Simply South by Chandra Padmanabhan [pdf, epub] 8189975749

Simply South: Traditional Vegetarian Cooking

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  • Title: Simply South: Traditional Vegetarian Cooking
  • Autor: Chandra Padmanabhan
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Westland Limited; First edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Language: English

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westland ltd

Venkat Towers, 165, EH. Road, Opp. Maduravoyal Municipal office, Chennai 600 095

No.38/10 (New No.5), Raghava Nagar, New Timber Yard Layout, Bangalore 560 026

Survey No. A-9, II Floor, Moula Ali Industrial Area, Moula Ali, Hyderabad 500 040

23/181, Anand Nagar, Nehru Road, Santacruz East, Mumbai 400 055

47, Brij Mohan Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110 002

First published by westland ltd, 2008

Third reprint 2010

Copyright© Chandra Padmanabhan 2008

ISBN: 978-81-89975-74-6

Typeset in Gill Sans by Art Works, Chennai

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, circulated, and no reproduction in any form, in whole or in part (except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews) may be made without written permission of the publishers.

 

 

contents

acknowledgements

introduction

basic recipes

sambar & kuzhambu

rasam

poriyal & kootu

rice

snacks

sweets

accompaniments

suggested menus

glossary

 

 

This book is dedicated to

my darling grandson

Amithav Gautam

 

 

acknowledgements

1. Annapoorna Rama Rao Nuni

2. Aruna L Narayanan

3. Asha Hemdev

4. Chetna Mahabaleshwar

5. Chitra Iyengar

6. Jayalakshmi Narendranath

7. Jayanthi Ramesh

8. 8. Leela Sekhar

9. Mallika Manickam

10. Mangalam Sridhar

11. MythiliVaradarajan

12. NilanjanaRoy

13. Sabita Radhakrishna

14. SarojaSundaram

15. Sarojini Rajan

16. Sharada Rajamani

17. Sharanyajaikumar

18. ShernaWadia

19. Sreela Kowsik

20. Subashree Krishnaswamy

21. Sudha Hariharan

22. Sudha Prasad

23. Swati Prasad Siddharth

24. UshaSundaram

25. Vijaya Subramanian

 

 

introduction

It is a popular belief that most people in South India are vegetarians. In fact this is not so; they constitute a very small minority and I happen to be one of them. All over the world more and more people are turning to vegetarianism for health reasons. When I started research for my two earlier books, I realized that South Indian vegetarian cooking was one of the most balanced cuisines in this part of the world.

Nutritionists the world over, believe that it is important to eat like a king at breakfast. It kick-starts your metabolism, and gives you the energy to cope with the day’s work.

Traditionally, in South India, the previous day’s leftover rice was soaked in water overnight; the water was drained, a little salt was added and the rice was mixed with curd or buttermilk, and eaten as breakfast. The dish is called pazhayadu. It is regarded as nutritious and this practice is still prevalent in some homes.

With the spread of education, an increasing number of people started migrating to cities to work. To make life easy, they started eating full-fledged meals by 9 a.m. in the morning, before catching a bus or train to work. The meal normally consisted of rice with sambar, rice with rasam, and rice with curd accompanied by a vegetable poriyal and a curd pachadi. Even today, some families eat such meals that resemble a lunch in the morning in place of breakfast.

As a result of Westernization and modernization, some of us have started eating a regular breakfast. Our breakfast tiffins are popular not only in the South, but all over India. The most popular tiffin is idli sambar with vadai, which is not only nutritious, but also light on the stomach. Today this tiffin is served on board aircrafts and trains, and it is available in most restaurants all over India. Other popular breakfast tiffins are dosai, masala dosai, oothappam, pongal, uppuma, appam and idiappam. There are innumerable ways of cooking these items, so one can never tire of them.

When I wrote my second book on South Indian cuisine, I came to the conclusion that I had more or less covered most of the popular South Indian recipes. However, since my earlier books were not published by Westland, my son Gautam, who heads this publishing house persuaded me to write a book for him. When I started researching for my third book, I came across some interesting dishes from Kongunadu, the North Arcot district of Tamil Nadu, Rajahmundry district of Andhra Pradesh and the Hebbar Iyengar community of Karnataka. This whetted my appetite for more information on these regions.

The name Arcot is derived from the Tamil words, aaru kaadu, meaning six forests, and the area is lush green. While studying the cuisine of this region, I discovered that they use wheat in their spice mixes. This intrigued me, since wheat is not indigenous to South India. Curiosity got the better of me, and further research revealed that the Mughal viceroys controlled this region at one point, and this probably explains the use of wheat. The famous pulliyogaray (tamarind rice), for example, is made with wheat lapsi and not rice, as in other parts of South India.

The Hebbar Iyengar community today, is a small one, and they are Vaishnavites. There are several theories regarding their origin. One theory claims they were local Kannadiga Brahmins who converted to Vaishnavism during Ramanujacharyar’s stay at Melukote, while according to another theory, they migrated from Tamil Nadu, and others maintain that they were originally Jains. They speak a quaint language, which is a combination of Tamil and Kannada and their cuisine is unusual. I had provided their recipes for rice dishes like manga ogoray (mango rice) and ullundu ogoray (husked black gram rice), in my earlier books. Here I have included other dishes such as tengaipaal kuzhambu (coconut milk curry), kollukai satumadu (horse gram rasam), and ghasgase payasam (poppy seed dessert).

Rajahmundry lies in the Godavari delta in Andhra Pradesh. The area is rich in alluvial soil, and is called the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh. With a vast variety of food growing in this region, it is well known for its delicious cuisine. High spices mark their dishes, and I have provided recipes for their famous pachadis (chutneys): allam pachadi (ginger chutney), aratikai pachadi (green plantain chutney) and menthukura pachadi (fenugreek leaf chutney). They make excellent dais: molapappu (curried mung), pesharattu kurma (dumpling curry); unusual rasams: mulakkada charu (drumstick rasam), cobbari paala pappucharu (coconut milk and lentil rasam): and a delicious payasam: paravaannam (rice dessert). Their snacks too differ from the usual south Indian fare: atukula dosai (parched rice pancake), challaadu (sour curd pancake) and the famous pesharattu (mung pancake).

Kongunadu is the area around Coimbatore, Erode, Salem and Pollachi. It is located in the northwest of Tamil Nadu. The name is derived from the Kongu Vellala Gounder caste. The cuisine has a subtle flavour and is neither spicy nor oily. Copra is used in abundance, since plenty of coconut trees grow here, and turmeric is always added to their curries, giving them a rich colour.

Apart from these cuisines I have gathered other recipes from the four states of South India-Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Once again, I could only provide a sample from each state and community – a single book cannot do justice to all the districts and communities of South India.

I have had fun researching this book and hope you enjoy cooking from it.

 

Chandra Padmanabhan

Chennai (August 2008)

 

 

table of measures

metricUS / imperial

125 gms 4 oz

250 gms 8 oz

500 gms l6 oz(l lb)

1kg 32 oz (2 lb)

1 cup = 250 ml (8 fl oz) except in the US where it is 240 ml (7 fl oz)

1 tsp = 5 ml

1 tbsp = 3 tsp or 15 ml (‘A fl oz) except in Australia where it is 20 ml

a pinch = 1/8 tsp (literally a pinch)

a dash = 1-2 drops

all spoon measures are level

Any small differences between metric, US and imperial measures have been absorbed, and will not affect the recipes.

Experienced cooks measure almost all ingredients by hand, while cooking Indian food. They know instinctively the right amounts required. To make it easy for the beginner I have measured most ingredients by volume – using the standard cups, tablespoons and teaspoons generally found in kitchens today – rather than by weight. I find this more convenient and time saving, as many of the ingredients used in the recipes are readily available in the kitchen.

In the case of vegetables that are usually stocked in the kitchen, like onions, potatoes, tomatoes, I have provided the number of vegetables required, while in cases where the vegetable may need to be especially bought for the dish being prepared, I have given the cup measure or weight.

As a rough guide, 100 gms of vegetables of the gourd family, plantains, yam, etc. would yield I cup when cut into ½” cubes.

A word of caution: while trying out a recipe, make sure you use the same measure for all the ingredients. For example, if a recipe requires three different types of flour, use the same cup to measure all three.

Throughout this book, the weight and measure equivalents given above have been used as standard.

 

south indian utensils you will require to make some of the dishes in this book

A few South Indian dishes in this book need special equipment to prepare them. These are readily available in South Indian stores around the country.

Idli rack: An idli rack or mould consists of a stand with plates fixed to it. Each plate has several depressions in them. Brush the depressions with oil and pour in about ‘A cup of idli batter into them. Place the rack in a pressure cooker and close the cooker. Steam idlies for 15-20 minutes, without putting the weight on. Let it cool for a few minutes and remove each idli from its depression with the help of a knife.

Appachatti: An appachatti is used to make appam. It is similar to a shallow wok, and has two handles and a lid. Heat the appachatti over moderate heat and smear evenly and lightly with oil, with the help of a piece of cloth. Pour a small ladle of appam batter into the centre of the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around, holding it with the handles to coat the sides and base of pan evenly with a thin layer of batter about 6″ in diameter. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. The base and edges of the appam should be golden, while the centre should be spongy. When the appam comes away from the sides, it is ready and you will be able to remove it from the chatti with a spatula.

Paniyaramchatti: Gundu pongla and moru appam can only be made in a paniyaram-chatti, which give these their typical rounded appearance. It is a frying pan that has several depressions in it. Place it over moderate heat and when hot, fill a quarter of each depression with oil. When the oil is hot, pour in batter to come halfway up the depression. Fry over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Gently turn the gundu pongla or moru appam with a skewer and fry the other side for 2-3 minutes till golden. Non-stick paniyaram chatti are available, in which case you need to use only ¼ tsp oil to coat the depressions, making the dishes healthier.

Thenkuzhal press (nazhi): This is a special press for making savoury crisps. It comes with changeable discs, which have holes of different sizes and shapes. The disc is placed at the base of a container and a piston with a handle fits snugly into it. Dough is filled into the container and the piston is fixed over it. The dough is pressed out through the holes in the disc by pushing down on the piston handle.

To make omappodi, choose a disc with several equally spaced tiny holes. For ribbon pakoda, change the disc to one which has two ½” slits running across its diameter. When dough is pressed through this disc, ribbon or tapeshaped crisps are formed.

 

Right: Clockwise from top left – idli stand, paniyaram chatti, appachatti and thenkuzhal press (nazhi), left disc – ribbon pakoda, right disc – omappodi

 

 

basic recipes

plain rice

chettinad rasam podi (rasam powder from chettinad).

rasam podi (rasam powder)

sambar podi – I (sambar powder)

sambar podi – 2 (sambar powder)

 

 

Left: Clockwise from top left – green cardamoms, black pappercorns, marathi moggu, cloves and cinnamon sticks

 

 

plain rice

1 cup rice

 

Wash rice well and drain.

cooking in a pressure cooker

Place rice in a pressure cooker container with 2 cups water. Place container in cooker, along with sufficient water in the cooker. Close cooker and place over high heat. As steam starts escaping through the vent, cover vent with the weight. When the cooker reaches full pressure (the weight valve will whistle), lower heat and cook for 3 minutes.

Remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to fall on its own. This will take 15-20 minutes.

cooking on the stovetop

Place 2 cups water in a heavy-based pan over high heat and bring to boil. Add rice and bring to boil again. Lower heat to moderate and cook for 8-10 minutes, till water is almost absorbed.

Lower heat, place pan on a tawa or griddle, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 7-8 minutes till water is absorbed and rice is tender and fluffy.

cooking in a microwave oven

Place rice with 2 cups water in a large casserole, twice as deep as the height of rice and water, so that the water does not boil over. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on high for 6-7 minutes.

Cook on medium for 8-10 minutes or till all the liquid is completely absorbed. Allow to stand covered for 5 minutes.

 

chettinad rasam podi

rasam powder from chettinad

½ cup coriander seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

¼ cup pigeon peas(tuvarlarhar)

2 tbsp oil

I cup dried red chillies

I tbsp cumin seeds

I tbsp black peppercorns

 

makes: about 1 cup

preparation time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 5 minutes

 

Roast coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and pigeon peas separately, in a dry frying pan over low heat, tossing gently, for a few moments. (Roast spices till fragrant and dal till it turns pink.) Set aside.

Heat oil in the same pan over low heat. Fry chillies, cumin seeds and peppercorns separately, tossing gently, till fragrant.

Cool and combine all ingredients. Grind to a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container and use as required.

 

 

rasam podi

rasam powder

1¼ cups (40 gms) dried red chillies

2½ cups (200 gms) coriander seeds

½ tbsp cumin seeds

½ cup (60 gms) black peppercorns

2 sprigs curry leaves

¾ cup (ISO gms) pigeon peas (arharltuvar)

¼ cup (50 gms) husked bengal gram (chana dal)

I tsp turmeric powder

 

makes: about 450 gms

preparation time: 15 minutes

cooking time: 5-7 minutes

 

Roast each ingredient, except turmeric powder, separately in a dry frying pan over low heat, tossing gently, for a few moments. (Roast chillies, spices and curry leaves till fragrant and dais till golden.)

Cool and combine all ingredients including turmeric powder. Grind to a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container and use as required.

 

 

sambar podi – I

sambar powder

½ cup pigeon peas (tuvarlarhar)

½ cup husked bengal gram (chana dal)

¼ cup husked black gram (urad dal)

½ cup cumin seeds

2 tbsp black peppercorns

2 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

2½ cups coriander seeds

½ cup curry leaves

1 tbsp oil

2½ cups dried red chillies

2 tsp turmeric powder

 

makes: about 2 cups

preparation time: 15 minutes

cooking time: 10 minutes

 

Roast each ingredient separately, except oil, chillies and turmeric powder, in a dry frying pan over moderate heat, tossing gently, for a few moments. (Roast dals till golden and spices and curry leaves till fragrant.)

Add oil to the same pan and fry chillies, tossing gently, till fragrant

Cool and combine all ingredients including turmeric powder. Grind to a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container and use as required.

 

 

sambar podi – 2

sambar powder

2 cups (60 gms) dried red chillies

2 cups (140 gms) coriander seeds

¼ cup (30 gms) black peppercorns

¼ cup (25 gms) cumin seeds

2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

2 tsp mustard seeds 2 tsp poppy seeds (khus-khus), powdered

2 x I” sticks cinnamon

½ cup (100 gms) curry leaves

½ cup husked bengal gram (chana dal)

1 (40 gms) dry coconut (copra), grated

2 tsp turmeric powder

 

makes: about 400 gms

preparation time: 20 minutes

cooking time: 5-7 minutes

 

Roast each ingredient, except turmeric powder, separately in a dry frying pan over low heat, tossing gently, for a few moments. (Roast chillies, spices and curry leaves till fragrant, and dal and copra till golden.)

Cool and combine all ingredients including turmeric powder. Grind to a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container and use as required.

 

 

sambar & kuzhambu

elumichampazham sambar (lemon curry)

chepankizhangu paruppu kuzhambu (colocasia and lentil curry)

keerai sambar (spinach curry)

vengaya sambar (shallot curry from palghat)

avaraikkai araithuvitta sambar (sheet bean curry)

beetroot sambar (beetroot with lentils)

verkadalay pitlay (peanut-flavoured curry)

karuvapillay kuzhambu (curry leaf tamarind curry)

vendakkai puli kuzhambu (tamarind-flavoured okra)

pakoda moru kuzhambu (dumpling curd curry)

tengaipaal moru kuzhambu (coconut milk and curd curry)

vendaikai moru kuzhambu (okra and curd curry from north arcot)

pushnikai moru kuzhambu (ash gourd and curd curry from thirunelveli)

mangai moru sambar (mango curd curry)

tengai araitha kuzhambu (spicy coconut curry from tirunelveli)

molakeerai poritha kuzhambu (amaranth with lentils)

peerkangai beans kootu kuzhambu (ridge gourd with french beans)

nurge gashie (spicy drumsticks from mangalore)

karamani kuzhambu (cowpeas with aubergine from kongunadu)

pagarkai pitlay (bitter gourd curry from kongunadu)

tengai paal kuzhambu (coconut milk curry from the hebbar iyengar community of karnataka)

molapappu (curried mung from andhra pradesh)

theeyal (aubergine curry from kerala)

alu gaddé kozhamb (potato curry from karnataka)

masala vadai kulambu (curried patties from the mudaliar community)

pesharattu kurma (dumpling curry from andhra pradesh)

nalagree (vegetable curry from karnataka)

mirchi ka salan (green chilli curry from hyderabad)

 

 

elumichampazham sambar

lemon curry

½ cup pigeon peas (arharltuvar)

2½ cups (500 gms) peeled and chopped (½” cubes) ridge gourd (toori)

2 medium-sized tomatoes, quartered

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt or to taste

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

3 tbsp lemon or lime juice

spice paste

1 tbsp coriander seeds

3-4 green chillies

2 tsp roasted bengal gram (bhuna chana)

2 tsp rice flour

1 cup grated fresh coconut

tempering

2 tsp ghee

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 dried red chilli, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

garnish

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

 

serves: 4-6

preparation time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker with 1 cup water and cook under pressure for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients for spice paste and grind to a smooth consistency gradually adding ½ cup water.

Boil 1 cup water in a wok/frying pan over high heat.

Mix in gourd, tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida powder. Lower heat, cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes till vegetables are tender.

Stir in spice paste and dal. Simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.

Heat ghee for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat and add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, stir contents of pan into sambar.

Add lemon or lime juice and mix well.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with plain rice.

 

 

chepankizhangu paruppu kuzhambu

colocasia and lentil curry

¾ cup pigeon peas (arharltuvar)

1½ cups (250 gms) colocasia

1 medium lemon-sized ball of tamarind

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 tsp rice flour (if required)

spice paste

2 tsp ghee

4-5 dried red chillies

3 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp grated dry coconut (copra)

1 tsp white sesame seeds (til)

tempering

2 tsp ghee

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

1dried red chilli, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

 

serves: 4-6

soaking time: 10 minutes

preparation time: 20 minutes

cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker with 1 cup water and cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

Boil colocasia in enough water to cover till tender. Drain, cool and peel. Slice colocasia into ½” pieces.

Soak tamarind in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.

Heat ghee for spice paste in a wok/frying pan and add remaining ingredients for spice paste. Fry over low heat, tossing gently, till fragrant. Grind to a smooth consistency, gradually adding 2-3 tbsp water.

To the same frying pan, add tamarind juice, turmeric powder and salt. Place pan over high heat and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears.

Mix in dal, colocasia and spice paste. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If kuzhambu is not thick enough, dissolve rice flour in ½ cup water and add to pan. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Heat ghee for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, stir contents of pan into kuzhambu.

Serve hot with plain rice.

 

 

keerai sambar

spinach curry

2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves, finely chopped

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

¼ tsp + 1 tsp salt

½ cup pigeon peas (arharltuvar)

¼ cup husked green gram (mung dal)

1 tomato, quartered

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 medium lemon-sized ball of tamarind

½” piece ginger, grated

6 green chillies, slit lengthwise

1 capsicum, cut into 1” squares

2 tsp sambar powder (page 14)

tempering

2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

2 dried red chillies, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

garnish

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

 

serves: 4-6

soaking time: 10 minutes

preparation time: 30 minutes

cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Combine spinach, asafoetida powder, ¼ tsp salt and 2-3 tbsp water in a pan and place over low heat. Cover pan and simmer for about 5 minutes till tender. Set aside.

Wash dals and drain. Place dals in a pressure cooker, with tomato, turmeric powder and 2 cups water. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

Soak tamarind in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.

Heat oil for tempering in a wok/frying pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, add ginger, green chillies and capsicum.

Stir in 1 tsp salt, tamarind juice and sambar powder. Lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears.

Mix in spinach and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add dal and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.

Remove from heat and sprinkle ghee, coconut oil and coriander leaves on top.

Serve hot with plain rice.

 

 

vengaya sambar

shallot curry from palghat

2 drumsticks, cut into 3” pieces

1 medium lemon-sized ball of tamarind

½ cup pigeon peas (tuvarlarhar)

1 cup (250 gms) shallots, peeled and kept whole

1 tsp salt or to taste

½ tsp turmeric powder

spice paste

2 tsp + 2 tsp coconut oil

6 tbsp grated fresh coconut

2½ tbsp husked bengal gram (chana dal)

6-8 dried red chillies

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

2 tbsp coriander seeds

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

tempering

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

1 dried red chilli, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

garnish

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

 

serves: 4-6

soaking time: 10 minutes

preparation time: 30 minutes

cooking time: 30 minutes

 

Bring 1 cup water to a boil over high heat. Add drumsticks and boil for 5-7 minutes, till tender. Set aside.

Soak tamarind in 1½ cups water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.

Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker, with 1 cup water. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp oil for spice paste in a frying pan. Fry coconut over low heat, stirring continuously, till golden. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add 2 tsp oil to pan and add remaining ingredients for spice paste. Fry over low heat, tossing gently, till dal turns golden and chillies and spices are fragrant.

Combine all ingredients for spice paste and grind to a smooth consistency, gradually adding ½ cup water.

Heat oil for tempering in the same pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, add shallots and fry till golden.

Stir in tamarind juice, salt and turmeric powder. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes, till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears.

Mix in spice paste and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add drumsticks and dal, and simmer for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with plain rice. It can also be served as an accompaniment to idli, dosai and vadai.

 

 

avaraikkai araithuvitta sambar

sheet bean curry

¾ cup pigeon peas (tuvarlarhar)

1 medium lemon-sized ball of tamarind

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp powdered jaggery

1½ tsp salt or to taste

1½ cups (200 gms) sliced

(½” pieces) sheet beans

1 medium-sized tomato, quartered

spice paste

3 tsp sesame oil (til ka tael)

1 tsp husked black gram (urad dal)

1 tsp husked bengal gram (chana dal)

4 dried red chillies

2 tsp coriander seeds

¾ tsp black peppercorns

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

2 tbsp dry coconut (copra), grated

1 tsp rice grains

tempering

1 tbsp ghee

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 dried red chilli, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

garnish

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

 

serves: 4-6

soaking time: 10 minutes

preparation time: 20 minutes

cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker with 1½ cups water. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

Soak tamarind in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.

Heat oil for spice paste in a frying pan. Add remaining ingredients for spice paste. Fry over low heat, tossing gently, till dals turn golden and chillies and spices are fragrant. Grind to a smooth consistency, gradually adding ½ cup water.

In the same pan, combine tamarind juice, turmeric powder, jaggery and salt. Place pan over high heat and bring to boil.

Add sheet beans and tomato. Lower heat, stir gently, cover pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears and sheet beans are tender.

Mix in dal and spice paste. Add more water if sambar is too thick. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.

Heat ghee for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, stir contents of pan into sambar.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with plain rice.

 

 

beetroot sambar

beetroot with lentils

¾ cup pigeon peas (tuvarlarhar)

1 medium lime-sized ball of tamarind

2 green chillies, slit

250 gms beetroot, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp sambar powder (page 14)

1 tsp salt or to taste

tempering

2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

1 dried red chilli, halved

1 sprig curry leaves

garnish

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

 

serves: 4-6

soaking time: 10 minutes

preparation time: 10 minutes

cooking time: 25 minutes

 

Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker with 1½ cups water and cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

Soak tamarind in 1½ cups water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.

Combine tamarind juice, green chillies, beetroot, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt in a pan. Place pan over high heat and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for 12-15 minutes, till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears and beetroot is tender.

Mix in dal and simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.

Heat oil for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, stir contents of pan into sambar.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with plain rice.

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In her third cookbook, the author of Dakshin and Southern Spice offers a new and exciting range of traditional vegetarian cooking from the kitchens of South India. This book covers rare, unusual but easytofollow recipes from Kongunad, North Arcot in Tamil Nadu, Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh and the cuisine of the Hebbar Iyengar community of Karnataka. Chandra Padmanabhan takes the novice and the expert cook alike on a journey through different cooking styles in this authoritative and warm tour of very special household recipes. The arrangement of the chapters Sambar & Kuzhambu, Rasam, Poriyal & Kootu, Rice, Snacks, Sweets and Accompaniments makes it easy for the busy cook to find recipes. Dishes range from the familiar lemon sambar, lentil rasam, stir fried potatoes with coconut the unusual, such as margosa flower rasam. Suggested menus take the hard work out of meal planning. This book will be welcomed by food historians as well as keen cooks looking to expand their knowledge of vegetarian cuisine.

About the Author

Chandra Padmanabhan, a graduate from Calcutta University, did her post-graduation in education at Delhi University. She is currently working in a book publishing and distribution organisation in Chennai. Cooking has been the author’s special hobby for over thirty-five years. She is the author of two best-selling titles, Dakshin (Harper Collins) and Southern Spice (Penguin). Dakshin’s International edition published by Harper Collins, Australia in 1994 is still selling in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Singapore and Malaysia.

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Comments:

This book is a rare find- vegetarian south Indian recipes that go beyond the typical dosai and idli. I have tried the potato samosi which tasted great. I appreciate that the book includes instructions for pressure cookers (which save time) and is fairly easy to navigate through. I look forward to making some other dishes from the book such as the potato curry from Andra Pradesh.

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