This is one of the easiest lunch/rice recipes. Perfect for summer afternoons, paired with a cucumber or onion raita and a cruncy papad. Fresh mint flavors this rice, I don’t add cilantro as I want the flavor of mint to be the dominant one.
This is yet another variation of the more/moar kozhambu, made with buttermilk. The first variety is a simple buttermilk recipe blended with coconut, green chilies, and jeera and tempered with coconut oil. This one is a slightly more elaborate version of it, with soaked dals, toasted urad dal and chilies, methi seeds, and of course coconut and green chilies! The name varutharacha (varuthu + araicha) gives away the recipe – varuthu is to fry, and aracha means ground. Other than the frying of spices which takes a few minutes, this is a quick recipe just like the first variety. This recipe is from the collection of “Samaithu Paar” Volume 2, by Meenakshi Ammal.
This is a very simple, but amazing dish of pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta/mozzarella cheese. Most ravioli we get in restaurants and grocery stores have eggs in them – either in the pasta or in the stuffing. We wanted to try it without eggs since we know pasta doesn’t really need eggs and our family typically tries to eat without eggs. This was a labor-intensive recipe, but simple. My daughter did most of the work. The results were amazing delicious homemade ravioli, enough to feed 3 of us for dinner, and freeze a couple of servings for my daughter for a busy school night! Win-win-win!
This kootu, also known as thiruvadirai kootu is a medley of a minimum of 7 vegetables, made on the day of Arudra darshan in the month of margazhi/December, in honor of lord Shiva. Traditionally it’s accompanied by a sweet rice dish called Kali. It’s made with the freshest produce of the season, which is the winter season, and includes squashes, gourds, and root vegetables. This recipe is sourced from Meenakshi Ammal’s Samaithu Par book. It is a completely balanced dish, loaded with vegetables, protein (dal), fat (coconut), spices and tamarind for sourness. On to the recipe now!
Kuzhambu means a thick mix/slurry. True to its name, this kuzhambu is a spicy thick gravy with a tamarind base, with a few vegetables, and dal. The difference between vathal kuzhambu, kara kuzhambu and this is that this has cooked dal added to it. Then why is it not sambar? Good question. We use a pre-made spice powder to season this dish, whereas for sambar, we freshly roast and grind spices to make the masala. Also, this is a bit thicker than sambar.
So, as far as tamarind based gravies go, there are mainly 3 kinds in Tamil (brahmin) cooking:
Vatha kuzhambu/kara kuzhambu: no dal, limited vegetables, more oil and almost like a pickle
Sambar: Tamarind, dal, vegetables, freshly roasted and ground masala
Kuzhambu: Thick tamarind gravy, premade masala/spice powder, dal, limited vegetables.