Pudalankai Thuvaram (Snake Gourd Fry)

Thuvaram is a kind of a fry or poriyal which is popular in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. There are 2 varieties of thuvaram: one uses the vegetable and very few seasonings; the other includes a small amount of red gram dhal and coconut ground with garlic and cumin seeds. Pudalankai (Podalankai/Podalangai) or snake gourd is suitable for the first type. Later on I’ll be posting the second variety also.

Pudalankai Thuvaram - Kalas Kalai

Pudalankai Thuvaram (Snake Gourd Fry)

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Kala’s Yam Fry

The yam that is commonly available in the markets here in Chennai is Elephant Yam, cut into large chunks. Yam is sliced into thin pieces and made into chips in most households. My mother also used to make that, but I used to dislike it 🙂 It did teach me that yam could be diced and fried, and I developed my own, simple yam fry that is easy to make. I am sure there are several recipes with various spice combinations available, but mine uses the minimum of spices for a mild flavour.

Kalas Yam Fry - Kalas Kalai

Kalas Yam Fry

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Keerai Kadaiyal (Mashed Greens)

This dish is a family specialty. A Keerai Kadaiyal is usually made with mashed greens tempered with mustard, red chillies, and asafoetida fried in oil. I feel that it takes away the flavour of the greens compared to this recipe. The onion, garlic, and green chillies boiled with the greens not only bring out the flavour of the greens but also enhance the taste of the kadaiyal. It is always served with fish curries like Live Viraal Meen Kuzhambu, Ayirai Meen Kuzhambu, and Unripe Mango and Katla Curry.

Keerai Kadaiyal - Kalas Kalai

Keerai Kadaiyal (Mashed Greens)

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Chicken Cutlet

Doctors also can be good cooks 🙂 This recipe is from my ophthalmologist cousin Suriya, who specialises in low fat cooking. She served these cutlets when we had gone over for dinner, and we loved it. She was very happy to give the recipe. Her method used the entire chicken as she doesn’t get only the skinless, boneless breast.  I have modified the recipe by using chicken breast and also cooked the chicken using my own recipe for chicken stock. In this way, I get the cooked chicken for the cutlet and the stock for other dishes.

Chicken Cutlet - Kalas Kalai

Chicken Cutlet

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Kala’s Senai (Elephant Yam) Curry

In the Tamil movie Samayalkaran (Chef/Cook) a recently discharged soldier is not recognised by his family and is appointed as their cook. He surprises them with a preparation that is mistaken for mutton curry but is actually a yam curry. In Tamil cooking, yam is usually used to make chips or poriyal (fry), and I was therefore struck by the idea of a yam curry. I was determined to make one for myself and finally came up with this recipe in 2017, a full 20 years after I saw the movie on TV 🙂

Kalas Yam Curry 1 - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Yam Curry

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Peas and Cauliflower Fry

This is March, and it is the beginning of summery spring in Tamil Nadu. The supply of all those lovely winter vegetables is dwindling. It is time to make this peas and cauliflower fry and say goodbye to the luscious fresh vegetables. This vegetable fry is a very common dish that appears on the menu in most Tamilian households. The vegetables are easy to clean, and there is no elaborate pre-preparation of spicy masalas. I have made only one change in the recipe. In Tamil cooking, black gram dhal and Bengal gram dhal are used in small amounts along with mustard for tempering. I personally feel that these dhals take away or mask the flavour of the vegetables, especially peas and cauliflower. So I do not use them. If you do not have cauliflower, you can use cabbage instead.

peas-and-cauliflower-fry-kalas-kalai

This is a very mild flavoured dish, and it can be served along with spicy gravies, such as Urundai Kari (Meatball Curry and Fry) and Urundaikkari Vellai Kuzhambu (Meatballs in White Gravy). It is also suitable for little children and the elderly as it is very bland. Continue reading

Kala’s Simple Vegetable Cutlet

The typical vegetarian cutlet available in Tamil Nadu has a very firm outer surface with a very spicy mix inside, which I dislike. We used to make the traditional spicy type in the WCC cookery lab when I was a student, which is where I learnt the concept of using rice flour as a coating. I was convinced that I could make a better cutlet which wouldn’t assault my taste buds. I developed this recipe once I retired – better late than never 🙂 – to have a tasty yet mild flavour, with a thin crust to make it easy for children and elders to eat.

Kalas Simple Vegetable Cutlet - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Simple Vegetable Cutlet

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