Kongu Nadu Specials

 

Kongu Kondai Kadalai Kuruma( Black Channa Kuruma)

The word Kongu, in Tamil means honey , nectar. The Kongu region is very spectacular, forms the Western part of Tamil- Nadu. Kongu Nadu comprises of  Coimbatore, Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur, Tirupur, Udumalpet, Dharapuram, Pollachi, Nilgiris, Palani and Sathyamangalam. I  belong to this Kongu belt. Very simple food, very tasty. Coriander seeds, peanuts, coconut, roasted gram ( Pottu kadalai ), sesame seeds, are used in most of the dishes. Especially hand pounded spices impart a good flavour.

This Kuruma is a typical Pollachi Special. Small onions give a nice aroma. Black channa is very nutritious, high in protein content. Best served with plain white rice, phulka, puri and crisp dosas. I make this dish very often at home. The recipe for you.

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Ingredients

Boiled black channa – 2 cups

( keep the boiled channa and the stock, take 1/2 cup channa and blend it smoothly.)

Coriander powder – 1  teaspoon

Red chilli powder – 1  teaspoon

Cumin ( jeera) powder – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder –  2  pinches

Salt to taste

Jaggery – 1/2 teaspoon

Small onions(  pearl onions) – 1/2  cup ( finely chopped)

To make small onion paste

Peeled whole small onions – 1cup ( fry in oil to

golden brown colour,  put in a plate, cool and blend to a fine paste )

To make the tomato paste

Chopped tomatoes – 2

Garlic – 5 pods

Ginger – 1  inch piece  ( chopped)

Green chilli – 1

Saunf ( aniseed )  – 2 pinches

Tamarind paste –  1/2 teaspoon

Blend all the above mentioned ingredients to a nice   paste.

To Season

Oil –  4 tablespoons

Cardamom – 1 ( pounded with the skin)

To Garnish

Finely chopped green coriander leaves and curry leaves – little

Method

Heat a pan. Add oil. Season 1 cardamom. Fry the chopped small onions to a golden colour. Add the tomato paste. Fry in medium flame for 5 to 8  minutes. Add the dry spice powders. Sauté on sim flame. Next, add the boiled black Channa with the water. Add the blended channa paste, blended small onion paste. Add salt to taste and jaggery. Simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off . Garnish and serve hot.

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Chef’s  Tips

1) Use only small onions, the taste is  just excellent.

2) In case the Kuruma becomes thick, dilute with little warm water.

 

 

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Easy Corn Soup

Corn Soup With Bell PepperTopping

This Sweet Corn Soup is creamy and very, very easy to make. American Sweet Corn is available everywhere now. Very filling when served with garlic bread and a salad. The recipe for you.

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Corn Soup with  Garlic Bread

Ingredients

Boiled Sweet Corn – 2cups

Boiled cooled milk – 1cup

Milk powder – 2 tablespoons

Green chilli – 1/2 inch piece

Salt to taste

white pepper powder – 2 pinches

Method

Take a big blender jar. Add all the above mentioned ingredients. Blend till smooth. Transfer the mix to a pan. Heat it on sim flame for 5 minutes. Serve hot  with bell pepper topping. Serve with garlic bread.

For The Bell PepperTopping

Heat a pan. Keep the flame in sim. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion and 1 cup of chopped green, red and yellow bell peppers. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste. Use as a topping on the Corn Soup.

Chef’s Tips 

1) Boil the Soup on sim flame, so that the Soup will not discolour.

2) Do not add too much green chilli as the Soup will become very, very spicy.

3) If the soup becomes little thick, dilute it with little boiled milk.

Bombay Style Paal Payasam( Kheer)

Paal Payasam( Kheer)

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Bombay Style Paal Payasam ( Kheer) and  Medhu Vadai

I , learnt this recipe from my mother-in- law. We went together to Bombay for a relatives wedding , it was there I saw this Payasam and when I told my mil ,she then and there shared this recipe. The first thing we came to Chennai, we tried this Payasam in a Pressure Cooker. Wow, it was incredible. My joy knew no bounds. Together we achieved the Peachish Pink colour , a slight tone of caramel, coloured Payasam. Smelt really good. From then I follow only this recipe. My children simply love this Paal Payasam. I love to serve this Payasam with Medhu Vadai. I made it at home today and I’m extremely happy to share this recipe with all of you . A superb payasam with just 3  ingredients.

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Ingredients

Full fat milk – 2 litres( 8 cups)

Basmathi Rice – 2tablespoons(levelled) (soak Basmathi rice for 1/2 an hour in water)

Sugar – 1 and 3/4 cups

Method

Take a, big 6litre capacity pressure cooker. Switch on the stove and keep the pressure cooker. First add milk. When the milk boils sim the stove and add the drained Basmathi rice. Mix well. Put the cooker lid and the weight. Keep the flame on sim and just leave it for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the cooker will try to hiss. Lift the weight manually and put it back at once. Do not allow the cooker to whistle by putting on high flame, it will splatter and all your kitchen backsplash will get messy. See to it that the flame is in sim.

After 45minutes, switch off the stove. Leave it aside for 20 minutes. Open the cooker. Mix gently. Put the cooker back on the stove, add sugar and mix gently. Allow it to simmer for10 to 15 minutes. Switch off the stove. Serve hot or cold.

Chef’s Tips

1) After adding sugar to the payasam, do not keep on high flame as it will get scorched.

2) Do not add too much rice , the Payasam will become very thick.

3) Leave the Payasam in it’s natural taste, do not add any condensed milk , cardamom powder, nuts or ghee. The taste will change.

 

Aloo Aloo

Vasu’s  Aloo  Curry

This curry is close to my heart. It’s one of the signature dishes of my mother Vasundhara. Coriander seeds , cumin(jeera) seeds, and  Kashmiri dry red chillies give a remarkable flavour to this curry. It’s a semi- dry curry. Goes well with sambar rice, phulkas, curd rice, stuffing for dosas, hot parathas and etc etc. Give a try and I’m sure you’ ll love it.

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Ingredients

Big potatoes – 3 ( boiled, peeled and cubed to big pieces)

Onions – 2 ( peeled and diced to big pieces)

Turmeric powder – 2 pinches

Salt to taste

Soak in water for 1 hour 

Coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons

Cumin seeds ( jeera ) – 1 tablespoon

Dry Kashmiri red chillies – 4

After soaking for an hour, drain and blend to a little coarse paste with little water.

To  Season

Oil –  3  tablespoons

Mustard seeds – 1/2  teaspoon

To  Garnish

Torn curry leaves  –  little

Method

Heat a pan . Add oil and season the mustard seeds. Fry the onion on medium flame till transparent. Add the paste, cubed potatoes, salt to taste , turmeric powder and 1/4 cup water. Cover and boil for 5 minutes on sim flame. Open the lid and add torn curry leaves. Mix well. Cover and cook for further 3 minutes on sim flame. A semi- dry curry is ready to serve hot . Enjoy  with your family and friends.

Chef’s  Tips

1)To make this curry for puri mash the potatoes and add  a little extra water.

2) Can use this curry as a stuffing for  wrap. Cut  potatoes to small cubes after boiling  and peeling.

3) Cool the potatoes well before handling them.

Today’s Special

 

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Vegetable Biriyani, Salna Baingan  and Boondhi Raitha

Salna Baingan

This name is very different, is’ nt it. Salna is a famous spicy curry , either mixed or served with parottas, and very popular in  Madurai and Virudhunagar areas. Baingan is brinjal. Last night , I  was planning to make a mix of salna and brinjal and I  formulated this recipe . Today’s Special, I made it for lunch at home and just tasted great, I wanted to share this recipe at once with all of you. Yummy to the core.  ENJOY.

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Ingredients

Big , firm, brinjal – 1( cut to big  pieces)

Sliced onion –  1

Sliced tomato – 1

Tamarind paste –  1teaspoon

Coriander powder –  1  teaspoon

Kashmiri chilli powder –  1 teaspoon

Cumin powder ( jeera powder) –  1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder –  2  pinches

Crystal salt  –  to taste

Jaggery –  a small piece

Grind to a fine paste

Small onions – 6 ( peeled and chopped)

Tomatoes  –  1  ( chopped )

Green chillies  -1 (chopped)

Ginger – 1 inch piece ( peeled and chopped )

Garlic – 5 flakes ( chopped )

Saunf ( aniseed ) –  2pinches

To Season

Oil – 3   tablespoons

Whole pepper corns  –  6

To Garnish

Finely chopped curry leaves and green coriander leaves  –  each  1  tablespoon

Method

Heat a pressure cooker. Add oil. Season the whole black pepper . Next, fry the onions on medium flame. Once the onions turn translucent, add the sliced tomato. Sauté for 5 minutes on sim flame. Now, add the blended paste. Sauté for five minutes on sim flame till the raw smell goes. Add salt and jaggery. Add all the dry spice powders. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the brinjal pieces,  tamarind paste and  2 cups of water. Mix well. Cover with the lid. Put the weight and cook for 3  whistles on high flame. Switch off. Leave the cooker aside for 20  minutes. Open the cooker  and mix gently. Boil till little thick. Garnish and serve hot with Vegetable Biriyani and a Boondi Raitha.

Chef’s Tips

1) Mix the salna gently ,  do not break the brinjal pieces.

2) Can also garnish with little gingerjuliennes.

 

Vegetable Biriyani

Oh!  This is my  most  darling  recipe , the most easiest. Saffron and ghee waft a nice aroma in the kitchen. Do try it and enjoy with your family and friends. Please post your feedback.

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Ingredients

Basmathi rice – 1cup ( washed  once and soaked in water for 30  minutes )

Sliced onion – 1

Carrot ( cut to batons) – 1/2 cup

Beans ( cut to long pieces) – 1/2 cup

Green peas – 1 handful

Knol- Khol ( turnip ) ( peeled and diced to big cubes) – 1/2 cup

Saffron – 2pinches

Salt to taste

Oil –  2  tablespoons

Water –   2 cups

To Marinate  ( for 1/2  an hour) 

Whisked thick curds – 1 cup

Diced tomato – 1

Slit green chilli – 1

Fresh ginger and garlic paste – 1 tea spoon

Cloves – 4

Cardamoms – 2

Cinnamon – 1  small piece

Star anise –  1

Cumin seed powder – 1 teaspoon

Coriander seed powder – 1 teaspoon

Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 2 pinches

Garam masala powder – 1/2  teaspoon

Finely chopped  mint leaves and  green coriander leaves – each  1 heaped table spoon

To Garnish

Ghee ( clarified butter ) –  2table spoons

Method

Heat a non stick pan. Add oil. First fry the sliced onions on medium flame for 5 minutes till transparent. Next add the marinated mixture. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add all the vegetables and salt to taste.Saute for 5 minutes. Add the drained rice.Add 2cups of water. Keep on high flame. Once the mixture boils, sim the flame and cover it. Cook for 20 minutes. Open, add ghee and stir gently. Switch off the flame. Serve hot with Salna baingan and Boondi raitha.

Chef’s Tips 

1) Stir the rice gently.

2) Home made ginger garlic paste tastes good.

Boondhi Raitha

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Boondhi ( I have used Haldhirams raitha boondhi )  –  1 cup

Thick whisked curds –  2cups

Salt to  taste

Sugar- 2  pinches

To Garnish

Coarsely crushed  black pepper powder – 2pinches

Finely chopped coriander leaves – little

Chaat masala –  2pinches

Method

Take a big bowl. Mix in the curds , salt, sugar and the boondhi. Garnish and serve with Vegetable Biriyani  and Salna Baingan.

Chef’s Tips

1) Add boondhi to the curds just before serving .

 

Very, Very Nice Orange Gojju

Orange  Gojju

Hope  you all had a Wonderful Deepavali. After eating sweets, savouries,  we will feel like having something light and little easy on the stomach. Here comes the Orange Gojju, very refreshing and aromatic, helps in digestion, truely my family favourite. Orange is a store house of Dietary fibre, Vitamin C and VitaminE, Riboflavin,Calcium, Zinc, and Iron.

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Enjoy this gojju with piping hot rice, ghee , dhal, vegetables and curds. Goes well with Arisi upma ( rice Upma ), Pongal, Adai, Dosai,  Rava Upma, Sevai Varieties and Curd rice. The recipe for you.

Ingredients

Orange –  1 ( washed,  de- seeded and chopped to small pieces with the peel ) ( Add 1 teaspoon sugar  and  little salt and mix well. Keep it covered and leave aside )

Thick tamarind extract  –  1 cup

Crystal salt to taste

Sugar  –  2 tablespoons

Jaggery  ( grated )  – 2 tablespoons

Sambar powder – 1 tablespoon

Turmeric powder – 2 pinches

Asafoetida powder  – 1/2 teaspoon

Rice flour –  1 teaspoon

Water –  1/2 cup

To Season

Oil –  2 tablespoons

Mustard  seeds – 1 teaspoon

Channa dhal – 1/4 teaspoon

Toovar dhal  –  1/4 teaspoon

Slit green chilli – 1

Broken red chillies – 2

To Garnish

Torn curry leaves – little

Method

Heat a pan, season all the seasoning ingredients one by one. Keep the stove on sim flame. Add the sambar powder, turmeric powder asafoetida powder , salt, sugar and jaggery. Add the thick tamarind extract. Once the mix starts to boil add the orange pieces and boil on medium flame for 5  minutes. Mix the rice flour with water and simmer for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish, mix and serve.

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Orange Gojju with Lemon Sevai 

Chef’s Tips

1) Adding salt and sugar to the chopped orange and mixing well will prevent it from becoming bitter.

2) Adding a combination of sugar and jaggery , enhances the flavour of the gojju.

3) Can store the gojju , in the fridge for 3  to 4 days. The flavour will improve.

 

My Family Favourites

Vellai  Appam

Easily the best. Vellai in Tamil is white coloured. Appam is a snack dish, we make this for breakfast on Deepavali morning . Usually Vellai appam is deep fried in oil, but this time, I made it in a Kuzhi paniyaram pan to avoid extra oil. My family favourite recipe  just for you.

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Ingredients

Raw rice – 1 cup

Whole urad dhal – 3/4  cup

Salt to taste

Green chillies – 2 ( chopped fine)

Coconut pieces ( chopped fine) –  3tablespoons

Finely chopped ginger –  1 tablespoon

Coarsely crushed black pepper  powder – 1teaspoon

Finely chopped curry leaves –  little

Oil enough to fry the vellai appam

Method

Wash and soak the raw rice in water for 2 hours. Wash and soak the urad dhal in water for 2 hours. Drain the urad dhal and grind in a wet grinder with sprinkling little water to a fluffy vada batter consistency. Transfer the batter to a dish. Next , drain and grind the rice  with little water to a very fine paste. Mix both the urad dhal and rice batters well with salt to taste. Rest the batter for 3 hours. Cover and keep it aside. Mix in the chopped green chillies, chopped coconut pieces, and crushed pepper. Add chopped  ginger and curry leaves. Mix well.

Heat a Kuzhi paniyaram pan . Drizzle oil  in the cups. Heat on medium flame. Pour the batter upto 3/4 of each up. Cover the pan with a lid. Cook on sim flame till golden. Carefully turn the appam. Drizzle little oil. Cook till golden on the other side. Lift the appam slowly and store in a container. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Chef’s Tips

1)The vellai appam batter need not be fermented. Can make it immediately.

2) For best result always grind the soaked urad dhal and rice in a wet grinder.

 

Super Super Sweet

TRIBHAGAM

Wishing  You  All  A  Very Happy Deepavali.

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This, is a very special sweet from Tirunelveli. Tirunelveli, fondly known as Nellai , is in Tamil-Nadu, famous for it’s Wheat halwa and Huge Temples.

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This sweet is specially made for Diwali and all auspicious occasions.

Tribhagam , means three parts. Yes, this recipe has three steps to prepare and can be made just like that in a jiffy. Saffron and edible, refined camphor play a great role in flavouring this sweet. The recipe for you.

Ingredients

Besan (Channa dhal flour) –  1cup

Milk powder-  2  tablespoons

Sugar – 1cup + 1  tablespoon

Hot , melted ghee- 1/4  cup + 1  tablespoon

Boiled, cooled milk –  1/2 cup +2tablespoons

Saffron ( soaked in little warm milk) –  2 pinches

Edible refined camphor(  Pachai  karpooram) – 1 pinch- ( crushed)

To Garnish 

Chopped  cashew nuts and pistachios –  little

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Method

Heat a  non- stick pan. First add sugar and milk. Boil on high flame for 3  minutes. Next, boil on medium flame for 3 minutes.

Sieve the besan. Dry roast in a pan for 3 minutes on sim flame. Transfer to a plate.  Add the besan to the sugar and milk mixture. Stir well to avoid lumps. Add milk powder. Add ghee little by little. Add the saffron and refined (crushed ) camphor.Stir well. Cook on sim flame.

When the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, and becomes frothy, take a little mix and cool it slightly and make a ball. Yes, the consistency is right. Switch off the flame and pour in a greased tray. Garnish by sprinkling the nuts on top. Leave it for 5 minutes to cool. Mark squares while it is little warm. After 5 minutes, cut the pieces and store in a nice container.

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Chef’s Tips

1) While roasting the beasan, be careful , not to discolour it.

2) Do not over cook the sweet mix as it will become very hard.

3) Crush the refined camphor and add it so that it will mix uniformly.

4) Can also make the Tribhagam  to a little chewy, halwa consistency by switching off the stove a little earlier. Wrap each  chewy piece in a butter paper and serve.

I

 

Pattu idli and Pachai Malli Sambar

Pattu Idli  &  Pachai Malli Sambar (silky , soft  idli  with  green coriander leaves sambar )

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Pattu idli  as the name suggests,  is simply super soft idli , and I have tried this so so so so many times and it never failed even once. A very simple recipe , can make it for parties and I’m sure your guests will  love it and  appreciate a lot. Here is the recipe for you.

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Ingredients

Idli rice –  4 cups

Whole  urad dhal –  1 cup

Thick poha ( thick rice flakes,  getti aval )  – 1  handful

Salt to taste

Water  –  enough to grind the batter

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My Custom made idli plate

Method

Wash and soak the idli rice in water for 3 hours. Wash and soak the  whole  urad dhal in water for 3 hours. Wash and soak the poha in water ( see that the water is just an inch  above the poha) for 3 hours.  Drain the urad dhal and grind it first with sufficient water  in a wet grinder for 20 minutes till light and fluffy .  Transfer the ground urad dhal into another vessel, cover it and keep it aside. Next , grind the drained rice and drained poha, with enough water to a fine paste. Add this batter to the ground urad dhal. Add salt to taste and mix very well with your hand. Cover the dish and leave it aside  for 8to 10 hours to ferment. Mix well with a ladle  and transfer the batter into  food safe , good quality air tight containers and leave it in the refrigerator.  Make idlis . Serve hot with Pachai Malli Sambar.

Chef’s  Tips

1) Just scoop out the batter and make idlis. Do not mix the batter vigorously up and down and make idlis, by doing this the idlis will not turn out fluffy and soft.

2) Do not make the batter very watery. Grind to a idli  batter consistency.

Pachai Malli Sambar (green coriander leaves sambar)

This recipe is my aunt’s speciality.  OMG! This Sambar is jade green in colour, bursting with flavours. An apt dish for idlis and dosas.

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Ingredients

Boiled toovar dhal( arhar dhal ) with a pinch of turmeric powder – 1/2  cup

Beans ( cut to long pieces) – 1/2 cup

Carrot (cut to batons) –  1/2 cup

Potatoes( peeled and cut to thick slices) –  1/2 cup

Onions – (sliced) – 2

Tomatoes – ( chopped) – 1

Sambar powder- 1teaspoon

Tamarind paste –  1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Jaggery – a small piece

Roast in oil and grind to a fine paste

Oil – 1 teaspoon

Urad dhal- 1 tablespoon

Channa dhal – 1/2 tablespoon

Fenugreek seeds( methi seeds) – 4 numbers

Green chilles- 3 ( cut to pieces)

Roast all the above ingredients to a golden colour  and grind it with cleaned and washed and chopped green coriander leaves ( 1 bunch) and  1/2 cup of grated coconut, with little water to a fine paste.

To Season

Oil –  2tablespoons

Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon

Cumin( jeera) seeds- 1/2 teaspoon

Method

Heat a pan. Season . Fry sliced onions on medium flame till translucent. Add the chopped  tomatoes and sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add sambar powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tamarind paste , salt to taste, and the jaggery. Add the boiled toovar dhal and the boiled vegetables.  Add little water. Boil for 5 minutes on sim flame and finally add the ground paste. Simmer for 2 minutes and switch off the stove.Serve hot with pattu idli.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not over boil the sambar after the ground paste is  added as it will discolour.

2)Cutting the vegetables in the same size  will give a good look, table presentation and plating are very , very important.

 

 

 

Tempting Thuvaiyal

Pudukottai  Thuvaiyal

Pudukottai  is located  near  Trichy  in Tamil-Nadu . Pudukottai  is famous for the Bhuvaneswari Amman Temple which is just beautiful. My mother learnt this recipe from this temple kitchen. The speciality of this thuvaiyal is whole coriander seeds are used  which gives a nice flavour and aroma. Coriander seeds have a lot of medicinal property , rich in iron , potassium, calcium, folic acid and vitamin A, K, and C. Pudukottai thuvaiyal  is best served with chapatti or piping hot rice with ghee , chips and a  raitha. I am immensely happy to share this preparation with all of you, which we have enjoyed from our childhood days. Thuvaiyal is a little thick chutney.  Happy Cooking.

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Ingredients

Freshly grated coconut –  2 cups

Whole coriander (Dhania) seeds – 3 tablespoons

Dry Kashmiri red chillies- 5

Urad  dal – 1 tablespoon

Channa dal – 1  teaspoon

Tamarind paste – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Jaggery  –  a small piece

Asafoetida powder –  2 pinches

Oil –  1 tablespoon

Method

Heat a pan. Add oil . First fry the red chillies and keep it aside. Next fry the urad dal, channa dal and whole coriander seeds till golden, on sim flame. Add asafoetida powder. Switch off the stove. Put it in a plate to cool. Add salt, jaggery, fried red chillies, tamarind paste            and grated coconut. Blend the mix with very little water to a thick paste. Store in a container. Stays good for 2 days when kept in the refrigerator.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not over roast the coriander seeds as the taste and colour will change.

2) Using Kashmiri chillies gives a good colour to the dish .

 

 

 

Hearty Homely Healthy