Thursday, 30 July 2015

Alva Mande Pejupkari-Taro/Arbi/Colocasia Soup

"Pej "in Konkani means rice cooked with lots of water which becomes starchy,but the starch is not drained instead eaten along with it just like a soup.Hence this dish gets its name as 'pej upkari'.Some call it thoy too.It can be also made  with potatoes just replacing taro/arbi instead.Alva Mande is the Konkani name of the vegetable.
A simple and easy accompaniment that can be had with rice which is nothing but soupy colocasia/taro.It is simple ,yet tasty and perfect for a lazy day.Taro/arbi is a rich starchy root vegetable yet high in fibres and can boast of several minerals and is gluten free.There are other ways of cooking this root vegetable...will post a dry masala subzi in my coming posts.
In North India taro is deep fried and added to gravies,which iam yet to try as deep frying is something I do not prefer much,but have to try it out just for the sake of relishing.

Alva mande/Arbi /colocasia          5-8
chopped into 1"fingers)
Salt                                                           to taste
Water                                                      about 2 cups for pressure cooking

For seasoning:
Mustard seeds                                     1tsp
Urad daal                                              1/2tsp
Red chillies                                          2-3
Curry leaves                                       5-6
Oil                                                           2tsp
Asafoetida(hing)                              1/4tsp

  • Take the chopped colocasia add salt to taste and water as mentioned above in a pressure cooker and cook for 5 minutes(i.e.,when the first whistle is about to begin switch to low flame and cook for 5 minutes)
  • Take the pressure cooked contents in a soup pot.
  • With the back of a laddle just mash a few colocasia chunks in the pot.
  • In a small seasoning pan heat oil.
  • Add mustard,once sizzles,add urad daal,broken red chillies,curry leaves and finally asafoetida(if using in diluted form then add it to the boiling pot)
  • Drop over the pot of colocasia.
  • Boil for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Serve with rice,papad and some dry subzi

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Kultha Koddhel-HorseGram in a Spicy Coconut Gravy Seasoned with Garlic.

"Kulith" is nothing but a Konkani term for horsegram/kulthi.Koddhel"  means a curry that is having the basic coconut,tamarind and red chillies masala,a little spicier than other curries like ambat and ghashi and it is always seasoned with browing crushed garlic in oil.This curry can be made with beans like rajma(kidney beans),whole tuvar(pigeon peas),Tingalavro(navy beans/northern beans) and so on.It can also be made with vegetables like raw banana and Sambhar/Mangalore Cucumber.This dish is authentically Konkani stuff and happens to be one of the favourites in Amchi homes and usually a Saturday special(as horsegram is preferably eaten on Saturday).A permutation and combination of seasonal vegetables are applied in this curry.The basic kulitha kodddel will have only horsegram and any one of the vegetable(sambhar cucumber,banana stem,chinese potato,malabar spinach,bamboo shoot).Here I have used  jackfruit seeds,bilimbi(which is a sour vegetable),tender raw jackfruit chunks and a little spinach and a few stems of it.

Horsegram                                                1/2cup
Jackfruit seeds(optional)                   6-8(crushed a little)
Tender jackfruit chunks
(cooked) ,or use canned ones            10-12
Bilimbi/tree sorrel/bimbul                2-3
Fresh Malabar Spinach,
chopped                                                     1cup(with a few tender stems)
Salt                                                              to taste

For Masala:
Fresh grated coconut                         3/4cup
Red chillies(roasted)                          5-6
Tamarind                                                pea size(if not using bilimbi/bimbul)

For seasoning:
Oil                                                              1tbsp
Crushed garlic flakes                        8-10

  • First clean the horsegram as it may have tiny sand,stones or some weed that looks similar to the horsegram.(discard anything other than horsegram)
  • Wash and soak it for 8-10 hours.
  • Take the soaked horsegram,the jackfruit seeds,stored ones(if using)in a pressure cooker with 2-2.5cups of water.
  • Pressure cook for a whistle then cook lowering the flame for another 20 minutes(this makes the horsegram soft and nice),if using fresh jackfruit seeds then place in a separare bowl and after 5-10 minutes of pressure cooking take it out and pressure cook horsegram for further 10 minutes.
  • Drain in a colander,saving the water for further cooking purpose.
  • Make the masala using coconut,chillies and tamarind(preferably using the pressure cooked water).
  • In a soup pot add the chopped spinach,tender stems,bimbul(if using)and bring it to boil with the pressure cooked water,cook till soft and then add the horse gram,boiled jackfruit chunks,and salt to taste and bring to a nice boil.
  • Add the prepared masala ,adjust the consistency using reserved pressure cooked water and boil for another few minutes till the raw flavour of masala fades.
  • Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat oil and roast crushed garlic to a nice golden colour and pour this into the curry.
  • Tastes heaven when served with rice and happens to be amchis favourite.

Use of tamarind may be skipped if bilimbi/bimbul is used.

 Bilimbi/bimbul/tree sorrel-

Malabar spinach/Vaali-

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tomato ani Piyavache Kolmbho-Tomato and Onion(Shallot) Sambhar

Kolmbho is a Konkani name for sambhar.Piyavu means onion in Konkani.This is a lentil based dish that is cooked with tamarind pulp,vegetables and masala powder freshly made by roasting and blending spices.This is inseperable part of South Indian cuisine.It serves as an accompaniment with idli,dosa and rice.Again there are umpteen number of recipes when it comes to sambhar.There are a wide variety of ready powders available in stores.It can be even made at home with toasting and roasting spices which needs a little time and patience.There are innumerable recipes when it comes to sambhar and varies from person to person.I too prepare sambhar in 2-3 different ways(difference is in the proportion and contents used in the spice mix)and always prefer making it fresh.
Here I present one of my versions of sambhar with freshly roasted and grounded spices that is loved by my family members.Here I have tagged it as tomato and onion sambhar which may sound strange as in our community sambhar means mix of many veggies and need not be specified even if only two vegetables are used.Iam inspired by the south indian way of saying radish sambhar,drumstick sambhar where tomato and onion are constant and only one vegetable is used which highlights the here I go with tomato onion sambhar!!!!

Tuvar daal(split pigeon peas)          1/2 cup
Small onions(peeled)                           20
Tomatoes(M),diced                              3
Tamarind pulp                                       a small cherry sized ball
Turmeric powder                                  3/4tsp
Jaggery/light brown sugar             3/4tsp
Asafoetida/Hing                                   1/4tsp
Salt                                                             to taste
Fresh chopped corainder                  2tbsp

For seasoning:
Oil                                                              1tbsp
Mustard seeds                                      1tsp
Curry leaves                                          6-8

For Masala:
Coriander seeds/dhaniya              3tbsp
Cumin seeds/jeera                            3/4tbsp
Fenugreek seeds/methi                  1/2tsp
Peppercorns                                       3-4
Garlic flake(crushed)                     1  (optional)   
Byadagi chillies                               5-7
Guntur chillies                                 3-4

Roasting masala-

  • Heat a tava(i use my cast iron chapathi tava)add little oil,once heated set to low flame and roast chillies to crisp without burning them.set on a plate.
  • Add coriander seeds and roast just till the aroma is felt(over roasting will change the flavour of sambhar)set aside.
  • Add jeera roast till it crackles,set aside
  • Add methi roast till colour changes/crackles,set aside.
  • Add the peppercorns and crushed garlic and switch off the flame.
  • When the spices are moderately cool blend to a powder(need not be extra fine)
Preparing Sambhar:
  • Wash and pressure cook the tuvar daal(split pigeon peas)with 1.5cups of water,pinch of turmeric and a drizzle of oil to 1 whistle then lowering the flame and cooking more 5 minutes.
  • Soak tamarind in a tbsp of water and squeeze well to get a thick pulp.
  • Dilute the sambhar powder with water to form a paste.
  • In a soup pot add take the peeled whole small onions,tomatoes and add a cup of water bringing it to boil
  • When the onions are tender add jaggery,salt to taste,tamarind pulp,turmeric powder,asafoetida and boil further.
  • Add the prepared paste and a  little water too.
  • Add cooked daal(with a wire whisk/buttermilk churner beat it well)adding required water to get a consistency and bring to a good boil and cook stirring in bewteen as daal sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Prepare the seasoning in a small pan and pour it over the sambhar.
  • Add fresh chopped coriander,also 1-2 fresh curry leaves torn into pieces.
  • Serve as an accompaniment with idly,dosa and even white rice.
  • This becomes thicker after sometime,so,add required additional water,boil and then serve.
  • The small onions used here are nothing but the regular onions which are small in size.
  • Can use pearl onions,shallots  too which also makes it more authentic.
  • Can add cut drumsticks to this along with onions while cooking..will be delicious.
  • This portion makes about 2.5ltrs(3 quarts apprx),so adjust the recipe according to needs.
  • A combination of different vegetables can also be made to make it a mixed veg sambhar.
  • The powder can be made and stored for later use.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Madras Rasam-Spicy Tangy Lentil And Tomato Soup

Rasam is nothing but a South Indian spicy/tangy soup.It may or may not be prepared using tuvar daal(split pigeon peas).There are countless ways of preparing rasam.Some recipes call of tuvar daal while some don't .It can be slightly thinner than sambhar or runny like water and goes well served with steamed white rice or can be just had like a soup.Here goes a wonderful recipe using freshly prepared masala with spices that has its freshness infused in the rasam.
I came across this beautiful recipe from my friend Sushma Mallya( and tried it.We all liked it very much and thank you Sushma for this aromatic rasam.

Tomatoes (large)                            2 nos
Toor dal                                              6 tbsp
Turmeric(haldi)                              1/4 tsp
Water                                                   1 .5 cups plus a little more
Coconut grated                                1tbsp
Salt                                                        to taste

For Masala:
Dhania(coriander seeds)             2 tbsp. 
Jeera (Cumin seeds)                      1/4 tsp 
Methi (fenugreek Seeds)              1 /4 tsp 
Black Pepper                                     1/4 tsp 
Mustard seeds                                  1/4 tsp 
Red chillies ( bydagi)                     3
Jaggery                                               1/2tsp
Tamarind                                           Size of a small cherry
Oil                                                         1tsp(for roasting the masala ingredients) 
For Seasoning:
Ghee(clarified butter)                    1tsp
Mustard seeds                                   1/2tsp
Curry leaves                                      7-8
Asafoetida(hing)                              a generous pinch
A few strands of fresh chopped green coriander for garnish.
  • Pressure cook dal with tomato (whole) and haldi for 2 whistles and keep aside. Now mash this well and keep aside.
  • Soak tamarind with little water.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add coriander seeds, Jeera, Methi, black pepper, mustard seeds, red chilli and fry on low flame till lovely aroma and grind it along with jaggery and tamatind to fine paste. 
  • Now add this paste to the mashed toordal, add coconut and 2-3curry leaves and bring to a boil. Add salt and required water  to get the required consistency.
  • For the tempering heat ghee in a small pan , add mustard seeds when crackling is done add curry leaves, hing and then drop it into  the rasam.
  • Add the fresh chopped green coriander and switch off the flame.
  •  Serve piping hot with Rice.
I have made slight alterations which may not reflect much with the original taste.
  • Have used 1tbsp coconut instead of 3tbsp.
  • Used ghee for seasoning.