I had seen a pal kootu recipe in Meenakshi Ammal’s Samaithu Par volume, but was always wondered if milk in a curry would be something I would like. Finally decided to try it, and sorely regretted not having cooked for the past thirty years. This is such a mellow dish, and is perfect with rice. I haven’t tried it with rotis, but don’t see why not. Typically made with ridge gourd, yellow pumpkin, it takes mellow vegetables. On to the recipe now!
This is a simple spinach dish that comes together in 15 mins, in the time it takes rice to be ready. Can be made with any of the greens. I’ve used purslane or paruppu keerai as it’s known in Tamil since I grow it. It grows very easily. All parts of the plant are edible, including the very pretty yellow flowers. There are many varieties of purslane with different colored flowers, and I was told the one with the yellow flowers was the one most used in cooking. It can be sauteed with salt and garlic, or sprinkled on salads, or, as I’ve done here, cooked with onions, chilies, and dals to make a wholesome dish to be eaten with rice. (I am not qualified to give medical advice, but I’m told it is high in oxalates, so if you’re watching oxalate intake which may cause kidney stones, go easy on it.
Ah. Biryani. That mouth-watering melting pot of flavors and spices. Who doesn’t like biryani? Shockingly, me. I have never been a fan and always wondered at the euphoric reaction it elicited among everyone, including my husband. But, during this quarantine period, I decided to conquer some of my misconceptions and biases (one reason for my dislike for biryani is its name) for certain foods. And, biryani tops the list. Others are kadalai curry, vadakari, korma (i really like the aroma, just not a fan of the actual dish, go figure that), aappam (again, I love the looks, the concept, just not crazy about actually eating it). Anyway, I started with searching for a good recipe for biryani and watched a youtube episode of Revathy Shanmugam’s Kavignar Veetu Samayal and decided to give it a try. Jackpot! Not only did I actually love it and not because I was super hungry, but I even ate it as a leftover. Finally, my search for a biryani I could love is over! This will be, for sure, my go to recpe for biryani. I made the side dish she made as well, and loved it also. Have provided the link in the notes section – for those who can follow Thamizh. Now, on to the recipe.
I love Kripal Singh’s Food Lovers TV where he spotlights older, unique, out of the way establishments mostly in Bengaluru. One of these episodes featured The New Modern Hotel (not sure of the name) in Bengaluru, and their homestyle cooking and thaali. Now, if I must choose someone to eat on my behalf, if that ever happens, I would choose Kripal. The way he experiences the food and relates the experience, the way he enjoys it – he is the BEST! The food featured was South Canara cuisine, I think it’s coastal karnataka, satvik food, plenty of coconut, and jaggery, and just everything good! I fell in love with this episode, and the side dish of okra gojju that he used the pooris to dip in. Googled the recipe, and I came up with what I think is the dish featured. From my research, it’s very similar to the pagarkai gojju made with a unique masala paste made of sesame seeds and coconut, in addition to the dals and red chilies. I had to make it immediately. Like the same evening. But I waited to serve it with with the pooris, along with a hodge podge thaali I made up with various leftovers, as I was craving a Woodlands style thaali. Here is the recipe!
Avial is one of the trademark Kerala recipes. Mild, stew-like, lush with juicy vegetables, creamy with yogurt, and flavored with fresh coconut and chilies ground to a paste, and tempered in coconut oil with curry leaves. Tastes great on rice, as a side dish for adai and pongal, and puliyodarai, and coconut rice. Requires a bunch of vegetables, but that’s it. Real simple to make.