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.
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.
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.
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.