Monday, October 10, 2016

Kovaikkai varuval (கோவைக்காய் வறுவல்)

I have tasted this kind of spicy kovakkai fry in buffets, till then I used to make a simple poriyal only. I too started making it  at home using sambar powder and it tasted same as the Mirchi's.  Though this is a very easy and quick version, the success of the recipe depends on the way they chop the vegetable. These long slender pieces of this vegetable makes it a more yummy dish (my opinion !).
Enjoy this spicy South Indian side dish !

Kovaikkai  / Tindora / Ivy gourd ;  Varuval - pan roasting
Slice the tindora just like this.

Saute it in oil

Cook covered

After adding sambar powder

Kovaikkai varuval

Kovaikkai - 250 gm (1/2 lb)
Sesame oil / peanut oil - 3 tbsp
mustard (kadugu) - 1 tsp
urid dal - 1 tsp
red onion (small) - 1
homemade sambar powder - 2 tsp
turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
curry leaf - few
salt - to taste

Preparation: (20 minutes)
Rinse the Ivy gourd very well (thrice). Remove the top and bottom of each. No need to remove skin. Slice them into very thin long slices (see images).
Finely chop onion. Keep it along with curry leaf.
Method: (10 minutes)
Heat oil in a wok. Slide in the mustard and urid dal. Let the mustard crackle. Add the chopped onion, curry leaf. Fry till onion gets soft (1 minute approx).
Put the sliced Kovaikkai. Saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered in low heat (5 mins) till kovakkai is tender crisp.
Add the required salt, turmeric powder, sambar powder and stir well. Cook covered for 2 more minutes with a tbsp of water.
Tindora fry is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Makes  4 servings.
Serve as side dish with sambar rice, any rice variety, chapati , roti.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Vendaikkai puli pachadi (வெண்டைக்காய் புளி பச்சடி )

Vendaikai - okra / ladies finger ; puLi - tamarind ; pachadi - a Tamil recipe for tender crisp side dish.
Most pachadi I make are curd based. But this one is different.
I have seen this side dish more in Tirunelveli than Chennai.  It might have originated in Kerala (as many pachadi are popular there) . It was introduced to my amma by Rukmani aunty and I 'by hearted' it keenly as I thought recipes like this are complex at that time. But nowadays I am confident to say that this recipe is not a time consuming one, if we know various short cuts in the kitchen.
Try and let me know if you like this recipe !

Okra / ladies finger (what a name !) / vendaikkai
Chop it into small rounds

Fry the okra along with onion tadka

Add required masala powders and continue frying

Cook till raw smell vanishes. 

Add tamarind extract. 

Add cooked dal, salt. bring to a boil.  Switch off.

Okra pachadi is ready !

Okra - 200 gm
coconut oil - 2 tbsp
mustard (kadugu) - 1 tsp
urid dal - 1 tsp
chopped red onion - 1/2 cup
green chili - 1 (slit)
curry leaf - little
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chili powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste
tamarind - amla size + hot water - 1 cup ( to make tamarind extract)
cooked thuvar dal - 1/2 cup

Rinse the okra and pat dry using a clean kitchen towel. Let it air-dry while we gather all other ingredients. Cook the thuvar dal and keep it ready.
Extract tamarind juice by soaking the tamarind in hot water. (or use a tbsp of readymade tamarind paste).
Chop the okra and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the mustard and as soon as it starts crackling, add urid dal and fry till popping stops. Then add chopped red onion, chili, curry leaf and cook till onion turns soft.
Then add chopped okra. Now it may seem slimy. But keep on stirring in low heat. After few minutes add the masala powders (instead of all these powders a tbsp of  sambar powder would be enough too). Keep on stirring for one more minute and this direct heat will reduce the raw smell of masalas. Then add tamarind extract. Bring to a boil. Add salt. Cook covered till okra is almost tender crisp.
Tamarind removes the sliminess of okra. Then add cooked dal. Stir well , bring to a boil and switch off.
Okra pachadi is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Makes a perfect side dish with simple dal rice or sambar rice.
Sometimes I make it as side dish with chapti too.

In this dish I have used cooked dal, which I reserve while making sambar. Cooked toor dal can stay safe in freezer for almost 2 weeks. I haven't tested beyond that. Cooked toor dal in reserve comes handy for making rasam, side dishes etc.
But never try sambar with frozen dal, as Sambar tastes good  with freshly cooked toor dal experience !