Friday, July 17, 2009

Nellikai Oorugai - Indian Gooseberry pickle and a question


Whenever I think back of my childhood, I fondly remember the Otaheite Gooseberries (சின்ன நெல்லிக்காய் / Phylanthus acidus/Phylanthus Distichus) tree that mom planted, when we were kids. It was a small tree in our backyard, that bore a million fruits which was more than enough for us and all the kids on the street. Passers by would shake the tree and enjoy the fruits and my mom gladly let them enjoy them. She would make lip smacking pickles out of these berries and I used to eat bowfuls at a time. Yes, bowlful of pickles, when she wasn't home! :) But what she liked more was the storebought Indian gooseberries/Amla (பெரிய நெல்லிக்காய்/ Phylanthus Officinalis / Phylanthus Emblica/ Emblica myrobalan). She'd make pickles out of these too, but these would get eaten just one at a time. :) Although my tastebuds have grown to like it these days. When I was about 12, the small tree was taken down by somebody whose business it was totally NOT, and it just broke our hearts to hear about it. May her soul rest in peace.

Ever since Indira posted about finding Indian gooseberries in Toronto, I kept my eyes open for it. After two yrs of living in TO, I finally found it. Nice, juicy looking gooseberries! I bought a lot to make pickles but we started eating one here and one there. We'd eat one and then drink water and enjoy the sweetness it brings (unlike eating sugarcane where we have to wait to drink water!). Before we knew it, there was none left for pickle-making. :) Then began another gooseberry hunt!

Meanwhile my mom planted another gooseberry plant (Indian gooseberry, this time around) back home in my parents garden in Salem, and it grew lean and tall and started producing juicy gooseberries and mom was telling me all about it. She was making pickles after pickles and looking for new ways to use the gooseberries, whereas here I was still looking for those elusive berries. We f.i.n.a.l.l.y got some gooseberries and made the pickle after 3 yrs of wanting to make the pickles! The wait was totally worth it! And yes, the pickles vanished real quick.

Before we goto the recipe, does anybody know if அருநெல்லிக்காய் is the Otaheite gooseberries or the Indian gooseberries? [Yes, the popular consensus is that it is the star shaped former.]


Wash the gooseberries and steam them for 5-10 mins until they are just soft enough to press them open and remove the seed inside. Don't cook them too long, the pickles gets mushy that way. If you can press it open to remove the seed, its time to remove it from the steamer. I use the steamer basket that came with the rice cooker. Separate the gooseberries into tiny wedges. Use a knife if you have to but I find that they separate into wedges easily. Or you can use the whole berries with the seeds if you like it that way.

Heat 3 tbsp sesame oil in a pan, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and let them pop. Add, a pinch of asafetida, the gooseberries, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1-2 tsp red chilli powder, salt, 1 tsp pickle masala (dry roasted mustard+methi seeds, finely powdered) and saute for a while. Adding curry leaves, while tempering is optinal. Add the juice of a lime and stir once or twice and then swtich off the heat.. Let it cool down and then store in a glass bottle and use within a week or two. It might have a bigger shelf life, but we never get to test that out at our home. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kefir - A probiotic healing drink!

(Homemade plain Kefir - shaken a bit to show how it coats the bottle, papaya kefir!)

When I was just getting started into Kombucha (another post), I kept coming across something called Kefir (pronounced Keh-fear!). Not wanting to distract myself, I just briefly glanced through it and forgot about it. Soon came the diabetes, the Candida and the food intolerances - all pointing to something wrong with my gut. The tests that my Naturopath did on me showed I can eat Butter, Yogurt, Kefir, but not milk. The former three are cultured foods, whereas milk isn't. And yogurt and kefir were pro-biotic and would help with the digestive issues too. I started looking around and found kefir in the aisle where I pick up organic milk. I got some and tried it. It tasted very much like fresh homemade buttermilk. With the slightest hint of sourness but also more creamier than buttermilk.

The cultures' chemical changes make the milk much easier to digest, allowing the body to absorb more of the naturally present nutrients. The transformation of lactose to lactic acid allows people, even t hose with lactose intolerance, to digest kefir and get its full benefits.Kefir is high in calcium, amino acids, B-vitamins and folic acid. Kefir can play a vital role in the development of a healthy digestive tract in babies, as it protects against negative effects of radiation and helps improve the immune system. Kefir's friendly cultures also produce specific antibiotic substances which can control undesirable microorganisms and act as anti-carcinogenic factors. Kefir also helps to enhance bowel function and control candida - a condition where there is an excessive growth of yeast cells. In reference to Candida, Dr. Orla-Jenson, a noted Danish bacteriologist specializing in dairy research states that "Kefir digests yeast cells and has a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora".
From here.

I liked the drink and started reading about how I can make it at home. While it helped digestion, it also colonized the intestinal tract with good bacteria and helped Candida. Whatever I read, sounded very simple and easy! A glass jar, some kefir grains, milk was all I needed and I had to remember that the grains strictly not be in touch with metal containers or spoons. (Nicole says: The grains are pretty forgiving though!) The story how the kefir came from the Caucasian mountains to Russia was interesting as well. I looked around and found that Cultures for Health sells Kefir cultures, sourdough cultures and a wide variety of yogurt cultures. I have read Julie's (the owner of the above website) posts in one of the forums I hang around and was glad to find that she had just started shipping overseas. She was very helpful in answering my questions.



Julie shipped my package with 4 starters (kefir, 2 different yogurt starters and a sourdough starter and a book) to Canada, real quick. I started with the yogurt (another post! yes, it deserves a post on it own!) and then the kefir. The dried kefir culture looked like a tiny piece of asafetida, and had to be reincarnated... er... re-hydrated first. The package also had detailed instructions on how to go about it.

Rehydrating the grains
1. Take a mason jar or a glass container. It has to be glass. Remember the no-metal-rule? Pour about a cup of milk in it. The milk doesn't have to be at room temp. Straight from the fridge is what I used.
2. Put the kefir culture in it, shake it a bit, cover
with a thin cloth. I used a very thin handkerchief - 100% cotton and used a rubberband to hold it tight.
3. Put this in a cupboard and forget about it for 24 hrs.
4. Filter this using a nylon strainer or using your hand and carefully look for the culture. Mine was like the tiniest cauliflower floret.
5. Wash it in milk (about 1/2 tsp milk) and repeat the process of putting the grains in milk.

The first 2-3 days would just be re-hydrating the kefir grains. Don't use the milk on first few days..

Making Kefir
Slowly on the 4-5th day, the milk would start coagulating and getting slightly thicker. The drink is slightly sour and smells clean. Now you can start drinking the kefir. After a week or two, you can slowy increase the amount of milk upto a quart (about a litre).



When is the Kefir ready?
When you shake the container lightly, it should be almost firm like a jelly and not much moving.. then it is ready. When you shake it a lot more, then it has the consistency of thick buttermilk with very small curds floating in the liquid. The longer you ferment, the more sour the kefir would be.

My kefir is very good and we like drinking it every day. The size of the kefir grain has doubled or maybe tripled in size. It would grow in size and soon, look like a bigger cauliflower floret. Then I can separate it and use it in 2 or more containers to make more kefir and/or share it with friends.

If you are in drinking kefir for eliminating lactose intolerance, you will need to ferment close to 36H. However, never drink a kefir fermented over 48H, it provides a serious constipation! With 12H of fermenting, it works like a gentle laxative, 24H gives fully fermented balanced kefir. Overfermenting is not advisable, since kefir pH becomes too acidic and growth of grains slows. Normally, the grains tend to double in size about every 20 days. From here
.

Kefir can be drunk on it's own, or in smoothies, can be made into many types of icecreams, popsicles. It can also be used in cooking. I have used kefir to make pancakes and that resulted in really soft and fluffy pancakes. It works just like buttermilk in baking. It can also be used to make kefir cheese, etc. The kefir drink can be refrigerated for later use. 24 hrs is the ideal time to make kefir, but if you live in a hot area, then your milk might change into kefir much before the 24 hrs. Do NOT let the kefir grains sit in the same milk for more than 48 hrs. If you do, save the grains, discard the drink. Wash the grains in milk and start over again. If you want to take a break from making kefir, store in a glass of milk in the refrigerator. Change the milk once a week.

More reading material:
  1. Detailed information about Kefir can be found at Dom's Kefir in-site. It also has links to various Kefir communities - which are very helpful.
  2. Kefir on wiki
  3. http://coproweb.free.fr/kefiranglais.htm
  4. Kefir manual
  5. Babushka's kefir
  6. How to second ferment Kefir and also flavor it

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chettinad Mutton Soup / Aatukaal Paaya


Call it by any name - Chettinad mutton soup, Chettinad mutton bone soup, Aatukaal soup, Aatukaal paaya, Trotter soup, Nenjelumbu soup based on the type of bones used - This is my most favorite soup in the whole world! :) There's absolutely nothing else like this one. To top it off, this mineral rich bone soup is very good for health.

My mom learnt this recipe in Sivakaasi, from her neighbors who were from Kaaraikudi. The recipe calls for fire roasted trotters (நெருப்பில் வாட்டிய ஆட்டுக்கால்) because trotters have more collagen in them. When cooked, the collagen becomes gelatin and the broth gets very rich and has healing properties. If you can't get trotters, you can use any kind of mutton bones. I've used goat/lamb bones with good results. Since I can't flame-roast them at home, I broil the bones in the oven and that gives a rich, smoky flavor. And for making the soup part, You can use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. I use both methods depending on my availability at home that day - And both methods give excellent results!

While making this soup seem very easy, don't underestimate the recipe. It is really good. Having eaten (drunk?) this soup umpteen times, I tried once at a restaurant, popular for its Chettinad food and found that actually mine was better. :p To the kind person who shared this simple but amazing recipe with my mom, Thank you very much!! :) And thanks mom, for passing it on to me. Now I pass it on to everybody else who'd want to try this.

Goat Trotters, cleaned and chopped - 1-2 lbs (You can use any mutton bones - that's what I do)
Coriander leaves - handful, cleaned and chopped
Salt - 1 tsp
Apple cider vinegar - 1-3 tbsp (optional) The original recipe doesn't call for this, but I add this to draw out all the minerals and nutrients from the bones.You can add lemon juice too.

Broil the mutton bones until the bones are roasted, say for 20 mins. If the bones are frozen, it might take more time. Keep a closer watch on the bones once they are in the oven. I sometimes broil the bones the previous night and put it in the fridge, so that I can make the soup in the morning to get a head start on making lunch.

Grind to a 'coarse' paste
Pearl onions - 5-10 (substitute with 1 red onion)
Ripe Tomato - 1
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper - 2 tsp (add more if you can take the heat!)
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
(In case you are wondering, No! this recipe does NOT have coriander powder in it!!)

Pressure cooker method:
Put the broiled bones, ground paste, turmeric powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and about 5-6 cups of water (I don't measure) in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 10 whistles in medium heat. Let the pressure cool down [No, Don't be sneaky and lift the weight off like my DH used to do. The wait is so worth it!]. Adjust salt and pepper and serve hot.

Slow cooker method:
This is super easy.
Put the broiled bones, ground paste, turmeric powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and about 5-6 cups of water (I don't measure) in the crockpot. Cook on slow for 8 hrs. Then put it on high for another 2-4 hrs. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Some even mix this soup in hot steamed rice. It's good that way too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BEST EVER Thakkaali Oorugai - Amma's Slow roasted Tomato pickle


Every time we come home from the hostel and its time to go back, the following conversation would occur on the day before, between my mom and either me or my sister or both. We were in the same college and hostel so our timings to go back to the hostel would be the same.

Mom: What do you want to take along when you go back?
Me/my sister: Thakkali Oorugai
Mom: Just that?
Me/my sister: Yes.

By now, you all must know that I'm a big fan of my mom's cooking. Her Thakkali Oorugai, Thengai burfi, Ribbon pakodas, Prawns curry, Chinna Nellikai oorugai, Kozhi Rasam and Varuval, Kollu Chutney, Podi thooviya Surakai kulambu are exceptional. And her Thakkali Oorugai - THE BEST EVER!!!! We're really crazy about her Thakkali Oorugai. So are our friends. So were my hostel mates. So are her sons-in-law. Everybody, who tasted it once, fell in love with it. It's THAT good! And it goes with everything... Idli, dosa, rice, thayir saadam, poori, chapathi, bread, kambu saadam - it goes with just about any food (other than desserts) you can think of.. Heck! It even got me eat that dreaded upma without a flinch in my face. Like most of her recipes, this one has no precise measurements. Especially with a tomato pickle recipe, it's hard to write a precise recipe - Depends on how sour the tomatoes are...and how sweet, and how pasty and how ripe those tomatoes are. Hers is more of a method to make it, than a precise recipe.

Slow cooking the well ripe tomatoes and stirring it often - is one thing she insisted on, again and again. Now, standing near the hot stove stirring tomatoes is not my cup of Chai. I had to find a way to make it easier. I wished somebody would just suck the moisture of the tomatoes and leave the juiciness intact and make it more tastier.. Who would do it? I would! I would! Suddenly I heard a voice. Just kidding! But yes, it occured to me suddenly that somebody would just be willing to do that for me. My OVEN! The most favorite appliance in my kitchen.

The food processor dude (in case you are wondering, that's my DH) was glad to help as usual. He cut all those 5-6 pounds of well ripe tomatoes beautifully. I transferred that to a big glass casserole dish or two, drizzled olive oil, sprinkled some salt and roasted the tomatoes in the oven for a long time. About 2-8 hrs depending on what temperature I left the oven on. I stirred it whenever I remembered...maybe every hour or so. I also soaked some tamarind pieces in hot water, to compensate the sweet-but-not-sour taste from the tomatoes we get here. The oven took longer time to cook, but the flavor was better than the stove top version that I make and required very little stirring on my part. We loved the pickle and from then on, this is the only way, I make tomato pickles at home. I sometimes use the blender to crush the roasted tomatoes for me before finishing the pickles on stove top...and sometimes I use the roasted tomatoes as it is, for a nice chunky texture. Both taste great, it's really up to you to decide on which texture you prefer.

So, did it turn out exactly like my mom makes? Yes, I think so. DH thought so too but I did see him hide a smile when I asked that question...



Oven Roasted tomato pickle
Well Ripe Tomatoes - 5-6 pounds
Olive oil - 2 tbsp (you can use sesame oil for roasting the tomatoes in the oven too)
Sesame oil - 3 tbsp
Chilli powder - 2-5 tsp (or more)
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/Methi - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - a small lemon size
Curry leaves - two sprigs
Peeled garlic cloves- about a cup (slice lengthwise)
Sea salt - to taste

1. Soak the tamarind pieces in hot water.

2. Wash all the tomatoes and chop them into small pieces. Put all these in a glass baking dish or a stainless steel roaster (No aluminium pans please) and sprinkle some sea salt over this. drizzle some olive oil as well. Stir lightly and roast in the oven at 350 until the water is almost dried up. Don't let it get too dry as the tomatoes have to cook for sometime with the other ingredients for the flavors to fuse well. Let this cool down a bit. Meanwhile, let's get the other stuff ready.

3. Dry roast the methi seeds + mustard seeds (1 tsp each) and let it cool down. Make a fine powder using a spice grinder and keep it aside. I make a slightly larger batch and store it in a glass jar and use it, for all the pickles I make.

4. Extract thick pulp out of the tamarind.

5. Using a blender, slightly pulse the roasted tomatoes. (Just pulse it. Don't grind to a fine paste. The tomato seeds when crushed, turn bitter). You may skip this step, if you prefer chunky tomatoes in your pickle.

6. Heat the sesame oil in a thick bottomed stainless steel sauce pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the asafoetida, the garlic and curry leaves. Saute for 2 mins until the garlic is very lightly roasted. Add the tomatoes (chunky or pulp as you prefer), the tamarind pulp, red chilli powder and salt. Stir well for a minute or two and let it cook for sometime. It should be ready in 10-20 mins.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Soaked Wholewheat Rotis - What's the idea behind soaking?

It all started when I read the book 'Nourishing Traditions' by Sally Fallon. An online friend from one of the forums I belong to, told me about this and I went looking for it in the library. It is a book that really challenges the politically correct nutrition... What I read there, shocked me, surprised me but mostly, overwhelmed me. And then life intervened in the form of newborn and I promptly forgot all about the book.

After a few years, I recently came across a forum which discussed Traditional foods (hereafter referred as 'TF') and WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) and the book 'Nourishing Traditions' (hereafter referred as NT) by Sally Fallon. Weston Price had done extensive research in the methods, traditions practiced by all the ancient cultures around the world. Sally Falon's NT is based on the research findings of Weston Price. She is the founder of the WAP Foundation as well. The more I lurked on this forum and the more I read some NT blogs, the more curious I became. This time, it wasn't an author who was telling me what to do, but by real people who incorporated all those traditional nourishing practices and sharing what they did and how well it worked for them.

The first thing that piqued my interest was soaking. We soak beans and sprout beans at home often - to get rid of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and toxins and to increase its nutrient density. And also for easier digestion. We also use sprouted flours once in a while. But the book and the NT based blogs that I read suggested me to soak any wholegrain flour that I use, anywhere in my cooking - pancakes, muffins, breads, just about any dish that uses wholegrain flours! Not just grains, soak the flours - they said. Why? Read on...

Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion.

Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, Overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25

Read more about soaking here, here and here.

I saw kimi make soaked crackers... the dough didn't seem to go bad. Lindsay's Soaked pizza, soaked bread, Kimi's soaked muffins, soaked cookies, soaked pancakes .... Hmmmm. What about our rotis? Aren't they made of wholewheat flour? Is all that phytic acid preventing my attempts to get healthier?? I wondered... I wanted to try making soaked rotis. How would they taste? Like cardboard? Or like those javvu chapthis served at hostels? Would they be sour? Would they be weird? Would the dough get mold? And then decided a cup of Atta is well worth this experiment and went about giving it a try.

To my surprise, it was very easy to roll the dough out for making the rotis. Second thing, the rotis were very soft! The third surprise also came on the same day. Every time my DH ate rotis, he'd get acidity. And had to drink milk which made him feel better. But this time, with the soaked rotis, NO acidity problems!! None... whatsoever! Since then, this is how we make rotis at home. I've also made Kimi's soaked crackers, created my own soaked pancakes, the soaked oats dosas, created my soaked yeasted wholewheat bread (yeasted as opposed to sourdough), etc and I really see the benefits of soaking. That soaked bread was the best ever bread baked by this novice baker. And then, I even read about Peter Reinhart's methods of baking Wholegrain breads, involved soaking a biga and starter for 1-3 days to get really good bread! Makes sense to me, now!

The word 'Soaking' usually makes us visualize water standing on top of the soaked stuff. But here it just means you make a dough like you normally do and leave it alone at room temperature for minimum 8 hrs. Avoid salt while soaking as it meddles with the phytic acid neutralization. I don't add salt to my rotis at all. I like the sweetness of the wheat flour as it is. But if you want to add salt, add it later, after the 8 hrs period. Just sprinkle a bit over the dough and knead it in. I've noticed that soaking for 8-10 hrs is plenty for a roti or a chapathi. But if I soak for more, say 18 hrs, the texture of the roti changes to soft naan like texture but with a pita like hole inside, esp. when I make the phulka/roti that puffs up on a grill. I call that my No yeast-pita!!

If you have access to sprouted wheat flour and use that for making rotis, then you don't 'have to' soak it. All the phytic acid has been neutralized already. But you can soak it for an hour or two if you wish so. Soaking does give an elasticity to the dough and makes rolling out very easy. Sprouted wheat flour also makes a great flour to use while rolling out the rotis.

NT Soaked Rotis
Wholewheat Atta - 1 and 1/2 cup
Water - somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cup (depending on the flour)
Plain yogurt - 1 tbsp (See note ***)
Oil - 1 tbsp (I use olive oil)

Note *** You can substitute with lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar or whey (water that stands out in the homemade yogurt) The acid in the whey/yogurt/lemon juice helps in the neutralization of the phytic acid.

1. Make a dough, like your normally do. Knead for 2-3 mins. Put it in a container and cover it with a lid. It doesn't have to be airtight. (I use a casserole pan with a lid as my 'soaking' pot!). Leave it on the counter. NOT IN THE FRIDGE. The first 8 hrs have to be at room temperature. You can then store it in the fridge or make rotis

2. After 8 hrs, knead it for a minute. Use as little flour to sprinkle on the counter as you can (or use any sprouted grain flour for this) and roll the dough into rotis. And make rotis on a hot tava.

3. I usually make Rotis / Phulkas (puffed rotis) using the grill this blogger uses and it turns out puffed up every single time! And sometimes I make them as Chapathis (cooked on the tava with some oil).

The Chapathis freeze beautifully. After I make the chapathis, I put that on top the grill (which is not on the stove top.. I just use it for the ventilation it provides at the bottom) and pile the chapathis on top of it as I go. After all the chapathis are done, I let them cool completely and pack them in ziploc bags (squeeze as much air out as possible). If I will be using within a day or two, I put it in the fridge. Else it goes in the freezer. Whenever I need, I take a few from the freezer, peel them from each other (they come off, easily) and leave it on a plate on the counter for 5 mins. Meanwhile I put the tava on the stove top and let it get hot. It takes very few mins to warm the chapathis on the tava.. You can use the oven too. I have stopped using microwave to heat things up. But you can use that to warm the chapathis if you wish so.

I also noticed that these NT style soaked rotis make an awesome kothu roti or kothu parotta.

Variations to rotis
High EFA rotis - Add 1/4 cup of flax seed meal to the wholewheat atta while kneading. ( If you are using it everyday, use less, say about 1-2 tbsp per person, lesser for kids.
Low carb roti - Substitute half cup of besan to half cup of flour
Herbed/spiced rotis - Add crushed, dried herbs like kasuri methi, dried cilantro leaves, spices etc

I wouldn't add freshly grated veggies or greens to this dough, because they tend to make the dough very moist after some time.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Beetroot curry

The words 'Beetroot kulambu' doesn't make me gape with a look of horror on my face now. But it did once. I was 12 then. Both Amma and Appa had to goto a very early wedding at 4 am in a different town. And my neighbor, an Aunty who lived with her family, in the house above ours, volunteered to serve us breakfast. My younger sister and me liked that Aunty, so we didn't think much about the breakfast, until she arrived with the food and declared it was her special idlis with beetroot kulambu. You should have seen the look on our faces. We were speechless. Being tweens at the time, Beetroot was one of the many vegetables we hated with passion. We could barely swallow the 1 tbsp of beetroot poriyal Amma forced us to eat. And we've always had chutneys, chicken curries, kurmas, sambar to go with idlis..Never ever heard of anybody making beetroot curry to go with ildis.

And, here this Aunty had made a kulambu (of all things blasphemous) out of the dreaded beetroots and was heaping it on our plates while we were watching with our wide eyed pale faces. We never uttered a word. Just shook our heads to whatever she was talking and dipped our idlis as lightly into the curry as humanly possible without touching the beetroots. We forced ourselves to swallow it without ever biting into the idlis. And then, she asked something eagerly which made us almost cry.
'Want more?' 'NO, NO, NOOOO Aunty, we are full! Very full.. Thanks for the breakfast, It is VERY tasty!! Thank you!' She believed us, or so we thought until Amma came back. Now Aunty caught hold of her before we could tell Amma what happened and warn her (or beg her not to expose us). We didn't really hear Amma come back or the Aunty talking to her, but we did manage to hear Amma laugh. Roaring with laughter was more like it. She laughed and laughed and then applauded the Aunty for making us eat beetroot without a word, which Amma could never do. Needless to say that the next few days were sheer torture - Aunty kept teasing us if we wanted anymore of her very TASTY beetroot kulambu.

I guess a lot of things have changed in the next 18 years. I
make beetroot kulambu these days. And eat it thinking that it is yummy! I adapted this recipe from my chicken curry recipe. It pairs well with rotis, idlis or dosas. I don't think it goes well with rice though.


Beetroot Curry
Beetroots - 2 big ones, peeled and chopped into cubes

Onion - 1/2, chopped into big pieces

Ginger - 1 inch

Garlic - 3 pods, peeled and chopped into twos
Curry leaves - few

Cinnamon - 1

Clove - 2

Saunf / Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp

Grated Coconut - 4-5 tbsp

Red chillies - 2

Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add the cinnamon, clove and fennels seeds. When they are roasted, add everything else except coconut and the beetroot and saute well for a few mins. Add coconut and roast for another minute. Let it cool and grind this with some water, into a fine paste.

Put the chopped beetroot and ground paste into a pressure cooker, add salt and pressure cook for one whistle. Ready to serve hot with rotis, idlis or dosas.