Puli Curry (Puli Kulambu) : Pavakkai ( Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon), known as “Karela” in Hindi, belongs to the gourd family along with pumpkins and watermelons. It contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals and is very low in cholesterol and saturated fats. This vegetable is available all over India in all seasons, but the preparation styles differ from state to state. Here I give you my recipe for making pavakkai curry in the Tamil Nadu style.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Pavakkai: 2 medium size, approximately 200 grams weight
Shallot(small Onion): 75 grams (about 15)
Cloves garlic: 6
Red chili powder: 1.5 teaspoons
Coriander Powder: 1.5 teaspoons
Coconut gratings: 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek: 1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind: A small lime sized piece
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Oil: 3 tablespoons
Curry leaves:1 or 2 sprigs
Wash and cut pavakkai horizontally into discs. Chop 5 shallots and one tomato. Squeeze tamarind pulp adding some water to it. Heat a vessel with one tablespoon of oil and fry the 10 remaining shallots along with the cut tomatoes and 3 cloves of garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add red chili powder, coriander powder and the grated coconut and saute for a couple of minutes. Allow the fried ingredients to cool and then make into smooth paste in a blender.
In the same frying pan, add two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, then fenugreek and then the chopped onion. Then add 3 cloves of garlic along with the curry leaves. Next, add the sliced pavakkai pieces and fry for 10 minutes. Then add the turmeric powder. Stir often so that the vegetable is cooked evenly. When the vegetable is almost cooked, add the ground paste with salt, tamarind pulp and two cups of water. Allow this to simmer till the curry thickens to your required consistency.
Tips: You can make the same style curry with other vegetables like drumstick (murungaikai) or Brinjal instead of pavakkai.
Kathirikai Gothsu (or Kothsu) is a delicious sauce-like side-dish for breakfast items like Idli, Dosa, Uthappam and Idiappam.
Kathirikai Gothsu (or Kothsu) is a delicious sauce-like side-dish for breakfast items like Idli, Dosa, Uthappam and Idiappam. It contains a combination of healthy vegetables such as potatoes, brinjals, tomatoes etc, and goes well with rice-based breakfast items. Gothsu is often a welcome change in place of the usual side-dishes like coconut chutney and sambar.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Brinjal: 250 grams
Potato: 1 big one ( 125 grams)
Tomato: 4 small ones ( 125 grams)
Onion: 2 (125 grams)
Green chilies: 5
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Salt: 0.75 of a teaspoon
Turmeric Powder: 0.5 teaspoon
Mustard seeds: 0.5 a teaspoon
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves: small bunch
Chop onions, green chiliies and tomatoes. Peel the potato and dice into small cubes. Remove the stalks from the brinjals and dice into small pieces.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the chopped onions and green chilies and saute.
Next add the curry leaves, potato, brinjals, tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and 1.5 cups of water and pressure cook for 8 minutes with the cooker lid closed.
Finally, mash the cooked vegetables well to a thick consistency, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
The peninsular Southern India has a long coast on its eastern side bordering the Bay of Bengal and so we get a wide variety of sea food like fish, crab and prawns in Tamil Nadu. Meen Columbu or fish curry is one of the most traditional fish dishes made in Tamil Nadu and other southern states. Most varieties of fish can be used to make this dish. Preferences vary from region to region.
For non-vegetarians, fish is a healthy food containing omega-3 fatty acids which reduce bad cholesterol. Fish is also rich in protein.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Fish : any fish 250 grams.
Small onions (shallots) – 75 grams
Cloves garlic – 8 nos
Tomato – 2 nos or 50 grams
Tamarind – one lime size piece
Turmeric powder – half teaspoon
Chilli powder – one and a half teaspoon
Coriander powder – one teaspoon
Mustard seed – half a teaspoon
Fennel seeds (methi) – half a teaspoon
Oil – 1 table spoon
Coconut gratings – 2 table spoon
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Wash and clean fish thoroughly. Soak tamarind in warm water and squeeze the pulp. Coconut gratings must be ground to a fine paste. Chop onion finely.
Heat a pan and pour oil. First add the mustard seeds and when it splutters, add fennel seeds. Then add the finely chopped onions and whole garlic. When the onions turn golden yellow, add the curry leaves and chopped tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Then you can add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and the tamarind pulp. Add a cup of water and half a teaspoon salt and allow the curry to boil a few minutes. When the curry is boiling, add the cleaned fish pieces along with the coconut paste. After adding the fish, allow the curry to simmer for a few minutes.
Tips: Unlike meat, fish takes only a few minutes to cook. For fish curry, even the fish heads can be used.
Crab Masala or Crab Gravy is a delicacy that us relished in tamil nadu. Crab meat in general is consumed all over the world as a delicacy. Crab meat can provide essential vitamins and minerals and is generally believed to be a healthy addition to the human diet. It is extremely low in fat. In India crabs are cooked with traditional spices, unlike in the US where it is often just steamed and eaten with butter or vinegar.
This recipe is a common traditional way of cooking and serving crab in South India.
Cooking Time: 45 minute
Servings : 4
Crab : 1 kilo
Clove : 1
Cinnamon : 1 small piece
Big Onion : 2
Green Chilly : 1
Cumin seeds : 1 teaspoon
Black pepper : 1 teaspoon
Aniseed : ½ teaspoon
Coriander Leaves : a few sprigs
Ginger Garlic paste : 1 ½ teaspoon
Coriander powder : 1teaspoon
Chilly powder : 1teaspoon
Turmeric powder : ½ teaspoon
Coconut grating : 1cup
Oil: 2 tablespoon
Salt : 1 teaspoon
Method : Grind coconut in a blender to a smooth paste and keep aside.
Grind cumin, black pepper, green chilly, aniseed and coriander leaves. Chop onions. Cut the crab into halves leaving the legs attached to the body. Remove inedible parts of the crab (the gut) and set the cleaned crab aside.
Heat oil in a pan. First add the clove and cinnamon and then the chopped onions and fry till they turn brown. Next add the ginger-garlic paste followed by the ground mixture of pepper, chilly, aniseed and coriander along with coriander and chilly powder and fry for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add the cleaned crab along with turmeric powder, salt and a cup of water, and cook for 8 minutes. When the crab is half cooked, add the coconut paste. Allow this crab masala to simmer for 5 minutes till you get the desired consistency.
Tips: Cleaning crabs will need some experience as one has to remove the hard shell and the inedible parts of the crab.
Chicken Curry or Chicken Kuzhambu is popular among non-vegetarians in Tamilnadu. This dish, which in the west would be considered a curry, goes well with rice, chapatis, idlis etc.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Chicken : 500 grams
Curry leaves: one big bunch (fresh and tender leaves)
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut oil: 1 teaspoon
Onion: 2 or 100 grams
Ginger-Garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Chili Powder: 11/2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder: 2 teaspoon
Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup
Aniseed: 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon: 1″ piece
Salt: 3/4 teaspoon
Oil: 1 tablespoon
Chop onions. Grind the grated coconut to a smooth paste. Remove the stalks of the curry leaves and crush the leaves using the blender for a few seconds. Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Add two cups of water to the chicken pieces, turmeric powder, salt and the crushed currry leaves pulp, along with one teaspoon coconut oil. Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes and then add the chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder and coridander powder. Allow to boil for another 5 minutes. In another skillet heat a little cooking oil and stir fry the aniseed, clove and cinnamon pieces. Add this to the boiling chicken gravy along with the coconut paste. Bring to simmer for a couple of minutes and take off the stove. Serve hot with rice or chapati.