Monday, October 20, 2008

Kollu Chutney and Kollu Kulambu!

I used to love those 'Love is....' comic strips in the morning newspaper. Still do. I wish I could get my daily dose of those comic strips now in email. Anybody know of a source? Anyway, here's my attempt at a 'Love is....'

Love is being served with a plateful of kollu chutney, kollu kulambu, rasam and rice when you have a bad cold and can't think straight and when everything else tastes like mud.

If you are from Kongu region or have friends from that region [Coimbatore, Salem, Erode, Tirupur and nearby areas] , you must have eaten or at least heard of Kollu Chutney. Though it is called a chutney, it is more like a Thuvaiyal - very thick and is mixed with rice and a dollop of ghee and eaten piping hot. It is almost always made as a first course followed by kollu rasam as the next course. Very hot and spicy - kollu rasam is a great cure for colds and coughs. Kollu also known as Horsegram/Ulavallu/ Kulti / Kulith / Muthira Hurulikalu etc is a very nutritious legume.

I was looking at IndoSunGod's kollu chutney and it brought back memories from home and I set out to make it the way Amma makes. The ingredients are the same as Indo's, except for the addition of curry leaves and my mom's recipe mentions not to roast the onions, garlic, spices etc and grind them raw for a more intense flavor.

Kollu Chutney
Kollu - pressure cooked with 3 garlic pods - 1 cup
Red Onion - 1/2, chopped
Fresh curry leaves - 10-12 [or frozen like this]
Black Pepper - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Tamarind - 1/2 inch piece
Red chillies - 1 [optional. I usually omit this one]

Strain the water from the pressure cooked kollu and use it to make kollu rasam. Grind everything together coarsely. If you need water, add some of the water kept aside for kollu rasam. Do not add too much water. It should have the consistency like the picture above.

Serve with hot rice and a dollop of ghee. And of course, thank me!
Kollu Kulambu
After XII std, when we were preparing for our engineering entrance exams, a friend Suba and me used to have lunch at Suba's grandparent's place everyday, after the classes were over. Her grandma is an amazing cook and was so full of love. She'd stand next to us and serve one thing after the other, till we were too full to move. You couldn't refuse that kind of love. And the food! It was the best I ever had! One day, she had made kollu chutney and a kollu kulambu. I was used to the kollu chutney at home, but the kulambu was totally something! Tangy, thick, and finger licking good and with LOTS of onions giving a slight hint of sweetness! After having this at her place, I couldn't take my mind off that kulambu and tried recreating this, the same weekend. My mom was darn impressed too! It turned out pretty good, but just short of her 50 yrs of cooking experience. ;) Ah, well, I'll get there some day!

Kollu Kulambu
Kollu - pressure cooked with 3 garlic pods - 1 cup
Garlic pods - 4, chopped
Onion - 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves - 5
Asafoetida - a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

Tamarind - lemon size, soak in hot water and extract pulp

Red chilli powder -1/2 tsp
Jaggery/sugar - 1/2 tsp, not more

Salt - to taste

Put the boiled kollu in the blender and just pulse a minute or two, so the beans break down a bit, but not mushy. It should not become a paste, the beans should like they are broken into halves. Keep this aside.

Heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add the onions, garlic and curry leaves and saute for a few mins. Add the tamarind pulp and let it boil for 10 mins. Add the kollu mixture, red chilli powder, salt to this tangy sauce. Add water if necessary. Let it cook together for 5-10 mins. Add the jaggery and stir well. Remove from flame and serve with hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.