Dhalcha is a curry item usually served along with “Biriyani” as an accompaniment. It is prepared with a combination of two dhals, mutton bones and various vegetables. This food dish can be consumed along with “Idli, dosa and chappathi ” etc. A minimum of 5 vegetables are used for this curry.
Cooking Time: 1 hour INGREDIENTS: 1. Mutton with bones : 200 grams 2. Toor Dhal & Bengal Gram Dhal together : 0.75 Cup ( 150 grams ) 3. Cumin seeds : 0.5 Teaspoon 4. Turmeric Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon 5. Ginger & Garlic paste : 1.5 Teaspoon 6. Cinnamon : 1 Small Piece 7. Cardamom : 2 8. Cloves : 2 9. Mint & Coriander leaves : small bunch 10. Chili Powder : 1.5 Teaspoon 11. Shallots : 50 Grams 12. G. Chili : 3 13. Tomato : 1 14. Salt : 1 Teaspoon 15. Water : 3 Cups 16. Vegetables : one drumstick, 2 Eggplants, 1 Potato, 1 small piece ashgourd, 1 small mango, raw Banana etc. 17. Tamarind Juice : 0.25 Cup 18. Coconut Paste : 0.25 Cup
Wash the dhals and soak in 1 cup water for 15 minutes. Wash mutton, bones in water. Clean and dice the vegetables and keep them aside. In a pressure cooker add items 1 to 13 from the above list along with 2 cups of water and cook the same for 8 minutes. Then add all the diced vegetables along with salt and cook for another 5 minutes till the vegetables are tender and soft. The tamarind juice along with coconut paste can be mixed in the curry and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Heat a skillet with oil and saute the cinnamon, cloves,cardamom and the curry leaves. Pour it over the boiling curry and let it simmer for 5 minutes over low flame.
Tips: Some prefer adding mutton fat along with bones for making “dhalcha”. Adding coconut paste is optional.
Ginger Syrup & Ginger Candy : Ginger is used as a spice in many of the food items in Tamil Nadu as it enhances flavour and taste to them. It has nutritional value also and helps in reducing inflammation and indigestion. Here making of ginger syrup is described. It can be stored for a couple of months and the remaining ginger pieces can be used as ginger candy, known as “inji morappa” in Tamil.
METHOD: Buy tender ginger and clean it with water. Remove the skin and dice it. Put all ingredients except sodium metabisulphite in a pressure cooker and cook over moderate flame for 7,8 minutes. Then mix the sodium meta bi sulphate well in it. Remove the cooked ginger pieces and keep them aside. Store the ginger syrup in clean bottles. Tips: one tablespoon of this ginger syrup can be added to either lime juice or orange juice. And it goes well with all tea whether plain black or with milk, cream etc.
GINGER CANDY ( INJI MORAPPA )
A piece of ginger candy after a heavy meal especially non vegetarian meal helps in easy digestion.
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1. Ginger : The remaining ginger pieces after removing from the ginger syrup, which is approximately 250 grams. 2. Refined sugar : 125 grams
METHOD: Add the cooked ginger to the cooker along with the sugar and cook over slow flame for 3, 4 minutes mixing the sugar well so that the ginger pieces are well coated with sugar. Remove from stove and dry it in a plate in shade. Store the Morappa in jars.
The name “kesari”, a sweet dish brings to our mind the ghee dripping sweet always associated with weddings and other festivals in our Tamil Nadu state. Rava (Semolina) known as “sujji” in Hindi, is made from a soft kind of wheat known as Durham wheat. It does not take much time and labour to prepare this item and so any guests who just drop in, can be entertained with this sweet dish in a moment.
COOKING TIME : 20 minutes SERVINGS: 4
INGREDIENTS: 1. Rava (Semolina) : 1 Cup ( 175 grams) 2.Refined Sugar : 1 Cup ( 175 grams ) 3. Ghee (clarified butter) : 0.5 Cup ( 100 ml ) 4. Cardamom : 4 5. Cashew and Raisins : 10 Each 6. Food Colour or Saffron : a pinch 7. Milk : 0.5 Cup ( 100 ml ) 8. Water : 1.5 Cup ( 300 ml )
Over a moderate flame heat a skillet with one tablespoon ghee and fry the cashew nuts and then the raisins and keep them aside. In the remaining ghee, add the rava and fry it well for nearly 5 minutes till you get the light brownish yellow colour with good smell. Keep boiling water with milk in the next burner ready. Add the boiling water, milk with the colour to the fried rava and keep turning the rava with a ladle till it is completely cooked without lumps. Cooking of rava takes another 5 to 7 minutes only. Now add the sugar to this cooked rava along with crushed cardamom. Keep stirring it till the sugar melts and blends with the rava. Slowly add the ghee and the ghee is mostly absorbed in the sweet. Finally add the fried cashew and raisins.
Tips: Adding colour is your choice- you can add saffron or any colour of your liking to the milk.
Vada or Paruppu Vada: Some snacks are available easily in almost all street corner Tea shops in Tamil Nadu and people love to have them any time of the day along with a hot cup of tea. One such favourite item is ” Keerai Paruppu Vada”. It is a simple snack item consumed along with breakfast or just served as a snack in the evening with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Traditionally it is served as one of the dishes on the banana leaf along with other food items for festivals or weddings. Ingredients such as Bengal gram dhal and greens etc make it a nutritious and tasty food item.
Servings: 5 Cooking Time : 30 minutes ( excluding the time for soaking of dhal for 3 hours)
1. Bengal Gram Dhal : 1 full cup ( 200 grams ) 2. Onion : 2 no 3. G. Chilli : 3 no 4.Cloves Garlic : 2 no 5. Aniseed : 0.5 Teaspoon 6. Coriander and Curry leaves: 2,3 sprigs 7. Greens : 0.5 Cup 8. Salt : 0.75 Teaspoon 9. Oil (preferably sunflower or any refined oil): 250 ml
Wash and soak the Bengal gram dhal in enough water for 3 hours. Clean the greens and wash them well in water. Drain the water and chop them to tiny pieces. Chop the g. chili, onions, the coriander and curry leaves. Then drain the water from the Bengal gram dhal completely and keep a tablespoon of soaked dhal separate without grinding. Put the remaining dhal in a blender along with aniseed, garlic pieces etc and grind them to a coarse pulp. To this coarse pulp add salt, one tablespoon whole dhal, chopped onions, g. chili, greens, coriander and curry leaves, and mix them well. Make small balls similar to a lime and flatten them with your hand to round shaped vadas with the edges slightly thinner. In a skillet heat oil over moderate flame. Fry them 5 or 6 at a time turning them to the other side once they are cooked to a golden yellow colour.
Tips: Adding a few leaves of cleaned chopped mint gives a unique taste to the snack. Greens suitable for this “vada” belong to the Amaranth family.
NATTU KOZHI KUZHAMBU: There was a time in our place when only chickens raised and reared in the back yard of the houses were available for consumption. Nowadays most people go for the readily available broiler chicken. Still some people prefer Nattu Kozhi (country chicken) for it has a unique taste of its own which simply surpasses any meat though the cleaning and the preparations of the curry take longer and are somewhat cumbersome.
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Country chicken ( meat): 1 kg
Shallots : 150 grams
Onion: 2 (approximately 100 grams)
Curry leaves: 4 sprigs
Ginger Garlic paste : 1.5 Teaspoon
Cinnamon: 1 small piece
Aniseed : 1 Teaspoon
Cumin : 1 Teaspoon
Pepper : 1 Teaspoon
Chili powder: 2 Teaspoon
Coriander Powder: 1.5 Teaspoon
Grated Coconuts: 0.5 Cup
Turmeric powder : 1 Teaspoon
Salt 1.5 Teaspoon
Oil : 25 Cup (preferably gingelly oil)
Water: 3 Cups
Clean the chicken well with water and keep aside. Chop the onions. Peel and fry the shallots in a teaspoon of oil in a skillet and make a paste in a grinder. Fry the aniseed, pepper, cumin, cloves and cinnamon in a skillet without any oil lightly and before taking off the stove add the coriander and chili powder and fry for a couple of minutes. Powder the ingredients and keep it aside. Grated Coconuts should be ground to a smooth paste. Now use a pressure cooker to heat oil over moderate flame . First fry the chopped onions till they turn brown in color and then add the curry leaves along with the ground shallots, ginger garlic paste and fry well. Then add the ground pepper, cumin etc powder along with the cleaned chicken pieces, salt, turmeric powder and fry for a few minutes. Add two cups of water and cook well for 10 to 15 minutes closing the lid well so that the meat gets cooked well to become soft and tender. Finally add the coconut paste with one more cup of water and let it simmer for ten minutes till the oil separates in the gravy.