In Tamil cooking vinegar is hardly ever used. It may find its way into a few pickles, but even that is very rare. That is why this recipe is honoured with kaadi (vinegar) in the title. My uncle was in the Indian Air Force, and posted in the North during his service. He used to bring his family in summer to visit the relatives in Thirunelveli, and on the way, they used to make a halt in Chennai and stay a few days with us. In those days, the most convenient train was the Janata Express, which though called express, always came a day late. Therefore, for this journey, my aunt used to make chappatis and this vinegar fry which would keep easily for 2 days without refrigeration.
I discovered a ‘Carpetbag Steak’ recipe when browsing through an old cookbook from my personal library. I was fascinated by the concept of stuffing steaks or fillets and skewering or suturing them with cotton thread before grilling or broiling. But the stuffing that is used in these recipes is not the norm in Tamil kitchens, because we do not combine meat with shellfish (mussels or oysters). So, I use a spicy vegetarian stuffing to add flavour to the carpetbag meat.
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 🙂
Now that the temperature in Tamil Nadu is hovering around 35° C and schools are beginning to close for summer vacation, everyone is longing for cool treats to beat the heat. This is the perfect time to make ice cream, as homemade ice cream is cheaper and healthier than what you get in the store. Plain Vanilla Ice Cream can be served with Carrot Halwa to make it even more interesting.
Though we’re past the Spring Equinox, good quality cauliflower is still available. The tomatoes are also luscious. In Tamil Nadu, cauliflower is rarely combined with prawns, so I decided to experiment combining the two with tomatoes. The crisp texture of the fried prawns and the turgor of cauliflower add an interesting mouthfeel to the dish.
Pork Vindaloo is primarily a Goan preparation with many variations found throughout the west coast. It is very easy to make and will keep even for 3 days without refrigerating. I have experimented making it with different combinations of spices, and finally I arrived at this recipe which is not too spicy and could be eaten with rice or chappatis.