Rich Peas Pulav

January is the month when good quality green peas are available, and this is the time to relish recipes using them. I’ve previously posted the recipe for an Easy Peas Pulav. This version contains ground cashew nuts and powdered spices to give a rich but mild flavour which goes well with the winter season.

Rich Peas Pulav - Kalas Kalai

Rich Peas Pulav

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Urulaikizhangu Paal Curry (Potato in Coconut Milk Curry)

Today is Pongal (the Tamil harvest festival), and it is customary to celebrate with several rich vegetarian dishes. I made this Urulaikizhangu Paal Curry. I came across this recipe in my mother’s recipe collection. She never made this, but I was intrigued by the combination of potatoes and coconut milk with very few spices. It has an enchantingly mild flavour, and the fried cashew nuts added to the curry make it very festive and unique.

Urulaikizhangu Paal Curry - Kalas Kalai

Urulaikizhangu Paal Curry (Potato in Coconut Milk Curry)

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Kala’s Vazhaikkai Kuruma (Unripe Banana Curry)

Pongal (the Tamil harvest festival) is just around the corner, and it is time to dive back into vegetarian cooking. The vazhaikkai (unripe banana) is regarded as a humble vegetable because it is available all through the year, and the cost doesn’t vary with the seasons. I like to fairy godmother with this vegetable and turn it into a Cinderella with exotic recipes like Vazhaikkai Cutlet. This kuruma is another of my creations, transforming the simple vazhaikkai into a festive special that can be served with Easy Peas Pulav, Potato Pulav, and even with Pooris!


Vazhaikkai Kuruma - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Vazhaikkai Kuruma (Unripe Banana Curry)

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Oven-Baked Tandoori Chicken

Happy New Year everyone! I would like to kick off 2018 with a dish that is known all over the world. Tandoori chicken is a signature dish of Punjab but has become very popular in Tamil Nadu, especially in the cities, due to the increase in restaurants serving North Indian cuisine following the migration of North Indians to the South. Even road-side eateries advertise Tandoori cooking. The traditional Tandoor oven, which originated in West Asia, is a special device that none of us have at home in Tamil Nadu. I, therefore, looked for recipes using the regular Oven Toaster Grill (OTG) and found several methods. This recipe combines the best from many sources and my own experiments in making the perfect Tandoori Chicken 🙂

Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken 1 - Kalas Kalai

Oven-Baked Tandoori Chicken garnished with Lime Wedge and Onion Rings

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Vennai Pittu (Coconut-Milk Rice Pudding)

Merry Christmas everyone! Every Christmas feast should have a dessert. Vennai Pittu derives its name from the Tamil word vennai which means ‘butter’ due to its soft and uniform consistency. This light and easy dessert is a delicious way to wind up the heavy protein-and-fat rich Christmas lunch or dinner.

Vennai Pittu - Kalas Kalai

Vennai Pittu (Coconut-Milk Rice Pudding)

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Kala’s Vaankozhi (Turkey) Biriyani

Turkey meat is only used at Christmastime in Tamil Nadu – we don’t have Thanksgiving here, we prefer to complain all the time 🙂 We can’t just walk into a store and buy it either, we have to place an order in advance. Despite these difficulties, it is increasingly popular in Christmas biriyani, in place of the usual mutton or chicken. The flavour of turkey is so very different that the usual combination of spices and cooking method does not work. I have created this recipe keeping the spices to a minimum compared to the usual biriyanis and also used the bones to prepare stock to add richness. The turkey meat resembles mutton closely in texture, and therefore I have pressure cooked the meat to give a tender product.

Vaankozhi Biriyani

Kala’s Vaankozhi (Turkey) Biriyani

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Toads in Cups for Christmas

At Christmas we see Christians thronging meat shops with money saved through the year for their annual Christmas feast. I once witnessed a family buying such a variety of meat at one go that I kept speaking about it for days, much to the amused exasperation of my family! Sausages are particularly popular during this season. They are usually only fried, but I wanted to try something different that people can serve when they celebrate with guests or family.

Toads in Cups for Christmas 1 - Kalas Kalai

Toad in Cups for Christmas

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