Vegetarian Concoctions

March 15, 2007

Pudina pacchadi(Raita)

Filed under: Curd/Yogurt, Mint leaves, Salads and Raita, South Indian — Hema @ 2:02 pm

Simplicity is a virtue. Be it a human’s character or a food’s preparation. Exotic is good and fun for a change, but definitely not for keeps. A man could be a great fan of Aishwarya Rai, but isn’t the simple girl next door his true love?(unless, of course, the man happens to be Abhishek B ūüėÄ ) Likewise, eating out is fun. But, is not simple dal-chawal or thair samdam (curd rice) the ultimate comfort food?

A simple yet elegent companion for your favourite rice treat. That is the way I would like to introduce this pachaddi. No hard work, minimal cooking time, but unequalled satisfaction to the tongue. Looking to make a quick side dish to go with your meal? This is it! So friends, keep it simple, keep it sweet and before I start sounding too much like Sandra Lee and you think I am making something semi-homemade, here goes:

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Mint leaves – a bunch

Curd – 3 cups

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Udad dal – 1 tsp

Hing – a pinch

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Chop up the mint leaves coarsely. Heat up some oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the udad dal and hing. After the dal browns up, add the mint leaves and cook for a minute. Add the curd and salt after it cools down. Now, simply serve it with rice or paratha.

January 22, 2007

Pudina (Mint leaves) Vatral kuzhambu

Filed under: Indian, Main meals, Mint leaves, Tamilnadu — Hema @ 3:17 pm

Vatral kuzhambu or more commonly called vetha kuzhambu is a sambhar-like¬†preparation made¬†without the use of any cooked dal. It is a spicy concoction made with lots of tamarind, typically¬†one vegetable and of course some spices. Though traditionally, dried vegetables (vatral) like sundakkai and manathakalikkai were used to make this kuzhambu (hence its name), baby onions, egg plant, potatoes, carrot, radish¬†or any other fresh vegetable or even ¬†a combination of vegetables can be used. Venkaya (baby onion) vethakozhambu happens to be my and almost everyone else’s favourite. Pudina (mint leaves)¬†and vendiyam (methi/fenugreek leaves) come a close second for me.

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Here’s what you need:

Mint leaves – A big bunch

Tamarind – 1/2 cup thick extract

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Sambhar pwd – 3 tbsp

For tempering:

Sesame oil – 2 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Hing – 1/3 tsp

Red chillies – 2-3 nos

Tur dal – 3 tsp

Chana dal – 2 tsp

Methi/ fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp

Curry leaves – about 10

Salt to taste.

Always use sesame oil for vethakuzhambu. It just tastes a whole lot better. Heat up the oil. Add Mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the dals, red chillies, methi and the hing. [The block hing (the one sold as a block-not the powdered one) tastes better. Powder it coarsely before adding it to the oil.] Once the dals turn brown, add the curry leaves and the sambhar pwd. Saute for just about 5 seconds and add the mint leaves. Saute for a minute or so till the mint leaves turn dark green and reduce in volume. Add the turmeric,tamarind extract and salt. Tamarind concentrate does not taste as good in this recipe. Add some water and let this boil up for about 15-20 minutes. Add more water later if needed. If the kuzhambu gets very watery, just dissolve some rice pwd in water and add the paste. Boil until it thickens up to the required consistency.

Vethakuzhambu easily keeps for about 15 days in the refrigerator. In fact it tastes even better as it gets older. So, make sure you have made enough to last at least a couple days! Mix it with rice and a drizzle of sesame oil or eat it with curd rice Рbut eat with your hand and not the spoon, for, the hand smells divine long after the meal is digested.

 

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