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!
This is a semi dry chutney with just 4 ingredients: cilantro, red chilies, tamarind, urad dal. And salt, and hing. Pairs perfectly with idli, dosai, rice, anything you’d have a chutney to go with. It’s really neither a chutney nor a powder (podi) – it’s not a runny, watery paste like a chutney, nor is it completely dry like a podi. There is a little moisture from the cilantro, but it’s on the dry side. Simple to make, lasts in the refrigerator for about a month easily.
I am not sure what language thokku is in, most likely Telugu, but it refers to any fresh herb/vegetable pounded/ground to a paste with salt, tamarind and jaggery, and reduced in sesame oil. The key ingredients are tamarind, jaggery, and sesame oil. This recipe makes a thokku out of fresh green chilies and is dynamite!
This is a thick jam-like gravy with a tamarind base, spiced with a mix of roasted powdered pepper and lentils. Perfect over a bed of hot steaming rice, with an accompaniment of vegetables (kootu) or curry.
Rasam is what I crave when we’ve been traveling or eating out too much. And on those days when I simply don’t want to mess with soaking tamarind, waiting for the toor dal to cook, and make rice in a different pot. A few years ago, I came across this method where you can make it all in one go and tried it in my pressure pan – this was before the OPOS days. Now, I have started using my instant pot for the same, and even the extra step of watching and turning it off is eliminated. It’s ready with minimal prep – no soaking tamarind, no making a pot of rasam, and rice separately, no waiting for dal to cook. All the ingredients go in the instant pot together, pressure cooked for 15 minutes, and a simple rasam rice is yours – hot, steaming, and will soothe your soul in under 30 minutes. And it tastes heavenly!
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