Thursday, December 24, 2009

Iyengar curries

One Page Cookbooks
Iyengar Curries

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1.: Iyngaya Podi (5 dried stuff powder) Heat a pan. Add a spoon of coriander seeds, half a spoon each of dried neem flower, dried turkey berry ( sundaikkai), black pepper corns, cumin and three pinches of salt.. Stir and roast for two minutes. Let cool. Blend to a powder.

Iyengars are a 1000 year old sect of the 4000 year old Tamil Brahmins. Iyengars believe Vishnu to be the supreme lord and the path leading to Him is the one revealed by the teacher (Acharya) Ramanuja.
History: During 500- 1000 AD, Hinduism was in decline, partly due to the spread of Buddhism / Jainism and partly due to caste oppression and elaborate ritualism. In response, Bhakti & Vedanta movements arose in the South and spread across India, revitalizing Hinduism. Bhakti movement was spearheaded by common people from all walks of life – the 63 Nayanmars and 12 Alwars. They proposed absolute love for God as the path to salvation. The Vedanta movement was led by the philosophies of Brahmin intellectuals - Adi Sankara’s (788-820) Advaita, Ramanuja’s ( 1077-1157) Vishishtadvaita and Madhwa’s ( 1238 – 1317) Dvaita.

Both movements deemphasized the cornerstones of vedic Brahmanism - caste system, Brahmin supremacy, rituals and sacrifices. The Bhakti and Vedanta movements came together under Nathamuni, a vedanta philosopher, who collected the poems of Alwars into the Divya Prabandham. His grandson Yamunacharya became the guru of Ramanuja, whose philosophy led to the emergence of a new class – the Iyengars. Tamil with a liberal sprinkling of words from Alwar poems became their language (Vaishnava paribhashai). Iyengars soon split into Vadakalai (influenced by Vedanta movement) and Thenkalai (influenced by the Bhakti movement). Persecution by the Shaivaite Chola king probably caused Ramanuja to migrate with his followers to Karnataka. Their descendants later became the Hebbar and Mandyam Iyengars.

Iyengar Cuisine is rooted in Tamil Brahmin cuisine. Onions, garlic or spices like fennel, cinnamon, cloves, are frowned upon. Iyengars believe the kitchen is sacred and what gets cooked there is ambrosia, suffixing many dishes with amudhu (ambrosia). Entry to Iyengar kitchen is restricted and many Iyengars still do not eat food prepared in other kitchens.The Hebbar / Mandyam Iyengar language, culture and cuisine evolved under the Kannada influence. Many of their recipes are morphed versions of Tamil recipes like Chatumbdh (sattamudhu) , Karimbdh ( Kari amudhu), Kolamb ( Kulambu) etc.


Shopping List :

10 gms : Long pepper root & fruit ( thippili)

50 gms: Coriander seeds, Dried neem flower, dried turkey berry, pepper, cumin, salt

Ghee, mustarrd, curry leaves,turmeric, dry red chili, green chili, asafetida, peanuts, chana dal, urad dal, roasted gram, jaggery

250 gms: Tuvar dal, Yogurt, Tamarind paste, Eggplant, beans, raw papaya

One each - Coconut, lemon & potato

2.: Kandanthipili Saar Amudhu (Long pepper soup) Heat a pan. Add a finger length stick of Kandan thipili, a pinch each of arisi thippili, black peppercorns & cumin. Stir and roast for a minute. Crush to a powder. Heat a spoon of ghee. Add a pinch of mustard, cumin and two curry leaves. Mix half a spoon of tamarind paste in a cup (200 ml) of water and add to pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the ground powder, a pinch of turmeric and simmer for a minute. A rare recipes using Long pepper (Piper longum / Pipli: Sanskrit,Hindi/ Thippili : Tamil) Kandan Thipili - Dried long pepper root, Arisi thippili - Dried long pepper fruit.

3.: Kathirikkai Gotsu (Eggplant sour mash) Take a fist sized eggplant. Smear all over with oil, hold by stem and roast over a medium flame till skin blackens and chars all over. Let cool, peel skin & mash flesh. Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, asafetida, 2 curry leaves and a dry red chili. Mix half a spoon of tamarind paste in half a cup (100 ml) of water. Add to pan. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and two pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in mashed eggplant and simmer for 2 minutes.(Gotsu is probably the Kannadiga Gojju)

4.: Pacha Kootu (Veggie - lentil stew) Heat a spoon of ghee. Add two pinches of mustard, 2 curry leaves and a pinch of asafetida. Add a handful of boiled mixed native vegetables and half a cup of water. Blend four pinches of coriander seeds, a pinch of mustard, two red chilies and three pinches of salt to a powder. Mix in a handful of boiled tuvar dal. Add to pan. Simmer for 2 minutes. ( Hebbar Iyengar Recipe)

5.: More Kulambu (Yogurt stew) Soak three pinches of of tuvar dal in water for an hour. Drain. Heat a spoon of oil. Add three pinches each of coriander seeds, chana dal, two pinches of fenugreek, a dry red chili and half a handful of grated coconut. Stir and fry for a minute. Blend to a paste with the soaked tuvar dal. Take half a cup of yogurt. Mix with half a cup of water. Add a handful of a chopped and boiled vegetable. Heat half a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard and two curry leaves. Add the yogurt and the blended paste. Cook for 5 minutes on medium flame.

6.: Vepampoo vatral (Fried neemflower) Take two handfuls of neem flower. Mix in the juice of a lemon and two pinches of salt. Let soak overnight. Keep in sun for 3 -5 days till it is completely dry. Fry a few pinches of dried flower in a spoon of ghee and eat mixed with hot cooked rice.

7.:. Puli Kaichal (Thick Tamarind stew) Take half a cup of tamarind, tightly packed. Let soak in one and a half cups of water. Dissolve well and filter out solids. Heat half a cup of oil. Add four pinches of mustard, ½ handful peanuts, chana dal, urad dal, torn dry red chilies and three pinches of asafetida. Stir and fry on medium flame till the dals turn golden. Mix in the tamarind pulp and simmer for around 10 - 15 minutes till pulp is thick.

8.:. Potato Thayir Pachadi (Potato in spiced yogurt) Take half a handful of coconut. Blend to a paste with a green chili, a spoon of water and three pinches of salt. Mix in half a handful of boiled and mashed potato. Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard and asafetida. Mix in and serve. (Can use grilled eggplant, stir fried okra/snake gourd/ boiled and mashed gooseberries, etc)

9.: Paruppu Usili Kariamudhu (Vegetables with mashed, spiced lentils) Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, asafetida and a handful of chopped and boiled beans. Add two pinches of salt & a pinch of turmeric powder. Soak half a handful each of tuvar dal and chana dal in a cup of water for 2 hours. Drain and blend to a coarse paste with two red chilies, two pinches of salt and a pinch of asafetida. Add to pan. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. ( Can use cluster beans, banana flower, snake gourd, fenugreek leaves etc). A must in Brahmin marriages.

10.: Kadagpuli (Mustard – Tamarind Curry) Take half a handful of chopped coconut, a pinch of turmeric powder, asafetida, three pinches of mustard, 2 dry red chilies and half a handful of roasted gram ( pottu kadalai). Blend to a thick paste with a bit of water. Mix half a spoon of tamarind paste, a pinch of jiggery/ sugar and three pinches of salt in a cup of water. Bring to a boil. Add a handful of chopped and boiled raw papaya. Add the ground paste and simmer for two minutes. ( Can also use boiled eggplant, cabbage, chow chow , cucumber, beetroot etc). (Hebber Recipe)

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