Unlike most of the greens which grow as herbs or plants, these ‘Agathi Keerai’ are leaves of a tree known as the ‘August tree ‘ or ‘ the hummingbird tree ‘ in English. It has a slight tangy bitter taste to it though it has several benefits such as fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is an easily available greens throughout all the seasons of the year in the southern states of India. Besides, cooking it without spices makes it an easy dish to prepare.
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
1. Agathi Keerai bunch: 1
2. Mustard seeds: 1 Teaspoon
2. Onion: Big 1 ( approximate75 grams)
3. G. Chili: 2
4. Garlic Cloves: 6
5. Coconut gratings: 0.25 Cup
6. Oil: 1 tablespoon
7. Salt: 0.75 Teaspoon
8. Water: 0.25 Cup
Choose a green tender bunch of these greens without mature yellow color leaves. Remove the tender leaves from the stalks and wash them thoroughly. Chop them into tiny pieces and keep aside. Cut the onion, green chilli, garlic cloves into small pieces. In a skillet, add the oil and keep it over medium flame. First, put the mustard seeds to splutter and then the chopped onion, green chilli and garlic pieces to saute for a few minutes. Then add the chopped greens with water and cover it with a lid to cook for 7 to 8 minutes turning the greens well now and then. When the greens are cooked well, mix the salt and coconut gratings. Let it simmer over low flame for another 5 minutes till the water is fully absorbed.
Tips: This is a side dish which is a good combination for rice-based simple meals.
Any day you feel like having a spicy, hot curry with rice, especially on a day when the usual non-vegetarian items like fish and meat are not easily available in the market, you choose to go for ‘Karuvadu kuzhambu” with the readily stocked dry salted fish at home. Besides, adding local fresh vegetables like Drumstick, Brinjal and even potato helps to add taste and nutrition to it.
Soak the dry fish for 5 minutes in water and remove the scales, fins and other unwanted parts of the fish. After cleaning, wash the dry fish several times in clean water and keep aside applying the turmeric powder. Chop the shallots, Tomatoes, vegetables and make the Coconut gratings to a smooth paste. Soak the tamarind pulp in water. Once done, squeeze it and keep 1.5 cup tamarind water ready.
Keep a vessel preferably a mud pot over medium flame and pour oil. Add first the mustard seeds, followed by the fenugreek and Cumin. After this, add the chopped onions, green chilli, garlic cloves and curry leaves and saute for 5 minutes. Once cooked to a golden brown, add the Chopped tomatoes along with the vegetables and fry well for a couple of minutes. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, salt with 1 cup water and cook for 10 minutes covering it with a lid. Pour the squeezed tamarind along with 1.5 cups water and add the dry fish to cook for another 5 minutes. Check if the vegetables are cooked well. Finally, mix the coconut paste to the gravy and stir well. Let it simmer over low flame till the oil separates on top and you get the correct consistency of the curry.
Karuvadu Kuzhambu is ready to be served with hot rice.
Tips : Taste the curry before adding salt as the dry fish has already salt in it. Fried Pappad or ‘paruppu thuvaiyal ” is a good side dish for this dry fish curry with hot rice.
Vazhaithandu is the inner part of the banana trunk. Once the banana fruit is harvested, the trunk is also consumed and is a very healthy vegetable.
Most parts of a Banana plant, like the fruits both ripe and raw, flowers and the tender core of the trunk as stem are consumed in Southern India. Besides, the remaining leaves are used as plates for serving food. The Banana plant has an enormous number of uses. The stem has many vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is highly sought after for its fibre content. Cleaning all the outer layers and the fibre from the stem takes some time. After chopping into tiny pieces, they can be cooked along with dhal or simply served as a salad.
COOKING TIME : 1 hour
SERVINGS : 3
1. Vazhai Thandu ( Tender Banana stem ) : 1 medium size one
2. Green Gram Dhal : 1/3 Cup ( 60 grams }
3. Onion : 2
4. G. chilli: 3
5. Turmeric Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
6. Cumin Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
7. Coconut Gratings : 0.25 Cup
8. Oil : 1 Tablespoon
9. Mustard seed : 1 Teaspoon
10. Curry Leaves : 2 sprigs
11. Salt : 0. 5 Teaspoon
12. Water : 1 Cup
Wash the green gram dhal with water and soak in water for 15 minutes.
Remove the thick outer layer of the stem until you get the tender core of the stem. Once done, chop the tender core into tiny pieces removing the fibre which comes out constantly. Keep a bowl of water or sour milk to put the chopped pieces to keep them from changing colour. Also, cut the onions and green chilli into small pieces.
Cook the soaked dhal in one cup water over medium flame covering it with a lid in a skillet for 10 minutes. When the dhal is cooked nearly 3/4th, add the chopped “thandu” along with cumin powder and turmeric powder. Cook the dhal thandu for another 7 to 8 minutes. Keep another frying pan over medium flame with oil. Add mustard, chopped onion, green chilli and curry leaves and saute for 5 minutes. Add the cooked dhal thandu to it. Finally, mix the salt and coconut gratings into it.
TIPS : Half a cup of thick curd can be mixed with the cooked dish. This is optional.
The botanical name of Kovakkai is Coccinia and it is known by different names in the Southern states of India. Besides, it is commonly cooked and consumed as an unripe fruit. Throughout the year this vegetable is available in the market . Also, it is a rich source of beta-carotene.
COOKING TIME : 45 minutes
SERVINGS : 4
1. Kovakkai ( Coccinia ) : 300 grams
2. Onion : 2 ( 100 grams)
3. Tomato : 2 ( 100 grams )
4. Turmeric Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
5. Chili Powder : 1 Teaspoon
6. Salt : 1 Teaspoon
7. Oil : 2 Tablespoon
Wash the vegetable thoroughly in water and chop each one vertically into 5, 6 thin slices. In addition, slice the Onion and Tomato similarly. Keep a skillet with oil over medium flame and add the sliced vegetables along with Onion and Tomato. Cover it with a lid and cook for ten minutes stirring it often. When it is half cooked, add the Turmeric powder with Chili powder. Cook for another ten minutes reducing the flame. When it is cooked well and tender, sprinkle the salt. Once done, remove from fire and serve along with rice as side dish.
Tips : Before cooking make sure that the kovakkai is fresh and firm to touch.
Hot or cold Gulab Jamun can be consumed at all times and is relished by many people, not only in the southern India but across the country. The ingredients are milk solids and sugar mainly. Though readily available packed gulab jamun mix is there in the market, making them at home with your own choice of milk products has its own taste and sweetness.! It can be made with milk powder or milk solid known as “khoa” which is available in market.
COOKING TIME : 1 hour
NO OF sweets : 45 of Medium size
1. Khoa (unsweetend) : 250 grams
2. Maida ( Refined wheat flour) : 75 grams
3. Thick Curd : 1 tablespoon
4. Soda bi-carb ( Cooking soda ) : a pinch
5. Water : 0.25 Cup
6. Cashew and Pista : 25 no
7. Ghee (clarified butter) : 500 grams
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING SUGAR SYRUP
1. Refined Sugar : 2.5 Cup ( 5oo grams )
2. WAter : 3 Cups ( 600 ml )
3. Rose Essence : 1.5 Teaspoon
Keep a bowl over medium flame and boil the sugar with water for 5 minutes and you will get one thread consistency. Remove from flame and remove the scum using a strainer. Add the Rose essence to it and keep it aside. Sieve the maida and the soda bi-carb and keep. In a bowl put the khoa and mash it with hands gently so that there are no hard lumps in it. Add the sieved maida with curd to the khoa and knead it gently. Keep the dough aside for 15 minutes.
Break the nuts into small pieces. Make round small balls out of the kneaded dough and place 3,4 chopped nuts in them. Take care to make smooth same size balls out of the dough. Keep a frying pan with ghee (clarified butter) over low flame and fry the balls 5 or 6 at a time. Fry the balls evenly by turning them gently. Take them out and put them in the hot sugar syrup. Keep them in the sugar syrup for an hour or two because it takes time for the fried balls to absorb the sugar syrup and become soft and sweet.
Tips : Cardamom powder or saffron can be replaced with Rose essence. If you plan to make Khoa at home, boil milk with fat for an hour over slow flame stirring constantly to get the final product of solid milk content called “khoa”.