In Thirunelveli, stuffed eggplant is known as Ennai Kathirikai, which actually means eggplant fried in oil. This dish is considered to be exotic, maybe because the masala is roasted and ground and the brinjal is stuffed with it. It is usually served in vegetarian feasts. The leftover stuffing is fried in the leftover oil and in the tamarind juice used for cooking the eggplant and served along with the stuffed brinjal, and therefore nothing is wasted during the preparation of the dish.
May is the month when neighbours share the mangoes from their trees with their friends, and I received several varieties of mangoes. This Festive Unripe Mango Pachadi is very popular in my family. Though this also has jam-like consistency, it is called pachadi because it is tempered with mustard in ghee. We always serve it with Biriyanis, Pulavs, and Kuska Rice, or quite often with the humble sambar rice.
Happy Easter everyone! Here is a special meatball curry to help you break your Lenten fast (if you’ve been fasting). This is such an ancient recipe it might as well have come from the Biblical age. I have never seen my mother or my aunt prepare this. I discovered it during an archaeological dig into an old family recipe book with a pencilled inscription saying ‘Aatha’ which would indicate that it is from my great grandmother who was from Thanjavur. Any history beyond that is shrouded in the mists of time 🙂
In Tamil Nadu, February is when high quality fresh green peas are available. It gives me great pleasure to shell them and to see the lovely green peas inside and, of course, cook them too! This Peas Pulav is a very simple, easy to make preparation, but it can hold pride of place in any feast.
January 14th is the birth of the Tamil month of Thai, and in Tamil Nadu, it is also Pongal, the harvest festival. It is a grand celebration with several vegetarian dishes marking nature’s bounty. Aviyal is a vegetable curry that is served for lunch. There are several versions of aviyal, and I am presenting here the aviyal made in Palayamkottai, Thirunelveli District. It uses many of the vegetables indigenous to Thirunelveli.
A beautiful and delicious meal to ring in the New Year, and is hopefully a sign that 2017 will be a beautiful year. The term Kola Urundai in Tamil means round balls, as if balls are any other shape! Brinji rice is rice cooked in milk and spices. This exotic and delicately flavoured dish is unique in that the meatballs are deep fried and then cooked along with the rice, not served as an accompaniment or as garnish. I have come across this recipe only in my family. I think it belongs to my great-grandmother who had settled in Thanjavur in the 1800s – perhaps she got it there. It is quite easy to make even though it is one dish composed of two preparations.
An exotic and unusual dessert, especially if you have a sweet tooth and a fondness for coconut. In the Tamil Calendar, the month of Marghazhi (mid-December – mid-January) is the coldest month of the year, and people generally avoid frozen desserts during this time, even if the average temperature is only 25° C 🙂 This coconut ice is only chilled, and when served with cream makes a delightful end to a rich and spicy Christmas feast.