Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pavakkai Gojju - Bitter Gourd in Sweet and Spicy Tamarind Gravy

A combination of Gojju and steaming hot rice topped with a spoon of ghee is one of the best finger-licking meals suitable for a cold day. Pavakkai/Bitter gourd activates the digestive juices resulting in good digestion. Ginger, chillies, sesame seeds and tamarind used in its preparation have heat generating properties which are important for improving metabolism and keeping the body warm. The spice, the tang and the sweetness of jaggery  help to camouflage the bitter taste of the healthy vegetable.

Bitter gourd/ Pavakkai - 2
Tamarind - 1 lemon size ball
Salt - 2 tsps
Sambar powder - 2 tsps
Jaggery ( powdered) - 2 tbsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Peanuts - 2 tbsps
Red chillies - 2 ( broken)
Green chillies - 2 (slit)
Fresh ginger - 1'' piece (chopped lengthwise)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Roasted and powdered sesame seeds - 2 tbsps
1. Wash and chop Pavakkai/ Bitter gourd into small pieces.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add fenugreek seeds and Bengal gram dal.
5. When the dal starts to turn golden in colour add the peanuts and stir till they crack.
6. Turn down the heat and add red chillies, followed by slit green chillies and ginger.
7. Add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves.
8. Stir the seasoning well, increase flame and add the chopped bitter gourd.

9. Stir fry for five minutes and then add the tamarind juice, salt, sambar powder and powdered jaggery.

10. Cover and cook on medium heat till the gojju becomes thick emanating a very pleasant aroma.
11. See that the vegetable is cooked and then add the roasted and powdered sesame seeds.

12. If you do not need a very thick gravy, make a paste with one teaspoon of rice flour and water and blend it into the gojju  while still watery as soon as the vegetable is done.
Enjoy the bitter- sweet, spicy - sour Pavakkai Gojju with rice or relish it with dosas or chapaties.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ellu Podi and Ellorai - Spicy Sesame Powder and Rice Mixed With Sesame Powder

Ellu or Sesame seeds provide heat and energy to the body and are a power house of nutrition according to Ayurveda. They are rich in calcium and zinc which are necessary to boost bone health. It is a custom to give Ellu Urundai/ Sesame Laddus to girls going through puberty.The calcium rich Ellu strengthens their bones and prevents osteoporosis. Ellu Podi or Sesame Powder savoured with a spoon of sesame oil tastes delicious with Idlies and Dosas.
Ellorai is a traditional dish which has been an offering to the deities at ancient temples since time immemorial. It is a delicious rice prepared by mixing the Ellu Podi with cooked rice. Enjoy the delicious heat generating foods prepared with Ellu/Sesame this winter.


Black Sesame seeds - 1 cup
Split black gram dal - 1 cup
Red chillies - 4
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
1. Roast split black gram dal, red chillies and asafoetida in 1/4 tsp of hot oil.
2. When the dal becomes light golden in colour emanating a very pleasant aroma add the black sesame seeds.
3. Switch off flame and keep stirring till the seeds pop in the hot pan.
4. Allow to cool and then blend the roasted ingredients together with salt into a slightly coarse powder. One or two swishes in the blender will be sufficient. Grinding for too long will extract oil from the sesame seeds.

Ellu Podi/ Sesame Seeds Powder is ready to use. Store the powder in a clean dry bottle after it cools down.
Cooked rice - 2 cups
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal - 1/4 tsp
Peanuts - 2 tbsps
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - 1/2 tsp
1. Fluff up the cooked rice in a wide mouthed vessel.
2. Heat one tbsp of oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds.
3. Add split black gram dal and peanuts and roast till the dal becomes golden in colour, and till the peanuts crack.
4. Add curry leaves and pour the seasoning over the fluffed up rice and mix well.
5. Add two tbsps of Ellu Podi, salt and the remaining oil and blend well with the rice. More Ellu Podi can be added according to taste.

Enjoy the nutritious and flavoursome Ellorai as it is or with a roasted Papad.