Classic Combinations: Poricha Kuzhambu & Puli-itta Keerai

Poritha Kozhambu & Puli-Itta Keerai

When I visited my husbands place for the first time (before marriage), my in laws treated me with an lunch that was a cornucopia of South Indian traditional dishes. Upon complimenting my M-in-law after the lunch, she casually mentioned to me that not only does she cook mostly traditional South Indian food, but in traditional combinations. I was really impressed and so excited to begin learning all about this from her. Of course, first I had to marry her son but that was soon taken care of.

This is one of my M-in-law's classic combinations, poricha kozhambu (mixed vegetable stew) and puli-itta-keerai (spinach with tamarind). Her signature is to always have a fresh salad with these meals, and I have added one such carrot salad of my own mother's recipe here. The amounts below are suitable for 2 people.

Poricha Kozhambu
1 heaping tbsp toor daal, 1 heaping tbsp urad daal, 5 whole black peppercorns, 1 heaping tsp cumin seeds, 1-2 dried red chili, a few curry leaves, either 1tbsp grated coconut or a dash of asafetida, diced vegetables (any combination of carrots, beans, peas, eggplant, zucchini, lima beans, and snake gourd), 1 tsp mustards seeds, 1 tsp turmeric

1. Boil the diced vegetables, just barely covered in water with the turmeric and a few curry leaves.
2. Roast the toor daal, urad daal, peppercorns, cumin seeds, red chili and grind this up with a few curry leaves.
3. Add the spice mixture to the boiling vegetables, and let it cook nicely, add salt.
4. Splutter the mustard seeds (and asafetida if you are not using coconut) and add to the mixture.
5. You can add the grated coconut at the end for flavor if you are using it.

*I usually don't put coconut to reduce the fat content. As you can see this dish only uses the few drops of oil to splutter the mustard seeds.

Puli-itta Keerai
frozen or fresh spinach (a good BIG handful), 2 small split green chilis, 1/4 cup of tamarind juice, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafetida, 1/2 tsp urad daal, 1/2 tsp of channa daal, 1 dried red chili

1. Cook spinach with the split green chillis in the tamarind juice on medium, add salt.
3. Blend the spinach with a hand blender, being careful not to grind up the chillis unless you want it that hot! Do not grind too much, as you still want a nice texture.
4. Splutter the mustard seeds, add the urad daal, channa daal, asafetida, and red chillis.

* If the spinach is too watery you can add rice flour to thicken it up. Ensure you cook the flour through completely.

Carrot Salad
1/2 large carrot, 1 green chili, lemon, 1 tsp urad daal, a pinch of asafetida, a few mustard seeds, cilantro to garnish

1. Soak the urad daal in water, until they break easily.
2. Grate the carrot, add a squeeze of lemon.
2. Splutter the mustard seeds in oil, and add the dash of asafetida, and fry the chili chopped in two.
3. Mix the grated carrot with mustard seeds, chili, and drained ural daal and a pinch of salt.
4. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Priya said...

WOw...that looks delicious..wish I could come over to your place !! My mother also makes a similar combo. I'm going to try this out sometime this week.

Savithri said...

The pictures look beautiful. I like the circle of rice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Akka
Ur recipies are great .i am cooking for the first time in my life ,staying away fromhomein italy .I have problem with making poriyal,kootu ,masala doesnt stick to the vegetables and taste very bland.please give some tips for me.

with regards
deepan said...


I am certainly no expert,but the advice I can give you is to keep cooking. Practice makes a big difference, keep adjusting your recipes. Also the best way that I learned was watching others cook. Make sure you cook the masala with the veggies. Roast the spices before grinding for flavour, and then add and cook. Don't hesitate to add more quantity of spices if it is too bland, especially if you like heat. Experts! Please give your advice to Deepan as well.

Anonymous said...

hi kanchana,
tried your Poritha Kozhambu . tasted great. usually i prepare a large amount for the next day`s lunch too, but this time the bowl was wiped clean. grr...should think of something for todays lunch...anyway, another reason to visit ur blog.:)
see ya
take care

Unknown said...

Same is the combo at my mom's and grandmom's place, poritha (i colloquiallise it as PORICHHA) kozhambu brings me mouthwatering memories......i like to eat it with a dash of elimbuchunga (wooo that was difficult to type...our good old south indian lime pickle)

A pat on the back to Shankar for that super Asian meal!

Unknown said...

hey It was delicious...i tried it today and my husband went bonkers eating it :) Thanks a lot for sharing the recepie

K A L L U said...

Thank you for this easy and yummy recipe, Kanchana. I love your blog and visit it regularly. Keep up the great work!

Shreekant said...

Presentation makes the food taste several notches higher. All the pix are great, but the poricha kuzhambu & puli-itta keerai are tops! Well done!! I am guessing the rice was pressed into a 'davra' and tapped out? Clever!