Monday, June 30, 2008

10 Simple Aviyals

Aviyals are easy – have a blender ready and you can turn them out by the dozen. Most Aviyals need not even be cooked. Just mix in boiled vegetables with the blended coconut – chili – yogurt mix and serve!

This cookbook lists 10 simple Aviyals. It is greatly simplified so that a first time cook can easily cook them. For detailed recipes and variations, check out the more detailed recipes from my fellow bloggers below.

1.: Easy Aviyal is simple. Blend coconut salt & chili, mix in yogurt and boiled vegetables – and your aviyal is ready.

2.: Pal Aviyal (Coconut milk Aviyal) replaces a part of coconut with coconut milk, making it more flavourful.

3.: Creamy Aviyal replaces a part of yogurt with sour cream, making it creamier.

4.: Thick Aviyal replaces yogurt with yogurt cheese, almost turning the Aviyal into a salad.

5.: Common Aviyal is what gets cooked most often in Kerala and Tamilnadu kitchens.

6.: Namboodiri Aviyal replaces chilies with pepper.

7.: Tomato Aviyal replaces a part of yogurt with sour tomatoes.

8.: Puli Aviyal (Tamarind Aviyal) replaces a part of yogurt with tamarind. (Or yogurt can be omitted totally).

9.:. Manga Aviyal (Mango Aviyal) replaces a part of yogurt with raw mango..

10.: Kalla Veetu Aviyal (Chettinad Aviyal) is Chettiar’s take on the Kerala dish, which uses cinnamon, cloves fennel and red chilies.

And that is my second submission for AFAM - coconut

10 Simple Andhra Recipes

This cookbook lists 10 simple Andhra curries. It is greatly simplified so that a first time cook can easily cook them. For more detailed recipes and variations, check out the more detailed recipes from my fellow bloggers below.

1.: Yogurt The best loved ‘ recipe’ is the yogurt. Yogurt mixed with cooked rice is consumed at the end of a meal across south India.

2.: Majjiga pulusu ( Buttermilk curry) is buttermilk mixed with a pinch of turmeric and salt and cooked briefly. There are uncooked versions which are not heated at all.

3.: Perugu Pachadi (Raw vegetable - Yogurt curry) is just vegetables mixed with yogurt. A variety of salad vegetables like onions, tomatoes, cucumber or boiled vegetables like potato, eggplant etc can be used.

4.: Kobbari Pachadi (Coconut – chili blended curry) Coconut blended with chili and salt is a much loved blended curry. Variants call for the addition of a bit of tamarind, onions, garlic clove , roasted peanuts or cooked gram (pottu kadalai / Bhuna chana) which are blended along with coconut.

5.: Kandi Podi (Lentil - chili powder) is just roasted tuvar dal blended to a powder with red chili and salt. A variety of pulses like urad dal / chana dal can be used in place of or in addition to tuvar dal to create a range of Podis.

Andhra loves tamarind so much that it is eaten raw. Pachhi means raw and it is only in Andhra will you see raw tamarind curries.

6.: Pachhi Charu (Raw tamarind thin curry) is just flavoured tamarind water.

7.: Vankaya Pachhi Pulusu is grilled and mashed eggplant mixed in with raw tamarind paste and spices.

8.: Vankaya Pulusu ( Eggplant Tamarind Stew) is eggplant cooked in tamarind sauce. A bit of jaggery / sugar is usually added to balance the sourness. A couple of pinches of rice flour mixed in with a spoon of water is mixed in and simmered to thicken the curry.

9.: Nimmakkaya Pappu Charu (Lentil stock – lemon curry) is a thin lentil curry mixed with lemon juice. As lemon juice turns bitter on cooking, it is mixed in after cooking. Instead of tuvar dal, mung dal / horse gram can also be used.

10.: Mamdikkaya Pappu (Mango- Lentil curry) is mango and lentils simmered together. Boiling chopped vegetables along with dal into a thick curry is a speciality of Andhra cuisine. Instead of mango, dosakkaki ( round cucumber, a speciality of Andhra), spinach or even young tamarind leaves are used.

Friday, June 20, 2008

10 Simple Konkani Recipes

The one page cookbooks give you basic, fool proof recipes, designed to be cooked by anyone in less than 30 minutes. For more detailed recipes and delightful variations , check out my fellow bloggers.

Bhinda Kadi (Raw Kokum Curry)
Fresh kokum / kokum syrup is not widely available outside Konkan region. Instead you can use dried kokum by soaking 3-4 peels it in water for half an hour. Fresh kokum gives the curry a delightful pink colour, whereas dried kokum gives an earthy brown colour.

Sola Kadi (Raw Kokum Curry with coconut milk) Replace half the water in the Bhinda Kadi above with coconut milk and you have the Sola Kadi. Coconut paste, garlic paste and green chilly paste can be mixed in with both Bhinda kadi and Sola Kadi.

Kosambir is a salad with soaked mung dal, mixed with salad vegetables and lemon juice. This is served as a prasad in many temples.

Airawat (Tamarind – Dates blended curry)
A must in wedding and religious functions, this blended curry is very easy to prepare.

Palak Upkari( Stir fried spinach with coconut)
A variety of boiled vegetables are mixed with grated coconut and stir fried into delicious Upkaris.

Kadgi Chakko : (Raw jack fruit curry)
Baby jackfruit is boiled and stir fried with a paste of coconut, red chili and tamarind.

Batata Song ( Potato cooked with chili- tamarind)
Potatoes are cooked in a roasted red chilies - coriander seeds and tamarind paste into a thick curry. Variations call for Mushrooms to be used in place of boiled potatoes.

Batate vaagu (Potato cooked in a chili - coconut - tomato base)
Here potatoes are cooked in a roasted red chili - coconut and tomato base.

Dali Thoye (Spiced lentil curry)
This spiced up Tuvar dal curry is much loved in the Konkan.

Avre Bendi ( Dry Beans in a chili - coconut - tamarind base)
Dried Avare (Navy Beans / Haricot beans / Val) is boiled and cooked in a roasted red chili, coconut and tamarind paste and flavoured with garlic. A wide variety of dried pulses can be used in this curry. Served with plain steamed rice, this is an important dish in Konkani weddings.

Each cuisine focuses on certain combinations, cooking techniques and uses unique goodies which can be applied universally, across cuisines. Here’s what I learnt from Konkani cuisine.

Raw coconut oil can be used as a flavouring agent. (Try using in place of oilve oil in Italian recipes or as a salad dressing )

Hot charcoal can be used as a flavouring agent to impart a smoky flavour. ( The same technique is also used in Awadhi cuisine)

Combinations of red chilies, tamarind, coconut can form the base for a wide variety of curries

Roasted red chilies taste much better than plain ones.

Boiled jack fruit can be used as a vegetable.

Tamarind dates - chili blend can be used a curry, dip or a spread. ( try as a dip for salads / as a spread on pizza)

Soaked mung dal can be used in salads.( Use in a variety of salads for a fresh crunchy texture)

Fresh / dry kokum can be used as a souring agent ( Try using in Kulambu / Sambar )

Kokum can be used to prepare chilled beverages very much like lemonades. (try using in cocktails)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

10 Simple Kerala Recipes

In Kerala, we see variety of curries built on yogurt, coconut and lentils. All these are eaten mixed with cooked rice. Unlike other south Indian states, onions / tomato /tamarind are not widely used.

Some of the popular recipes are listed below :

Inchithairu (ginger-curd) is yogurt spiced up with ginger and green chilies.

Yogurt is blended with a variety of pickles / boiled vegetables to make the Arachu Kalakki.

Coconut oil is used as a dressing, as a flavouring agent and as a cooking medium. Here, plain boiled vegetables are mixed with coconut oil and served as the Mezhku Peratti.

Molagu Vellam
– Buttermilk is spiced up with pepper, turmeric and simmered to make the Molagu Vellam.

Yogurt is blended with coconut, green chili and cumin and mixed with a medley of boiled vegetables to make the Aviyal (Coconut - chili - yogurt curry). Versions of Aviyal which use tamarind / mango in place of yogurt also exist. Aviyals taste delicious even when uncooked.

A variety of vegetables (typically ash gourd and black eyed beans) are simmered in a thin coconut milk curry into an Olan.

Yogurt is blended with coconut, green chili cumin and fenugreek to make the spicy Moru Kootan (Coconut - Yogurt Curry).

A variety of vegetables are simmered in a coconut – cumin paste into the Erissery.

Parippu ( Plain Lentils) Plain Mung dal ./ Tuvar dal is boiled with a pinch of turmeric and eaten mixed with cooked rice and ghee at the start of a meal.

Mulagootal (Lentil - coconut curry) Coconut and tuvar dal are spiced and boiled together with a variety of vegetables (Cabbage, potatoes, green peas, spinach).

Monday, June 16, 2008

10 Traditional Tamilnadu recipes

10 Traditional Tamilnadu recipes

The one page cookbooks give you the basic recipes, designed to be cooked by anyone in under 30 minutes. For more detailed recipes and variations of the recipes, check out my fellow bloggers below..

1.: Yogurt
I’d easily rate the simple yogurt as the tastiest ‘recipe’ of them all.

2.: Thayir Pachadi (Raw Yogurt curry)
One of the easiest and fool proof recipes.

3.: Thenga Thogayal ( Blended Coconut- Tamarind curry)
If you can operate a blender, you won’t go wrong with this one.

4.: Paruppu Podi (Spiced Lentil powder)
Contrary to popular belief, Paruppu podi can be prepared from just one kind of lentil. Any roasted lentil or any mix of roasted lentils blended with red chili and salt tastes delicious.

5.: Kootu (Coconut - cumin –chili curry)
Note that a kootu need not always have boiled pulses in it. A thick Kootu doubles as a Poriyal ( dry vegetable curry)

6.: More Kulambu ( Buttermilk curry).
Apart from the blend of coconut-cumin and chili with yogurt, other versions call for a variety of soaked lentils, rice, dhania, garlic etc to be blended together and mixed in with yogurt. Though not common, a more kulambu is perfectly edible even when uncooked.

7.: Tomato Rasam ( Thin curry)
A rasam need not always have lentils/tamarind in it. Here, the sourness comes from tomatoes. You can replace the sambar powder in this recipe with a pinch each of coriander powder, pepper powder and cumin powder.

8.: Kulambu (Sour Curry).
Though the recipe above calls for boiled vegetables, stir fried vegetables taste even better in a kulambu.

9.:. Paruppu (Boiled Lentils)
A paruppu needs no flavouring, though
spicy versions exist.

10.: Sambar (Lentil- sour curry)
It took me quite a while to realise all that differentiates a kulambu from sambar is the addition of boiled dal.

Once you master these basic recipes, you can easily cook up scores of variations. Look in the archives of this blog for thousands of sambars, kulambus, rasams, kootu etc.,

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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