Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Arai Pulikulambu (Spicy tamarind gravy with green peas and yam)

Fresh Spring produce has just begun to trickle into markets - I've started spotting my favorite spring fruits like fresh mangoes and berries in my local grocery stores. One other vegetable that I wait for in spring is fresh Green peas in shells - Sweet peas, Pod peas, Green Peas - however you want to call them. Fresh peas are the best and I enjoy the fresh taste of a pod peas which is the only version I have tasted in my chilhood, unlike the frozen and canned peas that are available now. I used to have immense pleasure in popping out the peas from their shells in my younger days because they are so much easier than chopping onions or any other vegetables. Anything easy in the kitchen, I can do it.

This recipe is from my good friend who cooks some amazing dishes. I fall for her authentic south indian dishes that taste awesome and bring those traditional flavors back to my memory. I have got quite a few nice recipes from her which I obviously would love to share in my blog and here comes one of them. This dish is similar to vathal kulambu or kara kulambu, but uses only half of the tamarind quantity of the regular vathal kulambu and hence the name Arai Pulikulambu meaning "light tamarind gravy". It has a unique combination of coconut milk, lentils, peas and yam. Peas can be substituted with chick peas too. I've tried both versions and both are equally tasty. The peas version nicely brings out the mild yet vibrant flavor of peas combined with coconut milk and I fully enjoyed a couple of servings of this gravy with white rice.


1. Peas - 1 cup

2. Yam (Chenaikilangu) - chopped into 1 inch cubes - 1 cup (Frozen is fine)

3. Cooked Tuvar dal - 1 cup

4. Tamarind juice - 1/2 cup (not too thick)

5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

6. Sambar powder - 1 tsp

7. Chana dal - 1 tbsp

8. Dry red chillies - 2

9. Cumin seeds - 2 tsp

10. Coconut Milk (not too thick) - 1 cup

11. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

12. Urad dal - 1 tsp

13. Curry leaves & Corriander leaves - a few


1. Pressure cook the tuvar dal and set aside (cooked dal should be about 1 cup)
2. Take a wide pan and roast the chana dal, cumin seeds and red chillies in medium heat until a nice aroma rises. Cool and grind to a coarse powder.
3. In the same pan, boil together Tamarind juice, Yam, peas, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. You can add additional water (about 1 cup) to this mixture and let it boil for 10 - 15 mins or until the vegetables are almost cooked.
4. Now add the cooked dal and the ground powder to this mixture and mix well. Let it boil for a few mins.
5. Add the coconut milk and let it boil.
6. Finally heat oil or 1 tbsp ghee in a separate pan, season with mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add it to the boiling mixture.
7. Mix well and boil it for 2 or 3 mins. Garnish with corriander leaves.

In fact, this dish is best when left overnight and consumed the next day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cauliflower Paneer Burji (Stir-fry)

Here is yet another yummy cauliflower dish. Have you ever heard about Paneer and cauliflower combo? It sounded new to me when I came across this recipe in Tarla Dalal's recipe book. Probably its just my ignorance but I thought this was a less popular combo. I know any paneer fans out there will like this recipe. And anyone like me who is a cauliflower fan will double like it! As mentioned in my previous post, if I had to name my favorite vegetable, cauliflower would be somewhere top in my list. Somehow the delicate taste and intricate florets make me fall for it. So, when I came across this recipe, I knew I would like it no matter how I make it. I did a few modifications from what I saw in the recipe book to suit my taste. Hope you all like it too.


Cauliflower - 1 medium
Paneer - 1 cup (grated)
Onions - chopped finely - 1/2 cup
G.chillies - 2 chopped finely
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 1 small
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Amchur powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi (crushed) - 1 tsp
Corriander leaves to garnish

1. Wash the cauliflower florets thoroughly and grate them finely (I usually grate it through a food processor and just takes 5 mins). Set aside.
2. Grate the paneer and set aside. (Use food processor if you have one).
3. Chop the onions, g.chillies and tomatoes very finely. This brings a nice texture to the dish.
4. Heat oil in large shallow pan. Season with Cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a min.
5. Add onions, fry until they are soft.
6. Add tomotoes, all the spice powders (except kasoori methi) and fry in low heat for about 5 mins.
7. Add grated cauliflower and salt, mix well and cover in low heat for about 5 mins. They get cooked fast as they are grated.
8. Increase the heat, add grated Paneer, Kasoori Methi and keep stir-frying in high heat for about 3 - 5mins.
9. Add corriander leaves and fry for another min or so.

Remove from heat immediately.