I have come across a wide variety of dishes from many states as students from all across India attended Women’s Christian College, Chennai. This is a dish from Andhra Pradesh. My student M.S. Vani prepared this dish in my dietetics lab session. I was very impressed by its nutritive value, and the dish was novel to me. I got the recipe from her and modified it by adding onion to improve the flavour. I also reworked the cooking method to cook the tomatoes with the onions and boiled the carrots to remove the raw flavour.
The unique flavour of prawns lends itself to be combined with different kinds of vegetables. I have already posted a few such recipes (Prawn and Colocasia Curry, Prawn and Cabbage Curry, Prawn and Snake Gourd Poriyal). Another advantage in combining prawns with vegetables is that it has no skin or bones, and the flavour does not vary with the type of prawn. I created this recipe combining prawns with capsicum and a different combination of spices from the others.
This is another handy recipe for when you have more curds than you need for your daily consumption, and you are looking for ways to use it up. I have created a very easy-to-prepare chicken dish with very few spices (compared to what we usually use in Tamil Nadu for non-vegetarian cooking) and thick fresh curds.
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.
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.
My apologies if you were expecting something romantic based on the title 🙂 Last week saw extreme flooding in Chennai when two depressions, one in the Bay of Bengal and the other in the Arabian Sea, hit the Tamil Nadu coast. There was widespread power failure – the transformer in front of my home blew spectacularly under the deluge and left us without electricity for a long time. This presented me with 2 problems
- I had chicken in the freezer that had thawed out and would spoil if I didn’t cook it.
- I had no electricity to power my blender, which most Indian cooking depends on. Modern Indian homes also don’t have an ammi (grinding stone) to prepare the masala.
Standing in my candlelit kitchen, I came up with this simple recipe which does not require electricity to prepare the masala.
Cooking with mushrooms was almost unheard of in the urban and semi-urban areas of Tamil Nadu. Therefore, there are not many mushroom recipes available. But in the last 30 years or so cultivated mushrooms have come into the market and now button mushrooms are available in all the supermarkets and high-end vegetable markets. Now that it has taken the fancy of housewives, even Tamil recipe books have at least one mushroom recipe. I have always been fascinated by the Coorg area, and when I came across Cuisine from Coorg by Ranee Vijaya Kuttaiah, I immediately looked for mushroom recipe in her collection, and there it was, the Koomu Curry. I have taken the liberty of making it less spicy (less hot) and also changed the method of frying the masala to make it more flavourful to compensate for the earthy taste of the mushrooms. I have also made it easier by using powders rather than grinding whole spices.