Dry Peas Curry

With the monsoon still continuing, cooking with dried legumes becomes very useful. Those in Chennai are very familiar with dry peas sundal (pattani sundal) that is sold on the beach. Here you can use the same dry peas to make a curry and serve with chappati or bread. A steaming hot and fragrant curry will cheer people of all ages when it is raining heavily outside.

Dry Peas Curry - Kalas Kalai

Dry Peas Curry

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Markandam Rasam (Breastbone Curry)

Markandam means thoracic cavity in Tamil. It consists of the ribs and the muscles on them. My grandmother used to prepare this breastbone curry whenever we were recovering from an illness. She believed that the minerals from the bones helped to build immunity. That is why it is called ‘Rasam’ meaning extract. Because it is rasam, the gravy is quite thin in spite of the coconut added to it. It is my favourite mutton preparation, and I used to pester my mother to make it even when we were not ill. Having piping hot markandam rasam with piping hot rice in winter is absolutely divine 🙂

 

Markandam Rasam - Kalas Kalai
Markandam Rasam (Breastbone Curry)

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Kala’s Dry Butter Beans Curry

We have a joke about Chennai rain: January-October – water scarcity; November & December – water scares city :). On some days we are unable to shop due to flooding. It is wise to stock different kinds of legumes to make curries when vegetables are not available. I created this Dry Butter Beans Curry as it is easy to prepare, can be served with chappati or rice, and has an interesting flavour.

Dry Butter Beans Curry - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Dry Butter Beans Curry

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Karamani (Cow Pea) Kootu with Brinjal and Potato

In the early ’80s, I had a Mangalorean student called Sudha who then managed the WCC Canteen for some time, when she introduced this dish on the menu. I was fascinated by its unusual combination of ingredients and flavour that was unique to Tamil taste buds. This is her recipe, which I’ve modified to suit the modern Indian kitchen and shorten the cooking time.

Karamani Kootu with Brinjal and Potato - Kalas Kalai

Karamani (Cow Pea) Kootu with Brinjal and Potato

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Eral and Murungai Keerai Poriyal (Prawn and Drumstick Leaves Fry)

We Tamilians love our drumstick trees, and in villages every house would have one. In Chennai, however, only those with large plots of land have them and the rest of us have to buy drumstick leaves from stores. Drumstick leaves are used to make poriyal (fry). They are not usually combined with other vegetables, but non-vegetarians cook these with either fresh or dry prawns (karuvadu).

Prawns and Drumstick Leaves Poriyal 1 - Kalas Kalai

Eral and Murungai Keerai Poriyal (Prawn and Drumstick Leaves Fry)

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Carrot Tomato Curry

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.

Carrot Tomato Curry - Kalas Kalai

Carrot Tomato Curry

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Sadha Mutton Pirattal (Simple Mutton Curry)

Pirattal in Tamil means stirring or turning. My mother called this recipe sadha meaning plain/ordinary/simple. It does live up to its name as only the coconut and ginger-garlic paste need grinding. She used only garlic, but I have substituted it with ginger-garlic paste to spice it up. This pirattal is so easy to prepare that even cooking noobs can try it 🙂

Sadha Mutton Pirattal - Kalas Kalai

Sadha Mutton Pirattal (Simple Mutton Curry)

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