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Pagarkai KaaraKozhambu – Kaakarkaya Kaaram Pulusu – Bitter Gourd Spicy Curry

Pagarkai Kaara Kozhambu - Kaakarkaya Kaaram Pulusu - Bitter Gourd Spicy Curry
My husband is a fan of bitter Gourd and I try to make it in as many ways as possible, from slow frying to stuffing and everything in between. My favorite is a gravy recipe which is tangy, spicy and masks the bitterness.

I love the Kaarakozhambu my mom makes and though I haven’t reached her level of perfection, I have done my best. In the usual recipe, coconut milk or ground poppy seeds are added for thickness. I added almonds for thickness, in an attempt to cut down the unwanted cholesterol and my tastebuds did not complain!

Whenever I make bittergourd, I cut it up, add lots of salt and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After that, I rinse it with lots of water. This way, some of the bitterness is lost.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Bitter Gourd – 2
Onion – 3/4 of a big onion
Tomato – 1 big
Garlic Flakes – 4 big ones
Tamarind – A big lemon sized ball

Sugar/Jaggery/Brown Sugar – A pinch or two

Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds – A pinch
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves – 6

Turmeric – A pinch
Chilli Powder – 3 to 4 Teaspoons
Dhaniya Powder – 2 to 3 Teaspoons
Blanched Almonds – 6

Soak tamarind in a little water and extract the juice.

Grind Onion, Tomato, Garlic and Almonds coarsely. Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard seeds, jeera and urad dal. After the mustard seeds splutter, add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Take care not to brown the fenugreek seeds. Add the ground onion – tomato mixture and cook till the raw smell disappears. Add the bitter gourd pieces, salt, turmeric, chilli powder and dhaniya powder. Cook till the bitter gourd is done. Add the tamarind extract, sugar and cook till the gravy reaches a thick consistency. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander.

There is another variation to this dish which is as follows:

1. Grind almonds to a fine paste with a little water.
2. Finely dice onion + tomato and crush the garlic.
3. After the seasoning, saute onion + tomato till the tomato breaks down.
4. Add bitter groud + garlic + Salt + Dhaniya Powder + Chilli Powder and saute for a couple of minutes more.
5. Add the almond paste, tamarind extract, sugar and enough water to cook the bitter gourd.
6. Simmer till the curry reaches gravy consistency.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander.

This is my entry to the Curry Mela hosted by Anthony of Anthony’s Kitchen.

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MulaiKeerai Kadaiyal – Amaranth Curry

Amaranth Leaves - MulaiKeerai - Thotakoora
I found this greens at an Indian store last week and was I thrilled! One of the things I miss about my hometown is the wide variety of greens we could use, right from SiruKeerai, Ponnanganni Keerai, Agathi Keerai….The list is long and I could go on and on…I know those greens only by their Tamil names…

Oh, I forgot to name those green beauties I found. They are Amaranth leaves or MulaiKeerai or ThotaKoora.

My mom makes MulaiKeerai in a different way, without using dal. I grew up to like it a lot, though it might be a little bland to some palates.

Amaranth Leaves Curry

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Amaranth Leaves – About 2 to 2.5 cups

Water – 1 Cup

Turmeric – A pinch

Salt – As per taste
Seasoning:
Garlic Flakes – 3 big ones
Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Dry Red Chilli – 4
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon
Jeera – 1/2 Teaspoon
Oil – 2 Teaspoons

Chop Amaranth leaves and cook them in water, with a pinch of turmeric. Use a masher or a blender and blend till coarse. Add salt as per taste.

Crush garlic flakes and break dry red chillies into small pieces.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, jeera, urad dal, red chillies and garlic flakes. After the mustard seeds splutter and the garlic flakes turn light brown, add it to the amaranth leaves and serve.

This curry can be used with rice or rotis.
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Black Eyed Beans Rasam – Alsandhalu Rasam – Karamani Rasam

Black-Eyed Beans Rasam - Alsandhalu Rasam - Karamani Rasam
After a nearly two week hiatus, I am back again with a simple yet different recipe. I made rasam with a twist. The original recipe is of Mysore Rasam. But instead of toor dal, I added black-eyed beans (Alsandhalu/ Karamani). Sounds eccentric? But it tastes good…and it is a relief from the soaring dal prices…Let me get to the recipe:

Recipe:

Ingredients:

For Powder:

Toor Dal – 2 Teaspoons
Channa Dal – 2 Teaspoons
Black Pepper – 1/4 Teaspoon
Coriander Seeds – 2 Teaspoons
Dry Red Chilli – 1
Dry Coconut – 1 Teaspoon

Tomato – 2 Medium ones
Water – 4 Cups

Boiled Black-eyed Beans – 3 Tablespoons
Turmeric – A pinch

Salt – As per taste
Seasoning:
Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves – 6 to 7
Oil – 2 Teaspoons

For Garnishing:
Coriander (Chopped) – 1 Tablespoon

Soak black-eyed beans for about 6 hours and pressure cook till very soft. Mash and keep aside. Chop tomatoes into little cubes, add 4 cups of water, a pinch of turmeric and cook till done. Roast all the ingredients one by one, except coconut under the For Powder section and grind to a fine powder.

Add 3 tablespoons of the mashed beans to the cooked tomatoes and add the powder. Add salt to taste and cook for 5 more minutes. Heat oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. After they splutter, add it to the rasam and serve.

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Wheat Rawa Vegetable Medley

Wheat Rawa Medley

I made this concotion yesterday for our dinner. Most of the time, our dinner is very light, consisting of traditional Indian breakfast recipes. Yesterday, I tried a different recipe with wheat rawa other than the usual upma, which resembles bisibela bath to some extent. Here is the recipe.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Wheat Rawa/Cracked Wheat – 2 cups
Carrots – 3
Beans – 3/4 Cup chopped
Potatoes – 1 Medium
Onion – 1/2 of a big onion
Tomato – 1 Medium
Ginger – 1 inch piece – Crushed

Turmeric – A pinch
Chilli Powder – 2 Teaspoons
Sambar Powder – 3 Teaspoons
Amchur Powder (Mango Powder) – 1 Teaspoon

Seasoning:

Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves – 5
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cloves – 2

Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Water – 6 Cups

Chop all the vegetables.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. After they splutter, add jeera, urad dal, cinnamon, cloves and curry leaves. Add onions and ginger and fry till light brown. Add tomatoes next. Fry till light brown. Add the vegetables, a pinch of turmeric, chilli powder and fry again. Add 6 cups of water and salt and bring it to a boil.

Add the wheat rawa and keep stirring to prevent lumps. Let it simmer till cooked. Add more water if the consistency is too thick for your taste. Add sambar powder and amchur powder, stir and cook for a minute more and remove from heat. Garnish with coriander leaves. Add amchur powder only if the tomatoes are not sour enough.

Roasted Channa Dal Chutney:

Roasted Channa Dal (Pottukadalai/ Putnala Pappu) – 3/4 cup
Green Chillies – 3
Tamarind – A gooseberry sizd ball
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon

Grind all the ingredients together with a little water. Season with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Serve the wheat rawa medley with the chutney.
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Appala Kozhambu – Papad Curry

Appala Kozhambu

Yet another entry for IDFP…celebrating our country’s pride…This recipe reminds me of Madras. The quaint old city where ancient traditions rub shoulder with modern landscape. Madras has a magic of its own, with its beautiful beaches, numerous temples, conservative outlook, lively people, the much notorious ‘Madras Bashai’ and the omnipresent heat and humidity. Madras is very dear to me, has a special place in my heart and has been a part of me starting from my parents..

My dear aunt Kanchana (mom’s sister) lives in Madras and her home has been my holiday getaway, as far as my memory goes. The shopping sprees, walks down the beaches and the hilarious situations arising when four girls get together on a busy Ranganathan street evoke peels of laughter even now.

Ah…good old Madras…This post isn’t enough to talk of its granduer. I will save it for another day.

The recipe which I made today is Appala Kozhambu.. A unique blend of appalams (Urad dal wafers) and channa dal. To the recipe now..

Recipe Source: My Mom

Ingredients:

Appalams – 6
Onion – 1/2 of a big onion
Tomato – 1 big
Garlic – 3 to 4 big flakes
Ginger – 1 inch piece

Channa dal – 3 fistfuls
Mustard seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon
Saunf – 1/2 Teaspoon
Chilli Powder – 2 Teaspoons
Dhaniya Powder – 2 Teaspoons
Turmeric – A pinch
Salt – As per taste

Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Soak channa dal in water for some time and pressure cook till soft. Fry appalams and keep aside. Chop onion and tomato to small cubes. Crush garlic and ginger.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, urad dal, saunf and curry leaves. After the mustard seeds splutter, add onion, ginger and garlic. Fry till light brown. Add tomato, chilli powder, turmeric, dhaniya powder and salt. Fry till the tomato is almost cooked. Add the channa dal and cook on a medium heat till a semi liquid consistency is reached. Break each appalam into 3 or 4 pieces and add to the curry. Simmer on a low heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
Dosakaya · Shrimp

Dried Shrimp And Dosakaya Curry – Dosakaya Endu Royilu Koora

Dried Shrimp with Dosakaya

As I was pondering on a suitable entry for the Independence Day Food Parade, conducted by Indira of Mahanandi, my hubby mentioned a recipe from his hometown in coastal Andhra Pradesh – Dried Shrimp with Dosakaya or Dosakaya Endu Royilu Koora.

Well, I made it and it was our Sunday lunch. We got dried shrimp from a Chinese food market and dosakaya (a kind of cucumber) from an Indian Store. It’s a pretty simple recipe, without a lot of aromatic ingredients, except jeera and mustard seeds. The shrimp blends well with the dosakaya and makes a delightful curry.

So, here it is..one of my entries to our Independence Day Food Parade…

Recipe:

Recipe Source: My Mom-In-Law

Ingredients:

Dried Shrimp – 2 Tablespoons
Dosakaya – 1

Onion – 1/4 of a big onion
Tomato – 1 big
Chilli Powder – 2 Teaspoons
Turmeric – a Pinch
Salt – As per taste

Oil – 1 to 2 Tablespoons

Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon
Urad Dal – 1 Teaspoon

Curry Leaves – 5

Coriander – 1 Tablespoon chopped

Soak dried shrimp in hot water for 30 minutes. This suppresses the odour to a very large extent. Dice the onion and tomato. Peel the dosakaya, remove the seeds if they are tough and cube. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. After they splutter, add jeera, urad dal and curry leaves and fry till light brown. Add onion and fry till light brown. Add tomato, salt and turmeric. Fry for some time. Add dried shrimp, dosakaya and chilli powder and fry for some time. Add about 3 cups of water and cook on medium heat till done. Remove from heat, garnish with coriander and serve. The amount of water will vary depending on the dosakaya.

This recipe is for seafood lovers. As all seafood, shrimp has a distinct odour and dried shrimps have a much stronger scent. So, use it at your own discretion. 🙂

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Pachi Pulusu – Raw Rasam

Pachi Pulusu

This is a traditional Andhra recipe from my hubby’s hometown. I first had a taste of this recipe after marriage and the tanginess of the tamarind, the heat of the chillies and the crispiness of the onions bowled me over. It’s very simple to prepare, it took me hardly 10 minutes to put it together. It can be had with rice or by itself as a soup or rasam.

Recipe:

Recipe Source: My Mom-in-law
Ingredients:

Tamarind – 1 big lemon sized ball
Onion – 1/2 of a big one – Finely Chopped
Green Chillies – 2 Split
Jaggery/ Sugar – A pinch
Dry Red Chillies – 2

Seasoning:

Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves – 5 – 6
Jeera – 1 Teaspoon

Oil – 2 Teaspoons

Fry dry red chillies in a little bit of oil and grind to a fine powder.

Soak tamarind in 3 cups of water along with salt. Extract the juice and discard the pulp. Add the onions, green chillies and the ground chilli powder to the tamarind juice.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds. After they splutter, add jeera and curry leaves. Pour this seasoning over the tamarind mixture. Add a pinch of jaggery. Let it stand for 30 minutes before serving.