I love to combine prawns with vegetables, maybe because in my family prawns were never combined with other vegetables. I have posted several recipes combining prawns with vegetables (Prawn and Bitter Gourd Fry, Prawn and Ridge Gourd Curry, Prawn and Colocasia Curry, Prawn and Snake Gourd Fry, and many more). Okra is not liked by children, mainly because of its slimy texture when it comes in contact with water. I have avoided this in this preparation. The Mexican Spice Mix was suggested by my daughter. I have modified it to suit the Indian palate, and also deleted garlic powder to improve shelf life and because Indians are used to consuming fresh garlic.
My father’s youngest sister, Jeyanthi, relocated to Erode from Thirunelveli when she got married. She had picked up several new recipes from her Erode friends and acquired relatives. My mother had enjoyed her cooking and collected a few recipes from her. This Kathirikkai Curry is one of those precious dishes. Kathirikkai is a staple ingredient in Tamil cooking because different varieties of kathirikkai are available throughout the year. I prefer to use the deep purple variety. This curry turned out to be absolutely fabulous, and it can be served with plain rice, Easy Peas Pulav, Potato Pulav, or chappatis.
Though Elephant Yam is available throughout the year and is not too expensive, it is not used extensively in Tamil cooking. I have already posted Yam Fry and Yam Curry. I decided to be more adventurous and created this snack in which cooked yam is rolled in spiced flour, dipped in egg, and deep fried. It turned out to be a novel and very tasty snack, which can be used as a starter or side dish. I have not used a typical South Indian spice mix and have ventured into using Black Salt which North Indians are fond of using. My daughter and I make it often and relish it.
Manathakkali (Solanum nigrum) greens are known for their medicinal properties due to their high Riboflavin content. Apart from the leaves, the unripe berries are also used for cooking, but only in their dried form or vattral. The dried berries are now commercially available, and I was lucky to get some. They are fried and used in a very strongly flavoured tamarind curry. We add a large amount of coconut ground to a fine paste to reduce the bitterness of the berries. The kuzhambu is served with plain rice and Urullaikizhangu Pittu.