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 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!
Paruppusili is a side dish that combines dal that’s been soaked, ground into a batter, steamed, and then scrambled with a vegetable.
Paruppu means dal, and to usili means to scramble.
This version is a Tamil version, a star in many south Indian Brahmin weddings and functions, along with more kozhambu (yogurt based gravy). I have used green peppers for the vegetable in this recipe. Traditional vegetables used are green beans, long beans, cluster beans. Broccoli is popular with my son. You can make it with cauliflower too.
The process is a bit involved, but it’s absolutely worth it. This dish packs a protein and vitamin punch with the dal and the vegetable. The process involves soaking the dal for a couple of hours, blending into a batter, steaming, and then crumbling it with sautéed vegetable.
But not to worry, this recipe will teach you a hack that would cut down the time to a mere 30 minutes, from start to finish, with a little bit of prep work done ahead.
Another staple in my kitchen – I have made sambar probably a thousand times or more, and can make it in under 30 minutes if I plan for it – have the dhal cooked and ready, and the vegetables cut or frozen. It’s then just a matter of making the spice blend, and boiling the sambar with the vegetables, spices and the dhal. Perfect for a sunday lunch with the ever popular potato roast (recipe to follow soon)!
“Koottu” is an amazingly simple, nutritious, and wholesome dish and makes a complete meal when eaten with a raita. When my kids were little, they wouldn’t eat it if I said it was kootu. But they loved paruppu saadam with ghee (dhal chawal), and I used to trick them into eating it by mixing it myself, with a generous dollop of ghee on top, and calling it paruppu saadam. They loved it. Now it’s one of their most favorite comfort foods, and I have to make it whenever they come home.
This version is my daughter’s favorite. The other kootu with the toasted and blended spices is my son’s favorite.