Monday, January 04, 2010

Building blocks of Indian Curries - The base

One Page Cookbooks
Building blocks of Indian Curries (1 of 3) – The Base

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1.: Raw Yogurt Curries (North Indian Raita, Tamil Thayir Pachadi) The simplest curry of them all. Raw yogurt mixed with raw / cooked vegetables is consumed across India. Pan Indian Recipe: Mix in half a handful of chopped onions / cucumber/ tomato/ carrots and 2 pinches of salt in a cup (200 ml) of yogurt.

Indian Curries:

Anything eaten mixed with Indian staples (rice / flatbreads) is referred to as a curry in this cookbook. Most curries are flavoured with Indian spices (chiefly coriander, cumin, chilies etc ).

The bewildering array of Indian curries is built from just a handful of bases listed on the left. Combine these bases with a variety of flavouring & additives - you get a never ending variety of curries. Once you get this big picture, you can mix and match bases to your heart’s content and never go wrong.

More Lentil Curries

Paruppu thogayal : Roasted lentils are blended to a paste with chilies, tamarind and salt.

Paruppu /Parippu : Boiled and mashed tuvar / mung dal or even urad dal ( Kashmir) is eaten mixed with rice and ghee. Mashed fresh lentils used as a base in curries like Uttar Pradesh’s Nimona.

Podi : Roasted lentils are blened to a powder with red chilies and salt. Roasted & powdered dals are used as a curry base as in Chainsoo & Bhatwani.

More Coconut Curries

Kootu : Coconut- cumin- green chilies are blended to a paste and vegetables are simmered in this base.

A huge variety of Kerala curries use coconut / coconut milk as a base.

More Yogurt Curries

Rezala : This mugal curry has a variety of meats / vegetables simmered in yogurt flavoured by Muglai spices.

Onion curries

Dopyaza : Meat / vegetables are cooked in a base of Onion paste.

Tomato Curries :

Tomato takes the place of Tamarind in many recipes, creating milder tomato curries like Tamil Tomato Kulambu, Tomato Rasam, Bengali Jhol etc.,

Other Curries :

Mustard – chili paste mixed with tamarind / vinegar / lemon juice forms the base for a variety of Pickles, / Tamil Thokku.

No base is required for a bariety of dry curries like Khoja muslim kachumber, Tamil, Poriyal, Tamil Sundal, Chettinad Perattal, Andhra Kura, Kannada Paalya or the North Indian Sukhi Sabji. A variety of vegetables / sprouts are create these no-base, dry curries. Sun dried lentil paste is crushed and used as a dry curry as in Tamil Vatrals, Vadam/ Orissa Badi Chura / Jain Papad Choori.

A variety of stuff is blended to a paste with chilies and a souring agent to create innumerable chutneys across India like peanut chutney, Marwari Lashun Chutney, Mangalore Catholic Galambi Chutney, Mango chutney , street food chutneys , Kodava Ellu Paji etc

North Eastern curries are very different from regular Indian curries and show the south east asian influence.

Ghee and Yogurt are probably the most used ‘curries’ across India. They are used as a dipping sauce / spread for flatbreads or eaten mixed with rice.

2.: Lentil Curries (North Indian Dal, Andhra Pappu, Konkani Dali Toy, Tamil Paruppu masiyal, ) Tuvar dal and Mung dal are cooked to a mush and eaten with rice / flatbreads across India. Pan Indian Recipe: In a pressure cooker with the lid open, add a spoon of oil. Add two pinches of cumin and half a handful of chopped onion. Stir and cook for a minute. Add a chopped green chili, half a cup of tuvar dal, a cup( 200 ml) of water, three pinches of salt. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.

3.: Spinach Curries (North Indian Saag, Tamil Keerai Masiyal) A huge variety of spinach is stir fried / boiled, mashed and used as a base for many Indian curries. Pan Indian Recipe : In a pressure cooker with lid open, add a spoon of oil. Add half a handful of chopped onion. Stir and cook for a minute. Add a chopped green chili, three cups of chopped spinach and half a spoon of ginger garlic paste. Pressure cook for three whistles. Let cool and mash.

4.: Cooked Yogurt Curries ( North Indian Kadhi, Tamil More Kulambu, Andhra Majjiga Pulusu, Kannada Mosaru Baaji,) Pan Indian Recipe : Mix in two pinches each of chili powder, salt and a pinch of turmeric powder in a cup of yogurt. Simmer for 3- 5 minutes, with constant stirring. ( North Indian version uses gram flour for thickening and south Indian versions mix in coconut – cumin paste).

5.: Milk Curries (Muglai Korma, Tamil Kuruma, Kannada Saagu)) Cooking with milk is a mogul technique and many North Indian curries use milk / cream as a base. Replace milk with coconut milk / coconut paste and you get the south Indian version. Pan Indian Recipe: Heat a spoon of ghee. Add a pinch of fennel, a bit of cinnamon, a crushed cardamom, a slit green chili, a bit of ginger garlic paste and a handful of chopped mushrooms. Stir and cook for a minute. Mix in a cup of milk (North Indian version) or coconut milk (South Indian version). Mix in a pinch of garam masala and two pinches of salt. Simmer gently for 3 - 5 minutes.

6.: Onion - Tomato Curries ( Masala) Pan Indian Recipe :: Mushroom masala. Heat a spoon of butter. Add a handful of chopped mushrooms. Cook for a minute. Add a handful of chopped onions, tomatoes and a spoon of ginger garlic paste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in three pinches of garam masala, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for 5 minutes, adding more water if needed.

7.: Raw Coconut Curries (Andhra Kobbari pachadi, Kerala Thenga Chammandi, Tamil Thenga Thogayal, Tamil Coconut Chutney ) Coconut is a key building block of many south Indian curries South Indian Recipe : Take a handful of chopped coconut. Add a chopped green chili, three pinches of salt and blend to a paste.

8.:. Tamarind Curries (Tamil Kulambu, Andhra Pulusu, Kannada Gojju) Tamarind is another key building block of many south Indian curries. South Indian Recipe : Garlic Kulambu. Heat a spoon of oil. Add a handful of garlic cloves. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Mix a spoon of tamarind paste in a cup of water. Add three pinches of coriander powder, two pinches of chili powder & salt. Add to pan & simmer for 10 mins.

9.: Special Bases A variety of curry bases are used in different regions. Mustard paste ( Bengali shorshe jhol), Poppy seed paste ( Bengali / Orissa posto), Gram flour paste (Marathi Pithale), Fruit puree ( Rajasthani Mathira), Vinegar ( Goan Vindaloo), Lentil stock (Tamil Rasam , Andhra chaaru), Meat stock ( Muglai curries) , Nut paste ( Muglai Korma), Mashed vegetables (Tamil Masiyal. North Indian Bhartha, Bihari Choka), Raw Tamarind ( Kongunadu Pacha puli Rasam) etc.,

10.: Mixed bases It is a little known fact that any mixture of the above bases gives an authentic Indian curry. Some of the popular mixes are listed below:

Lentil + Spinach : Kerala Molagootal, North Indian Daal Palak, Tamil Paruppu keerai

Lentil + Coconut + Spinach : Tamil Keerai Kootu

Lentil + Tamarind: Tamil Sambar, Marathi Aamti, Gujarathi Khatti Dal

Coconut + yogurt : Konkani Tambli, Kerala Aviyal

Coconut + Lentil : Tamil Kootu

Lentil + Onion / tomato : North Indian Masala Dal, Andhra Tomato pappu

Tamarind + Yogurt : Tamil Iru Puli Kulambu

Spinach + Coconut + Yogurt : Soppina Tambli

Spinach + Tamarind : Keerai Thuvaiyal

Spinach + Coconut + Lentils : Tamil Keerai Kootu

Coconut milk + Tamarind / Kokkum : Saraswat Sol Kadi, Tamil Thengapal Kulambu

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