Pachmela Dal

I do not often make dals. Mainly because they are bland and do not pair well with rice. But, they go extremely well with Indian flat-breads. Since I have rice in the afternoon and a palaharam (dosa, idli, roti…) for dinner, the wet dish to accompany both meals is always a problem. The ones that…

Elavan Kootu (Ash Gourd Curry)

Kootu (a wet curry) is almost a staple in most South Indian homes. It is invariably bland and there are several types of kootu. Often paired with a sambar (or any other spicy curry that is mixed with rice), kootu is the perfect counterbalance to a spicy curry. There are several ways of preparing kootu…

Lo Mein Noodles

With my stock of noodles, planning meals has become easier. In an earlier avatar, I used to visit a Chinese restaurant whenever the mood for noodles was upon me (which was often). Having become more conscious of ingredients after I turned vegan, this became a difficult exercise. Because it was difficult, if not impossible, to…

Manga Inji Kuzhambu (Mango Ginger Curry)

Crucuma amada is a rhizome related to the ginger and turmeric families. It has a distinct raw mango flavour. Called manga inji in South India and amba (or ambad) haldi in other parts of the country, it is a delicious root and has several medicinal properties. Having said that, it is also very tasty. It…

Mukunuwenna Mallam (Ponnangani Keerai, Dwarf Copperleaf Stir Fry)

I have heard a lot about Ponnangani Keerai, but don’t recall ever having consumed it. Probably because it was not available in Singapore when I lived there. Therefore, I was not even aware of what this green looked like. I visited a roadside vegetable vendor last week and saw this green tucked away in a…

Spicy Urad Dal (Split Black Lentil)

Dals (as opposed to the South Indian kootans) are rarely made in my home. The reason is simple enough. Lunch is the main meal and it invariably consists of whole rice, a kootan, a vegetable and a salad. Since dinner is a simple affair, the kootan gets carried over to this meal. Depending upon the…

Murungai Keerai Sambar (Moringa Greens Lentil Curry)

Moringa powder is the latest fad to hit the health food market. This powder is made from dried moringa leaves. I, however, prefer the fresh leaves. And since I have a tree growing in my back garden, I get an abundant stock of moringa leaves. The most common dish using this delightful green is the…

Mullangi And Carrot Mulakootal (Radish And Carrot Dal)

Mulakootal is a traditional ‘dal’ native to Palakkad. The dal is in quotes since South Indians do not have a concept of dal – it is normally a kootan, a wet dish to be mixed with rice. Mulakootal is a bland kootan. It normally is made with vegetables such as ash gourd, spinach, Chinese potato…

Masala Kakrol (Teasle Gourd Curry)

I have seen teasle gourd (also called spiny gourd) in the market for several decades, but never found the inclination to purchase. That’s mainly because the vegetable is alien to me, never having seen or tasted it in my formative years. About a couple of years ago, I decided to give it a try as…

Seyal Bhee Patata (Lotus Root And Potato Curry)

Several decades ago, the Indian Express Group of Publications presented me with a cookbook (I still have this with me). It featured recipes from all over India and some from the rest of the world. One recipe, in particular, fascinated me. It is a Sindhi recipe using lotus root. Till then, I had only consumed…