Sorry for the two day break in series...not that i did not cook, but the weather has been too glorious to sit and blog. I have been lingering around in the balcony watching from the heights as the monsoons sweep over the landscape, clicking photos of the grey clouds with silver linings, and generally lazing around in the pleasant turn in the weather scene. It was so hot and sultry beginning June that I was fervently praying for an early monsoon - and it has started in full force from the middle of last week. The plants in my balcony are enjoying it and so am I :) Here's the pending two days account one after the other. I also have a wonderful bread coming up for you, called the Tassajara bread that we baked yesterday. Will find some time to sneak the baking notes somewhere in the middle of the traditional lunch series.
Day 6 Menu - Mor Kozhambu & Vazhakkai curry
Mor Kozhambu is a buttermilk based Tamil 'kadhi', which can have fried or sauteed okra pieces, chunks of cooked white pumpkin, or fried colocassia pieces. Even plain, it is delicious, very easy to make with the minimum of ingredients. It is also a delicious accompaniment to dosas and idlis which no hotel will ever serve you. There are two varieties of this buttermilk based kozhambu, one made with green chillies, which is pale green in colour and one made with red chillies, which is a pale pink in colour. The recipe varies in the masala that is ground for each.
Mor Kozhambu along with onion uthappam is truly mouth watering. When had with rice, it is usually accompanied by a vegetable-paruppu usili which is cooked veggies like beans / tendli mixed with crumbled steamed lentil paste, so that the proteins from the lentil usili make up for the lack of dal in the mor kozhambu. However, I made this with a simple plantain saute, which is also an equally superb combination.
Recipe for Mor Kozhambu (Pink variety)
3 cups thick buttermilk, slightly sour is better
1 cup water
To saute: 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tbsp raw rice grains, 3 dried red chillies
1/4 cup fresh coconut
1 tsp salt
Tempering: 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 dried red chilli
1. Whisk the buttermilk and water in a heavy bottomed pan.
2. In a wok, heat 1/2 tsp oil, saute the fenugreek seeds, raw rice and dried chillies till the seeds turn darker (not brown though), and the rice becomes opaque. Remove, cool and grind with the coconut into a fine paste, using upto 1/4 cup water.
3. Add this paste to the buttermilk. Season with salt.
4. Place this mix on low heat, stirring all the while . This is the most important step, as even a minute of leaving this on the gas will make the buttermilk separate into whey and curd, which will render this dish useless.
5. Gentle heat and constant stirring until this comes to a simmer, will cook the paste keeping the buttermilk intact.
6. In the wok, heat a tsp of oil. Temper with the ingredients given and transfer it over the mor kozhambu. Keep covered until ready to serve.
If adding vegetables, chunks of cooked white pumpkin, or boiled, sliced and fried colocassia slices, or fried okra slices can be added to the kozhambu during step.5 (simmering stage)
Recipe for Vazhakkai curry
4 medium sized slim plantains (do not choose the short thick variety for this recipe)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1. Tail and top the plantains. Lightly peel them. Cut through vertically into two and then slice to get semi circular slices of medium thickness. This is the only effort involved in this recipe.
2. Heat the oil in the wok. Splutter mustard and cumin seeds, add the plantain slices.
3. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, stir to mix well.
4. Sprinkle water, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring around 1-2 times in between until the plantain is soft and cooked.
5. If you want a crisper curry, add a tbsp of oil at this stage and let the curry crisp on a low flame without stirring for up to 5 minutes.
Lunch Series so far
Day 1 - Vengaya Sambar, Vendakkai curry, Potato Roast
Day 2 - Peerkangai thuvaiyal, Red Chauli
Day 3 - Keerai Milagoottal, Cabbage Curry
Day 4 - Capsicum Baath, Pumpkin pachidi, Thair saadam
Day 5 - Carrot Sambar, Avaraikkai Curry
Day 6 - Mor Kozhambu, Vazhakkai Curry