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Taste of Tamil Nadu

For a change of fare, try out these delectable dishes from Tamil Nadu

There is more to food from Tamil Nadu than just sambar, rasam and a variety of snacks. There is a range of lip-smacking traditional delicacies that can be made easily at home.

If you are game to eat them, try the recipes listed below. The paruppu urandai kozhumbu, though laborious to cook, makes a great meal with rice. Other vegetables may be served as side dishes.

Cauliflower Melagu Peratti

Ingredients:

Cauliflower (only florets): 600 gm

Oil: 30 ml
Mustard seeds: 8 gm
Onions (chopped): 3
Salt to taste
Black peppercorns (freshly ground): 40 gm
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Urad dal: 10 gm
Dry red chillies: 8

Method:

Blanch the small florets of cauliflowers, drain and keep aside. Crush peppercorn to a fine powder.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add mustard seeds, urad dal and dry red chillies. Stir over medium heat until the mustard begins to crackle.

Then add chopped onions and saute till translucent. Add boiled cauliflower, salt and crushed peppercorns. Finish with curry leaves. Check for seasoning.

Urlaikelangu Varuval

Ingredients:

Baby potatoes: 1 kg
Oil: to fry potatoes
Mustard seeds: 8 gm
Onions (medium size): 3
Curry leaves: 1sprig
Chilli powder: 20 gm
Salt to taste

Method:

Peel the potatoes and deep fry them and keep aside. Heat some oil in a kadhai, add mustard seeds, dry red chillies, sliced onion and curry leaves. Saute till the onions become translucent.

Add fried potatoes and toss them in the tempering. Remove from fire, add chilli powder and toss. Check for seasoning.

Keerai Masial

Ingredients:

Country greens or spinach: 1 kg
Onions: 2
Green chillies: 4
Ghee: 80 ml
Mustard seeds: 10 gm
Garlic: 15 flakes
Dry red chillies: 6
Jeera: 5 gm
Tamarind: 50 gm
Tomatoes: 50 gm
Urad dal: 15 gm
Turmeric powder: 1 pinch

Method:

Clean and wash greens thoroughly. Cut onions roughly and slit green chillies.

Blanch the spinach with onions and green chillies.

Arrest the cooking with cold water.

Make a puree of the greens.

Heat ghee, add mustard seeds, chopped garlic, dry red chillies, and urad dal.

When they crackle, add fresh tomato puree and turmeric powder.

Add the puree of greens, salt and tamarind extract and boil. Check for seasoning.

Paruppu Urandai Kozhambhu

Ingredients:

Chana dal: 500 gm
Saunf (aniseeds): 15 gm
Dry red chillies: 12
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Mustard seeds: 8 gm
Jeera: 5 gm
Methi seeds: 3 gm
Dry red chillies: 4 nos.
Onions (medium size): 3
Tomatoes: 500 gm
Ginger-garlic-paste: 10 gm
Tamarind extract: 75 gm
Coconut paste: 50 gm
Chilli powder: 15 gm
Coriander powder: 30 gm
Turmeric powder: 3 gm
Salt to taste

Method:

Soak chana dal, saunf, dry red chillies and curry leaves for two hours.

Drain and grind to a coarse paste.

Divide the paste into equal portions and roll them into balls and steam them.

Heal oil in a handi, add mustard seeds, jeera, methi and dry red chillies.

When they crackle, add sliced onions.

When onions turn golden brown, add ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw flavour goes.

Add fresh tomato puree and coconut paste and cook for some time, adding little water if required.

Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and tamarind extract and allow the gravy to cook till oil starts leaving the sides of the handi.

Adjust seasoning. Put the lentil dumplings into the gravy and allow the dumplings to get soaked in the gravy.

O. P. KHANTWAL

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