Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kerala-Style Sambar

I used to always wonder how sambar tasted so different in every state of south India, until i got to know people from these cultures. The sambar recipe I have here was learnt from my friend's Keralite room mate who had invited us for dinner one day and had it in her menu. It is amazing how we can add or omit one or two spices in the very same basic recipe to give it a totally different taste. Kerala sambar has a very distinct aroma and taste and we all love it at our place. My little one in particular, takes an extra helping whenever I make it. Do try it out and give your comments.

Time Taken: About 30 minutes

Serves about 4 people.

Ingredients Used:
4-5 handfuls of Tuvar/Toor Dal
1 large tomato
One handful each of beans, carrot, tindora, drumstick pieces or
any other vegetable you would like to add.
One potato
2-3 tsp of oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
a pinch of hing/asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilly powder
2 1/2 tsp sambar powder
Tamarind(about 2/3 rd the size of a small lemon)
3-4 sambar onions(when not present, use 1 medium sized normal onion)
A handful of chopped coriander leaves.
Salt to taste.

Method of Preparation:

Take about a tumbler full of water and pour it into a pressure cooker. Place it on a heated stove and place a cooker vessel containing washed tuvar dal and chopped tomatoes into it. With the whistle on, cook to about 2-3 whistles on medium high flame.In the meanwhile, chop whatever veggies you have into medium sized pieces and keep aside.
Next, in a cooking pot, warm oil and sputter mustard seeds along with curry leaves. Add hing, turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and sambar powder. Mix with a ladle for about a minute. To this, add all the washed and cut veggies and cook until it is almost done using half to one bowl of water and covering the lid of the pot.
Add a little salt now so that the veggies take up salt as well as masala.While you are waiting for the veggies to cook and dal to cool, chop sambar onions finely and fry it in a kadai till it turns golden brown, using very little oil.

Mash tomatoes in the cooked dal and pour it into the cooking pot having the veggies. Add more water and salt as per your
requirement and boil the veggies completely. Mix tamarind paste and boil for another minute. Remove from the stove and add the fried onion. Garnish with coriander leaves.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Methi Bhaajji

Methi bhaajji is one of the best things you could do with fenugreek leaves. Goes very well with Chapathis. My mom makes it very often at our place since it is not only an easy recipe but also very good for health. I remember that i used to hate methi as a kid because of its bitterness. Later, as years went by, aamma started using more onions and tomatoes in her original curry to reduce the wierd taste that methi leaves behind at the end of every bite(although most methi lovers like it for that very reason). Ever since, i've loved this dish too. Try it if you don't like methi and you'll know what i mean.

Ingredients Used:

1 big bunch of methi/fenugreek leaves
4 medium or 2 very large onions
3 tomatoes
1/8th tsp pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2-3 tsp refined oil
Salt to taste.

Serves about 2-3 people.

Time Taken: 20-25 minutes.

Method of Preparation:

Cut onions finely and put them into a heated kadai/cooking pan with oil in it. Stir fry till the onions turn pinkish in colour. Now, add turmeric powder and red chilly powder. Then, toss in finely diced tomatoes. Cook for a minute or two. In the meanwhile, wash methi leaves thoroughly and chop it on a cutting board(need not be fine). Add salt, Mix this well in the masala prepared. Using very little water and closing the lid of the pan, cook it on medium flame until done, ensuring that the curry doesn't have any water, for, that would make it gross in terms of appearance and taste. Serve hot with phulkas/chapatis.

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