10 May 2009

Gugi the Cook

And it’s yet another long weekend! So post the partying, eating out, reading, shopping and other such crucial holiday activities, I found myself with some time on hand. Hmm.. what shall I do after doing everything that has to be done during a long weekend? Ah! My much neglected hobby - cooking! 

    The next question was, what do I cook? I sat down to think about this and even before I could sit I knew what I wanted to cook - my Momma's food. So, I made the following dishes, in my mom's Iyengar style:
    • Parupu Korambu/Sambar
    • Beans Karamedu/Subzi
    • Simple Cabbage Leaf Subzi
    • Pooshnika/White Pumpkin Kootu
    Here are the recipes, if you want to try them.

    My mom's recipe:
    1. In a pressure cooker take 1/2 cup toovar/toor dal/ tovaram parupu and wash/rinse it. 3 times thorough wash/rinse is what I go with.
    2. Once the daal is clean, add 1-1.5 cups of clean (needless to say) water to it and a pinch of turmeric.
    3. Put this on the stove, fix on the pressure cooker lid, fit in the weight (don't forget the weight) and cook the dal till its mushy fine, about 5-7 whistles.
    4. After 5 whistles, remove from heat, let the pressure go down, open and see if its all mushy. If not, put it back on for a few more whistles. If done, take a masher or a ladle and swirl and make it a smoothish paste.
    5. Next chop up 1 tomato, as many chilies as you like, and any veggie you want to add to the sambar. 
      Potatoes, pumpkin, beans, brinjal, carrots, any squash, capsicum are all excellent options. (I do not mention onions 'cause I don't like it in my sambar and I did say these ware a Iyengar recipes)
    6. Wash some curry leaves/kari patta and coriander leaves/ dhania patta and keep them handy.
    7. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of dry tam to 2 cups of water. You can also mix one lemon sized round of real tamarind to 2 cups of hot water and strain out the liquid.
    8. Put on a stove a paatram/cooking vessel, turn on the heat to medium high, and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil.
    9. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds/rai/sarson. Wait till it splutters. Holding a lid near the top of the vessel helps contain the splutter.
    10. Now turn down the heat to low and add hing/perunkayam, 2 dry red chillies, 2-3 tablespoons sambar powder, the veggies, the tamarind water and salt to taste.
    11. Turn up the heat to medium and cook till the veggies are cooked through.
    12. Once the veggies are almost done, add the mushy toor dal, curry leaves, jaggery/sugar, and dhania patta/coriander leaves.
    13. Boil for another 5 minutes or so and voila!
    Serve with steamed rice and ghee. 
    Accompaniments: raita/pachadi, applaam. 

    Beans karamedu i.e. subzi
    Mom's recipe
    1. Chop up (French) beans into small pieces. If the beans and tender slightly bigger pieces are not bad, if isn’t too tender, I'd advice you to go for a fine chop.
    2. Add 1 tsp of oil in a kadai/cooking vessel and keep on a medium high stove.
    3. Add kadugu/rai/mustard seeds, allow them all to splutter.
    4. Add a pinch of powdered hing/asafetida/perunkayam.
    5. Add 2 broken dried red chilles to the kadai.
    6. Add the chopped beans, salt to taste, sprinkle 1/2 cup of water and put a lid on it.
    7. In about 10 minutes the beans will be done through, sprinkle grated coconut on it for an authentic Iyengar touch.
    Super simple steamed cabbage
    Hemu's mom's recipe (not an Iyengar recipe)

    1. Take out all your anger on the leaves of a cabbage and tear them to pieces.
    2. Take a deep breath. Exhale.
    3. Put a vessel on medium high heat, add oil, rai/mustard seeds.
    4. Once the seeds have spluttered, add a pinch of turmeric/haldi.
    5. Add a slit chilly or two (optional).
    6. Add some grated, or chopped ginger (non optional, this is what helps you digest the cabbage leaf).
    7. Add the cabbage. Mix it around.
    8. Sprinkle a tablespoon or 2 of water (cabbage releases water so watch out), add salt to taste, put a lid on it and say in 5-7 minutes, you are done with this veggie.
    9. If there is residual water, remove the lid, turn on the heat to high and stir the leaves around, personally I love the water, it keeps the veggie moist.
    Simplest pooshnika/ white pumpkin kootu
    Mommy's recipe
    1. Chop up some white pumpkin. Discard the seeds and the skin.
    2. Put the pumpkin in a vessel with just enough water to cover it (it needs very little water), salt, and a pinch of turmeric powder. Cover the vessel and put it on medium high heat on the stove.
      Alternately, you can cook the pumpkin in the microwave. In a microwave bowl add the chopped white pumpkin with with some water, salt, and the pinch of turmeric. Cover it with a lid and cook till the pumpkin gets cooked (it'll kinda get translucent).
    3. In a small mixer grinder (popularly called mixie in India), add some fresh coconut, jeera/cumin seeds, and green/red chilli to taste (say 1-2). Grind to a smooth paste with some water.
    4. Add this ground paste to the cooked pumpkim and mix well.
    5. In a tempering spoon or pan (any small pan will do) add 2 tsps oil, rai/mustard seeds, a few curry leaves. And once all the spluttering is done, pour this into the veggie mixture.
    6. Give it all a stir or two and you can eat this hot or cold.
    Now I'll go keep some rice and wait for dinner time.


    stringOfPearls said...

    the all vegetarian menu is making me very happy :)

    Bikerdude said...

    hehe take deep breath and exhale itseems :)

    Good beta pls to prectice cooking for when Im there - and NO Iyengar recipes please. 'Ave paruppukozhambu coming out of my ears at home as it is thank you very much.

    beta pls learn that radish and egg dish that they make on singaapur streets no?