Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bassaru Palya - Broth and Dry Vegetable Curry

Long long before the food manufacturing companies started coming out with Vegetable Stock Cubes, the farmers of Karnataka have been using fresh vegetable and lentil stock to prepare a deliciously spicy broth to eat with their staple - Ragi Muddae. The traditional Ragi  Muddae, Bassaru,  Palya meal is a highly nutritious combo evolved out of their inherent knowledge of nutrition. Bassaru or Basida Saru gets its name from the Kannada words 'Basida' meaning strained and 'Saru' meaning broth. The stock of greens, lentils and vegetables are used to prepare the broth, while the cooked and drained vegetable lentil mixture is seasoned into a Palya ( dry curry). Bassaru Palya can be prepared using any vegetable, lentil and greens of your choice.

Spinach / Palak - 2 bunches ( Chopped )
Carrots - 2 ( Peeled and chopped)
Green gram dal / Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric - 1 pinch
1. Cook chopped carrots, spinach and dal in a pot of water adding a pinch of turmeric.

2. Remove from flame before they become mushy and drain them using a colander.

3. Keep the Stock aside.
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Black gram dal /Urad dal- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chilly - 1 ( broken)
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - 1/4 tsp

1. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
2. Add black gram dal and stir till it becomes golden in colour.
3. Add asafoetida, broken red chilly, curry leaves followed by the cooked vegetables.
4. Add salt and saute the Palya till dry.
Garnish with coconut gratings if desired.
Baby onions - about 8 or 10 ( Peeled)
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
Tomatoes - 4 ( chopped)
Salt - 1 tsp
Tamarind - a small marble size ball
Garlic - 6 cloves ( Peeled )
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal / Chana dal - 1 tsp
Black gram dal / Urad dal - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds / dania - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Red chillies ( Byadagi) broken - 4
Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp
1. Heat oil in a pan and fry the cinnamon.
2. Add all the other ingredients and roast till they turn crisp and golden in colour.
3. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till they are soft and allow it to cool down.

4. Grind all the roasted ingredients and cooked tomatoes with tamarind, garlic and coconut gratings into a smooth paste.
1. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
2. Add curry leaves followed by baby onions and cook till the onions become glassy.
3. Add the STOCK and salt and bring it to a boil.

4. Finally blend the ground paste and cook till the BASSARU starts emanating a very pleasant aroma.

Enjoy Bassaru and Palya with Ragi Muddae .

Bassaru goes well with steaming hot rice, dosas and idlies too.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sodhi Kuzhambu - Vegetables Stewed in Coconut Milk

 Sambar is an every day Kuzhambu served with rice in almost all South Indian homes. Numerous other varieties of Kuzhambus are prepared on special occasions or on week ends for a welcome change. While Sambar is based mainly on tamarind and spice, other Kuzhambus based on tomatoes, yogurt and coconut milk are equally delicious. Sodhi is one such traditional festive Kuzhambu which is a regional specialty of Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu. Vegetables are stewed in fresh coconut milk to make a rich and flavoursome Sodhi Kuzhambu. Sometimes a scoop of mashed dal is added to thicken the milky Sodhi. I pressure cooked the vegetables with coconut milk for easy and fast cooking .

Carrots - 2
Green Beans  - a fistful
Drumsticks - 2
Potatoes - 2
( Washed, peeled and chopped into one to one and a half inch long pieces )
Coconut oil or Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Green chillies -2 ( Slit )
Fresh ginger - 1 inch ( Peeled and chopped )
Baby onions ( Optional ) - 8 ( Peeled)
Curry leaves - a few
Green gram dal - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 2 pinches
Garlic (Optional ) - 2 or 3 cloves ( Peeled )
Salt - 1 tsp
Juice of one lime
1. Soak 2 cups of grated coconut in one cup of warm water for about fifteen minutes .
2. Grind the soaked coconut gratings into a fine paste, squeeze the paste to extract milk using a strainer and keep the thick milk aside.
3. Add another cup of water to the squeezed out coconut, grind and extract the second milk. Repeat the procedure and extract milk for the third time.
4. Wash the green gram dal and add 1 cup of water, peeled garlic cloves and one pinch of turmeric powder. Set the vessel in a pressure cooker.
5. Take the chopped vegetables in another cooker vessel and add the second and third extract of coconut milk and a pinch of turmeric powder. Place it on top of the dal vessel.

6. Pressure cook until it gives out three whistles and switch off flame.
7. Heat oil in a kadai , add cumin seeds and cinnamon.
8. Stir in slit green chillies, chopped ginger, curry leaves followed by baby onions.


9. When the onions turn glassy add the pressure cooked vegetables.                                                   

10. Mash the pressure cooked dal and add only one scoop to the kuzhambu.

11. Add salt and cook until the dal and vegetables blend together.
12. Mix 1/2 tsp of rice flour to the first coconut milk and add it to the Kuzhambu.( This is just a precaution to prevent the milk from curdling)

13. Switch off flame when the Sodhi Kuzhambu is about to boil.

Blend in  the juice of lime and enjoy the flavoursome SODHI KUZHAMBU with steaming hot rice.
It tastes delicious with Idiyaapam , Dosas, and Parotas too.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Killiya Milagai Sambar - A Sambar without Sambar Powder

We enjoy our visits to our native village for its rustic and serene atmosphere. The authentic food served lovingly by Rukmini is another major attraction. A mere thought of her Chettinadu Takkali Rasam, Kuzhal Puttu, Pachai Poondu Takkali Chutney, Vegetable Biriani, Vadais, Paniyarams, Bajjis and super soft Idlies is enough to transport us to an entire new world filled with the aromas of a traditional South Indian rural kitchen. Rukmini's special Sambar is a flavoursome blend of local vegetables and dal seasoned with Killiya Milagai ( Broken Chillies ).
Her  plating ( Or leafing? ) was very simple.
A flavoursome Sambar prepared with drumsticks, baby onions and tomatoes was virtually poured over fluffy and light Idlies on a shimmering banana leaf, with delicious Vadais and coconut chutney served on the side.

The secret ingredient she did not use while preparing the slurp worthy Sambar was -Sambar Powder!

Tur Dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - a cherry size ball
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chillies - 3 ( Broken)
Green chillies - 2 ( Slit )
Curry leaves - a few
Baby onions ( Peeled ) - 1/4 cup
Capsicum / Eggplant ( Chopped ) - 1/4 cup
Potatoes ( Peeled and chopped ) - 1/4 cup
Tomatoes ( Chopped ) - 1/4 cup
1. Pressure cook dal with turmeric powder and 2 cups of water.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water, extract juice and keep it aside.
3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed kadai, splutter mustard seeds followed by fenugreek seeds.
4. Add broken red chillies, asafoetida, slit green chillies and curry leaves one by one. Increase the number of chillies if you prefer a more spicy Sambar.
5. Stir the seasoning and add baby onions.
6. When the onions turn glassy add capsicum / eggplant (Locally known as Vari kattirikai) and potatoes and saute till they are cooked.
7. Add tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes.


8. Stir in the tamarind juice, salt and the cooked and mashed dal. Add a cup of water if the Sambar is too thick.

9. Cook the Killiya Milagai Sambar for another five minutes till the flavours blend together.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and enjoy the Killiya Milagai Sambar with Idlies and Dosas. This Sambar without Sambar Powder can also be relished with steaming hot rice.