was finally full for future consumption. When I went on my honeymoon 46 years ago , Pati had thrust a huge bag of  potato chips  into my hands saying that we- especially mapillai (son-in-law)-could munch it during our long drive to the hill station. My husband who was / is a thorough foodie enjoyed the very finely grated potato chips which almost resembled Sev with great appreciation. To this day I lovingly envy my dear  Pati because she had stolen my husband's heart even before I did ! 
Here is how she prepared Sepankizhangu Varuval which is a festive side dish. But we have never had it with curd rice because we were cautioned  that  it would cause  throat irritation. Take care and enjoy !

Taro / Sepankizhangu - 1/2 Kg
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch
1. Thoroughly wash Taro, cover with water and boil till the skin loosens.
2. Drain, cool and peel.

3. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and  mix in sambar powder, salt and asafoetida evenly.

4. Heat oil in a kadai and gently slide a handful of the taro slices into the oil.
5. Turn  over using a perforated ladle and fry till the varuval becomes crisp and golden brown in colour.

Enjoy the yummy Sepankizhangu Varuval with your sambar rice and rasam rice.