This is the ubiquitous stuffing that goes inside the crispy golden folds of dosai (please don’t call it pancakes). Also a popular side dish for pooris, specifically in the southern parts of India, called poori masal. Favorite of almost anyone, it’s a very simple dish to make.
This is one of the best versions of eggplant/brinjal/aubergine made with a special spice mix. Like most children, I wasn’t too fond of eggplant growing up, due to the texture. But my patti got me to eat this in her own special way. After she made this curry, and transferred it to a serving dish, there would be invariably some sticking to the kadai (or maybe she left it on purpose). Anyway, she would add some hot rice to the baanali (that’s what we called the vaanali in our family), add a couple of spoons of ghee, and mix it all together, make balls of the rice shining with the eggplant and the ghee, and go around distributing it. Oh man, that was the best! To this day, I do it every time I make eggplant curry this way, but somehow my memories taste better!
A super simple dal and comfort food with minimal ingredients. Fresh and tender ridge gourd is cooked with tamarind extract and tempered in toor dal to make a satisfying light meal with rice.
If you asked me what my most favorite snack is, I’d say bajjis! in a heartbeat. And my favorite weather is a breezy, cloudy, midly rainy day (but not so rainy that it’ll disrupt life). Put these two together, and you have the perfect day! It’s been raining for a week now, and I kept resisting frying something, trying to be healthy. But yesterday my resolve crumbled. Plus, I had these peppers I’m growing that were meant for bajjis! They were sad, and begged me to dip them in batter and plunge them in hot oil. Okay that’s going too far, but I did feel I was depriving them of their fateful destiny, and from reaching their full potential. (I resolved to walk extra when the weather got better)
Simple to make, ready in less than 30 minutes, and vegetables, whether fried or not, are still a good choice!
Vathal or vendhaya kuzhambu is the ultimate Tambrahm rustic dish, made when you don’t have fresh produce on hand, especially during the monsoons when the sundried vegetables from the previous year come in handy. Vathal means dried stuff basically any vegetable or certain berries like turkey berry (sundakai in Tamil), black night shade (manathakkali in Tamil) in their sundried form are added to a thick tamarind extract, with basic kuzhambu powder (spice mix) and boiled to a thick jam-like gravy, and eaten with rice. The flavor comes from the tadka/thalippu/tempering in sesame oil and the tart tamarind extract, the tartness balanced by the vathal or vegetable of your choice. Fresh vegetables such as drumstick, red pumpkin, onions/shallots are also used and are typically my favorites. If you have no vegetable or vathal on hand, one version of this uses papads. Fry the papads broken in pieces in the initial tempering, and proceed as usual.