Category Archives: south indian

Winter Warmers 4: Srilankan style “Puttu & Kuzhambu”

In this 4th post for the Winter Warmers Series, I wanted to share with you two recipes close to my heart. It’s actually the food that I crave when I return home after a long holiday or time away from home. You can’t beat the comfort that comes with this meal and the flavour and texture combination of these together are just divine!

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So the first is for ‘Puttu’ or ‘Pittu’. This is a healthy but really delicious main dish made with steamed rice flour and is found very commonly in Sri Lanka and Kerala. It’s usually the centre of the meal around which sits various other accompanying dishes and the Puttu soaks up all the flavours from each and is filling too!

The second recipe is for ‘Kuzhambu’ or ‘Kulambu’. This is accompanying dish to the Puttu and is made with a tamarind gravy into which sits sauteed vegetables. My favourite type of Kuzhambu to go with Puttu is ‘Kathrikkai’ (Aubergine) Kuzhambu as the aubergine just melts in the mouth and this vegetable absorbs the tamarind and spices so well to give this amazing aroma….yummm!

So I hope you enjoy these recipes and do let me know if you try them out yourselves or eat them at a Sri Lankan restaurant near you ūüôā

Suji x

Puttu

(serves about 2 – 4 people)

What you need:

  • 2 cups steamed red rice flour
  • 1 cup shredded/grated coconut (0r dessicated coconut soaked in 1/2 cup water)
  • Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
  • Hot water – keep about 4 cups aside but you may need more or less depending on the consistency

How to make it:

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and make into a loose dough (but you don’t have to knead it like bread). Then, flour your hands and then roll the dough between your fingers so the dough looks like large¬†breadcrumbs.

I quite like this You Tube video showing a Puttu technique using your hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8JZC1vQikA

OR

1. Put the ingredients into a food processor and pulse, adding the water a little at a time to get the same consistency.

If either method makes the dough too wet then you can just mix in a little rice flour.

2. Mix in the coconut and then place in a steamer. I usually cover the bottom of my steamer with a thin & damp cloth/muslin. The cloth must be big enough to then wrap¬†up the Puttu mixture. You don’t need to tie the ends of the cloth, just place it over the mixture.

3. Steam until the Puttu is cooked fully, approximately 10 Р15 minutes (the aroma will be so nice and you will start to smell the fragrance of the coconut too!), and serve with a delicious curry like Kathrikkai Kuzhambu (see recipe below) or Soya Chunks & Beans curry.

If you have roasted moong dal flour, then you can add about a tablespoon of this with the red rice flour to give an even more aromatic Puttu ¬†ūüôā

puttu&kath2PM.png

Kathrikkai Kuzhambu (Aubergine in a Tamarind Gravy)

Aubergine is called “Kathrikkai” in Tamil and is a great vegetable to use in this kind of tamarind gravy or “Kuzhambu” as we call it. It¬†is a comforting¬†dish served with hot steamed Pittu or Rice. Chickpeas are not traditionally added but I think they compliment the Aubergine and provides a good portion of protein. The Aubergine is also traditionally deep fried, which obviously tastes yummy, but not healthy. So roasting the aubergine is a great way of still keeping the flavour and texture without a great amount of oil. The only thing with roasting is that you need a little more time, but it will be worth it in the end, I promise you!

This dish tastes great the day after cooking it, as it gives the aubergine time to soak in all the flavours. This is one¬†time¬†when I think Srilankan curry powder is a must and I, personally, think it really doesn’t taste the same with other masala’s.

What you need:

For roasting:

  • 3 medium aubergines¬†(about 500-600g)¬†

  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder

  • 1-2 teaspoons salt¬†

  • Oil – enough to coat all the aubergine

For the curry:

  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil¬†

  • 1 large¬†onion , diced¬†

  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or chopped

  • 2 sprigs curry leaves¬†

  • 2-3 green¬†chilies, slit lengthways¬†

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds

  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (alternatively, the juice of a lemon sized tamarind soaked in water)¬†

  • 2 teaspoon¬†Srilankan curry powder

  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder¬†(or more if you like it quite spicy)

  • 200ml thick coconut milk¬†

  • 250 ml water¬†

  • Salt to taste (approx 1 – 2 teaspoons)

How to make it:

1. Cut the Aubergine into strips of about 1 inch in width and about 3 inches in length. Be careful not to cut the¬†aubergine smaller than this as they may burn. At this point you can place the aubergine in a microwaveable dish and heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes. This is so they won’t absorb too much oil in the oven.

2. ¬†Add the salt and enough oil so all the aubergine is coated well. Place in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, turning them over half way through and adding a little more oil if they look too dry. You may need to adjust the timing of this according to your oven and you need to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn too much.

3. In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add the green chillies, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add the sliced garlic¬†and saut√© for about a¬†minute. Then add the diced onions and¬†cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and cooked through. They may turn brown¬†at the sides but that’s ok – it adds to the taste!

4. Add the salt, curry powder, red chilli powder and mix well. Then add the tamarind paste and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add the coconut milk and¬†water. Cover and cook until it thickens. Add the pinch of asafoetida and the roasted aubergine, chickpeas¬†and combine gently. At this stage, if you are not vegan, then a splash of double cream makes a really yummy, rich taste. ūüôā

5.  Cook for another 5 minutes and serve with hot Pittu or rice.

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Kerala, Lunch, mykitchenadventures, recipe, south India, south indian, Sri Lanka, Srilankan, sujiskitchen, TamBrahm, tamil, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Brussels the South Indian way :-)

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The Yuletide festivities are upon us and there are so many delicious seasonal Winter produce in the markets and Supermarkets out there. A typical seasonal veg here that our family loves is Brussels Sprouts. But I wanted to share with you a way to use them instead of the usual steaming or roasting, which is definitely a great way to get the full flavour of Brussel Sprouts, but you can also bring them alive with some gentle spices ūüôā

This is my favourite way of using Brussel Sprouts and using South Indian spices to make a light stir fry, or Poriyal as called in Tamil Nadu. It’s visually pleasing when you pair the Brussels with bright yellow Sweetcorn and garnished with coconut. I love the way this curry is not too fiery¬†as it uses gentle spices and so if you don’t like hot curries all the time, then this is perfect for you! You can leave out the dried red chillies completely if you are serving it to children.

A non-stick or ceramic pan is best for making this ‘Poriyal’ so the Brussels don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

If you are in a rush you can steam the chopped Brussel Sprouts in the microwave with a tablespoon of water. This will reduce the time needed for them to cook in the pan.

What you need:

  • Brussels Sprouts – 4 cups, finely chopped
  • Sweetcorn – 1 cup (defrosted if frozen)
  • Coconut – 1/2 cup – freshly grated or the unsweetened desiccated coconut¬†is fine
  • Ginger – 3 inch piece – finely grated
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Oil (flavourless) – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1 tsp or to taste

To Temper:

  • Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds -1 tsp
  • Split Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Whole dried chillies – x2
  • Asafoetida – a pinch

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the black mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping add the other ingredients under the ‘To Temper’ list above.
  2. Add the chopped Brussels Sprouts, sweetcorn and stir fry for 5 – 10 minutes until the Brussels are cooked (you will need less time if the Brussels Sprouts have already been steamed in advance)
  3. Finally add the salt, coconut and lemon juice and mix well. Check seasoning and serve ūüôā

brussels2

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Filed under brunch, Desi, Dinner, Food, indian, Kerala, mykitchenadventures, south India, south indian, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

May you be inspired!

What a foodtastic May has been! I feel like I haven’t been able to cope up with the plethora of foodie events going on at the moment. Eek! And as a result, this is a VERY delayed post …but a more concise one this time. I hope you like the different items in the #CookEatInspire elements of this blog post and¬†do let me what know what you think abour these. ūüôā

Thank you! Suji x

 

 

Cook

Jackfruit Curry (Polos Curry)

polos curry

This curry is taken from one which I have eaten every time we go to Sri Lanka. Although I haven’t found suitable fresh jackfruit here in the U.K, the tinned jackfruit seems to work very nicely indeed! You do need to make sure you don’t buy the ripened jackfruit as that is a different variety and would give a completely different taste. The type I bought from my local Asian Supermarket is called “Green Jackfruit” and a picture is below.

PM jackfruit

This is my own recipe which I have simplified as I feel that in this case reducing the variety of spices brings out the flavour of the jackfruit. Traditionalists may disagree, but there’s only one way to find out ūüôā

Serves 2 people

What you need:

  • 1 can¬† Green Jack fruit
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tsp Srilankan¬†curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons¬†coconut milk/coconut powder
  • salt to taste

To temper:

  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

How to make it:

  1.  Temper the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves in about 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Then add the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and  sautee until golden brown.
  3. Now add the curry powder and combine with the ingredients for about 30 seconds and then add the jackfruit, 2 tablespoons of water & salt.
  4. This next part is when you need some patience and some intuition. You need to cook the curry on a low flame until cooked. For me it took about 20 – 30 minutes and I used a heave bottomed pan and covered it with a lid. You may also need to add a little more water if it evaporates. You need the water to help cook the jackfruit.
  5. After the jackfruit is cooked through, add the coconut milk/coconut powder dissolved in water, and then cook for a further minutes.  Check the seasoning and then serve hot.

I like to serve this with red rice but it goes well with Roti’s too.

 

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Eat

Afternoon Chai with London Chai Party

I was very excited to be able to experience the wonderful food from the London Chai party ladies (Suchi, Gayathri and Nisha) at their Afternoon Chai event in East London! Having had their amazing 7 course Bing Bong Bengali feast, I knew I would be in for another treat for my palate. And boy, I wasn’t disappointed!

The venue was perfect for this afternoon event and the Afternoon Chai event definitely brightened up the grey day it had been so far. ¬†It was refreshing to drink the Lychee and Tea Thumka that we were served when we arrived, wow, what a yummy concoction indeed and a great way to liven up my tastebuds for the treats ahead ūüôā

The lovely Gayathri introduced the event and talked about the background to all the different snacks and drinks. ¬†I am trying hear to pick a favourite item, but I can’t! Each snack had it’s own unique flavour, like the spicy vada pav and the crispy Kuzhi paniyaaram and the sweet and spicy Bhakarwadi. ¬†Oh my my my. I am salivating at the mere thought of these yummy snacks I consumed during the afternoon! All the girls were so passionate when you ask them about the thoughts behind the menu and their friendly demeanor and love of their food makes the whole experience so enjoyable and very different to other supperclubs and pop-up’s.

If you would like to know more about The London Chai Party team and their events then click here and if you want to know more about the Afternoon Chai party itself then do click here.

 

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Inspire

Chin’s Kitchen

Last month I went to the launch of Homebaked in London which provides a platform to connect very talented home bakers to foodies who are looking for delicious bakes. It’s as simple as that!

chin homebaked team

The Homebaked Team

PM chin hotel

At the event there was a very special baker who makes the most delicious and inspiring cakes and biscuits. She is none other than Chintal Kakaya from Chin’s Kitchen who makes cakes and treats with a unique indian twist.

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The lovely Chintal Kakaya and her DELICIOUS bakes ūüôā¬†

Chintal has found a great niche in the market with her inventive flavours like ‘Gulab Jamun’ Cake, Chai Spiced Nankhatai and Indian spiced carrot cake with salted caramel (my personal fave). Her flavour combo’s are just genius! Chintal’s bakes are just so yummy, it really is hard to put into words! The different spices do come out clearly and they leave you wanting more and more. For more information check out Homebaked and Chintal’s own website with her full range of bakes¬†Chin’s Kitchen.

PM chin cake

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Filed under Lunch, recipe, Snack, south indian, tamil, Uncategorized, vegetarian

The 9 day Festival and more

Hello All! I haven’t posted in a long while,but ¬†I can finally fill you in on some, let’s say, pious activities from my end. ¬†ūüôā My family and I have recently finished celebrating the 9 day religious festival of Navarathri. For those of you not familiar with this Hindu festival, it celebrates the Mother and the 3 Goddesses: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The 9 days are split into equal days to celebrate each of the 3 Goddesses and the 10th Day is known as Vijayadasami or Dussera. ¬†Within the Tamil population from India and Sri Lanka, and especially in the’ TamBrahm’ communities, it is custom to have decorative steps in the house. These are adorned with small idols, flowers, lights, ornaments, dolls and sometimes toys which celebrate the different aspects of beings on earth and the Gods, but showing essentially that the Almighty resides in all. ¬†Well that’s what I believe is the interpretation, but I am sure there are other aspects and more knowledgeable people about this tradition will be able to give more detail on its significance. ¬†In the Tamil language the decorated steps are called a “Golu” and here is our one:

Golu

During this festival, like most, there are particular food that are linked to it. ¬†There is always a different food offering, which is called “Neivedhyam” in tamil, for each day of Navarathri. This offering is blessed during the pooja each day and then distributed to those who have attended the ceremony. There is a neivedhyam theme of “Sundal” which is a dry, savoury dish that is essentially some kind of pulse or bean with tempered spices and grated coconut. ¬†The spices can vary but it’s a very healthy dish if it has the¬†least amount of oil used and enables the natural flavours of the pulses and beans to come through. ¬†There are also sweets and “payasam” that can be offered during the religious ceremonies or just made as part of the celebration. ¬†Here’s my¬†“Sundal” recipe which can be modified with your favourite pulse or bean and many people enjoy eating this on other days, as well as Navarathri, for a healthy and satisfying snack.

Beans sundal 2

Although Navarathri is over for this year, it’s exciting to know that Diwali, or “Deepavali” as we call it in Tamil, is just a few days away now. ¬†This is of course a huge occasion among most Hindus and it’s a dream of mine to experience this vibrant festival in India. So again there are very special treats involved in Diwali, but as a child I used to hate the sickly Indian sweets that we were given. ¬†I am not a sweet tooth so I have a recipe for a delicious sweet to make for Diwali which is less in sugar than most Indian Mithai/sweets but also healthy! It involves no cane sugar and can be made in a minutes if you have some kind of food processor/mixie. ¬†I kid you not! Here is the recipe for my Diwali Dates Burfi.

DIwali Burfi1 PM

 

So for those who celebrate this upcoming festival, here’s wishing you a VERY HAPPY DIWALI! ¬† Suji x

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Filed under Food, food festivals, indian, recipe, south indian, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

The South Indian Tiffin

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“Tiffin-ikku yenna panrathu?” is what my grandmother usually says the second lunch is over at our house in India!. It is translated from tamil¬†as “What shall we make for Tiffin?”. Tiffin is a well known term in the foodie world as a light snack/meal from the Indian subcontinent. My family tell me it’s a¬†term¬†derived from the English slang tiffing,¬†which meant¬†“taking a sip”, but this term is no longer used in the English common language. However like verandah, pyjamas, rickshaw, curry and junk, tiffin is an India-derived noun that now has¬†a permanent place in the current¬†English language; and I feel we should be thankful that this Indo-Anglo¬†word gives rise to such delicious dishes!

In South India, Tiffin is often referred to as a snack in between meals or a light dinner. A¬†South¬†Indian Tiffin¬†includes¬†items like, Dosa, Idli, Kozhukattai etc.¬†In North India this term usually means a packed lunch for working men, women and school children and these lunchboxes are known as tiffin carrier or a¬†tiffin box. In Mumbai¬†and other big cities¬†you can’t miss the Tiffinwalla’s carrying many tiffin boxes to various offices and it’s quite amazing to see the technique of carrying so many of these containers all by just one person!

In¬†our household, dinner is nearly always light and so tiffin could many different things! One type of South Indian tiffin which is very healthy and fairly quick to prepare is the “Kara Pidi Kozhukattai”. Usually this is made from¬†rice flour or rava (semolina)¬†which is mixed with some tempered spices and then formed into handmade balls. The imprints of the cooks fingers when these balls are made¬†are a special mark of this healthy tiffin ūüôā The balls are then steamed until cooked through and served with either a chutney or a spicy &¬†tangy¬†gravy like “kuzhambu” or “Gotsu/Gojju”.

My version of this South Indian tiffin uses Oats¬† instead of rice flour, as well Wheatgerm/bran which are the most nutritious parts of the wheat grain and are not used as much as they could be, in my humble opinion. This tiffin could be made with other additional ingredients like peas, cabbage & carrots¬†is great served hot with a¬†spicy Gotsu/Gojju. ‘Gotsu’ is the term you will hear a lot in Tamil Nadu and ‘Gojju’ is used in Karnataka, but they both mean the same type of dish. They are made slightly differently in different households,¬†and my recipe was passed down to me from my grandmother and mother.

Here are my versions of Oats Pidi Kozhukattai and Gotsu and I hope you enjoy them!

What’s your favourite tiffin? Please let me know in the comment box below, thank you! ūüôā

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