Kerala Tomato Curry

Few years back we had gone on a trip to Meenmutty falls with my sister’s family. Among all the other lovely experiences and visual treats we had there, Kerala’s food was an unforgettable tasting experience altogether though we are pure vegetarians. I always thought until then, Kerala’s cuisine is all about fish and/ or coconut; though my later assumption wasn’t much wrong, the way they use coconut in varied methods were new to me then. This tomato curry is one that we tasted there for the first time and we all loved it without exception. How much I wanted to recreate it back home and I did, however the one I share here is a recent version.

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Kerala Tomato Curry
Serves 2
My version of Kerala tomato curry
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1. Tomatoes - 3
  2. 2. Onion - 1
  3. 3. Oil - 3/4 tbsp
  4. 4.Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp
  5. 5. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  6. 6. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  7. 7. Coconut - 1/2
  8. 8. Green chili - 1
  9. 9. Dry red chili - 2
  10. 10. Turmeric - 2 pinches
  11. 11. Curd - 2 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Chop the onion and tomatoes lengthwise.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, splutter 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, throw in curry leaves and saute onion in it until it becomes translucent.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile grind together 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, coconut, green chili, dry red chili, turmeric and strain to extract spicy coconut milk. Use some water to extract completely and discard husk.
  5. Add this extract to sauteed tomatoes along with required salt. Let it boil in simmer for few minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and add beaten curds and mix well.
  7. Serve with hot steamed rice.
TIP
  1. Add less mustard with coconut if that flavor is not preferred or adjust measure according to taste.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/
Adikaram: அன்புடைமை

Kural: 78

அன்பகத் தில்லா உயிர்வாழ்க்கை வன்பாற்கண்
வற்றல் மரந்தளிர்த் தற்று.

Meaning:

Life without love is like a dead tree in the dessert.

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Tamarindless Rasam

Tamarind is a quintessential ingredient in any rasam; but too much of tamarind isn’t that good in spite of its digestive properties. In my household, rasam is an inevitable thing and so I seriously consider variations of it. No-tamarind rasam is almost like a soup.

Actually the typical way of having rasam rice is to have steamed rice in a pool of clear rasam and eating with hand, finally lifting the plate to drink off the rasam after rice is done. I know it invites lot of criticism for us from west and even from northern parts of the nation, but I personally don’t let anything or anyone alter my bond with rasam rice. I strongly believe that is how it should be had 🙂 

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Tamarindless Rasam
Serves 2
Rasam without tamarind
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Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1. Tomato - 1
  2. 2. Pigeon peas stock - 1 cup
  3. 3. Lemon - 1/2
  4. 4. Salt to taste
  5. 5. Rasam Powder - 1 tbsp
  6. 6. Ghee - 1 tsp
  7. 7. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  8. 8. Mustard seeds - 1/5 tsp
  9. 9.Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  10. 10. Dry red chili - 1
Instructions
  1. In the eiyachombu (a special vessel for making rasam that is made of tin) or any pan boil together muddled tomato, dal stock, a cup of water and required salt.
  2. When it starts to boil add rasam powder and turn off heat in a minute.
  3. In a tadka pan heat ghee, splutter mustard seeds, throw in curry leaves, chili and sprinkle asafoetida.
  4. Pour tempering on top of the rasam, squeeze in half a lemon and serve with steam rice and any fry of your choice.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/

Adikaram: அன்புடைமை

Kural: 75

அன்புற்று அமர்ந்த வழக்கென்ப வையகத்து
இன்புற்றார் எய்தும் சிறப்பு.

Meaning:

The one’s that live merrily in the world are said to be reaping the fruits of love.

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Vaazhaithandu Porial (Plaintain Stem Curry)

Banana stem is another vegetable you may not find on menu card in restaurants but is full of wonder nutrients. Preparing it is seemingly a little complicated and so most of us prefer not to make it but it’s not that big a task actually when I tried it out. It came out quite whiter & crunchy and went well with sambar rice.

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Vaazhaithandu Porial (Plaintain Stem Curry)
Serves 2
A Satvic Curry from Banana Stem
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1. Banana stem - 8" long
  2. 2. Buttermilk - 1/4 cup
  3. 3. Tur Dal - 1/2 cup
  4. 4. Salt to taste
  5. 5. Oil - 1/2 tbsp
  6. 6. Mustard seeds - 1/5 tsp
  7. 7. Urad dal - 1 tsp
  8. 8. Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  9. 9. Dry red chilies - 3
  10. 10. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  11. 11. Coconut grated - 3 tbsp (optional)
Instructions
  1. Peel the outer layer of banana stem and slice while collecting fiber in between slices by twisting finger after each slicing. Pile few slices and chop into small cubes and collect in a cup of water diluted by buttermilk.
  2. Soak tur dal for half an hour and blanch it with salt just until it is cooked but not mushy.
  3. Using the same water blanch chopped banana stem with required salt and strain excess stock.
  4. Now heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds, add urad dal, chopped dry chilies, curry leaves and sprinkle asafoetida.
  5. Add cooked dal and vegetable to the tempering and mix well for a minute. Turn off heat.
  6. Top with grated coconut and serve with sambar or rasam rice.
TIP
  1. Use the blanched water like you'd use stock or simply add pepper powder, lime juice and have it like a clear soup.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/
Adikaram: அன்புடைமை

Kural: 71

அன்பிற்கும் உண்டோ அடைக்குந்தாழ் ஆர்வலர்
புன்கணீர் பூசல் தரும்.

Meaning:

Can the love be latched? The tears of affectionate would reveal it.

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Pineapple Rasam

Pineapple recipe #2: Rasam. For those whom the rasam vessel in the picture looks a bit wierd, I would like to add some explanation here. There is an old traditional habit brought down especially by brahmins to make rasam in ‘Eiyachombu’, a vessel made of tin. Some believe it is poisonous to cook in this vessel but that is probably wrong. There are two types of Eiyam, kareiyam(lead) and vellaeiyam(tin). Tin that is non-poisonous is used in making this vessel while lead is poisonous. There is no nutritional benefits that I know of for using this eiyachombu but it is said to enhance the taste and flavor of rasam. I started using it ever since I got married after knowing of it from my aunt and we are used to it now, no food poisoning or whatever.

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Pineapple Rasam
Serves 4
Pineapple Flavored Rasam or South Indian Soup
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Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1. Pineapple - 2 tbsp
  2. 2. Tamarind - 1/2 plum sized
  3. 3. Pigeon peas stock - 2 cups (tur dal water)
  4. 4. Rasam Powder - 1 tbsp
  5. 5. Salt to taste
  6. 6. Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
For Tempering
  1. 1. Ghee - 2 tsp
  2. 2. Mustard seeds+ Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  3. 3. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  4. 4. Red chili - 1
  5. 5. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Instructions
  1. Boil a cup of water with pineapple crushed in to it.
  2. Add tamarind extract, dal stock, salt, turmeric, rasam powder to it and bring it to a boil and turn off heat.
  3. For tempering, heat ghee and splutter mustard seeds & cumin seeds, add red chil, curry leaves, asafoetida and pour it over the hot rasam.
  4. Serve with steamed rice and dry curry.
TIP
  1. * I had used the skin of pineapple to get pineapple stock which I strained and used in rasam. I then added few chunks of pineapple to rasam before boiling.
  2. * Add a tad bit of jaggery to give it a fruity taste.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/
Adikaram: புதல்வரைப் பெறுதல்.

Kural: 66

குழல்இனிது யாழ்இனிது என்பதம் மக்கள்
மழலைச்சொல் கேளா தவர்.

Meaning:

Those who haven’t heard the sounds of their little ones say the music of flute and veena are sweet.

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Plum Rasam

If there is only one food that I can have for the rest of my life I would perhaps choose ‘Rasam’! Though there are numerous variants of rasam, they are the same in the base usually and almost taste similar. Lemon rasam is what I frequently make as it requires no tamarind but others are all equally appetizing. I had few Indian plums left which were pretty sour in taste and I used them in my rasam today.

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Plum Rasam
Serves 4
South Indian Soup Served with Steamed Rice
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1. Indian Plum - 2
  2. 2. Tamarind - 2" strip
  3. 3. Tur dal water - 1 cup (Pigeon peas stock)
  4. 4. Salt as per taste
  5. 5. Rasam powder - 3/4 tbsp (adjust depending on the spiciness)
  6. 6. Coriander for garnish
For Tempering
  1. 1. Ghee - 1 tsp
  2. 2. Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  3. 3. Curry leaves - 1 spring
  4. 4. Dried red chilies - 1 or 2
  5. 5. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  6. 6. Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Instructions
  1. Soak tamarind in water for 5 minutes and extract the juice out of it.
  2. Mix dal water, salt and crushed plums to the tamarind extract.
  3. Bring it to a boil and add rasam powder to it, turn off heat in a minute.
  4. Prepare tempering by heating ghee in a tadka pan: splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, add curry leaves, dried chilies, and sprinkle asafoetida.
  5. Pour the tempering over the rasam and garnish with coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot with steamed rice and papads.
TIP
  1. * Do not boil rasam for longer, it will change the taste and flavor.
  2. * Adjust tamarind as per the sourness of plums.
  3. * Making rasam in lead vessel makes it tastier.
  4. * Add crushed garlic with peel to rasam before boiling it for added flavor.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/
Adikaram: புதல்வரைப் பெறுதல்.

Kural: 61

பெறுமவற்றுள் யாமறிவது இல்லை அறிவறிந்த
மக்கட்பேறு அல்ல பிற.

Meaning:

Whatsoever one gets is not greater than the wise children.

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