Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thakkali Kuzhambu for Idli or Dosai - Spicy Tomato Curry - For a Crowd

In India unexpected guests was not the exception but the norm. There is no concept of asking the guests not to stay for a meal because they did not call ahead. Everyone responsible for feeding the unexpected guests - yes usually the mothers or the cooks have a few easy recipes up their sleeve. The ingredients that go into these dishes are also things that are readily available in the kitchen.

I am sure everyone has a few tomatoes and the mandatory coconut in the house. Most everyone also has idli or dosai batter always in stock. Guests during lunch time are usually easier to deal with because nobody cooks just enough for that meal alone. Here is one of MIL's recipes which is perfect for unexpected guests.

I do not talk much about MIL's cooking in this blog because I have never stayed long enough with her to learn her way of cooking. Some of the dishes that I learned were when she was visiting us here or when we were visiting India. Her cooking is of course very different from my mother's or grand mother's but very familiar nonetheless. Kongu areas of TamilNadu all have different techniques but the taste is usually unmistakably Kongu.

DH's house is always filled with people. With 4 siblings, their families it is a large crowd to cook any time of the day. This thakkali kuzhambu lends itself nicely for feeding that crowd and everybody likes it and that is a big bonus. Goes well with idli, dosai, paniyaram or even chapathis. Generally no vegetables are added. Potatoes, peas or carrots and beans might be good additions. I like it with a lot of onions. The list seems long but it is very simple to make.

Here is another Thakkali Kuzhambu recipe.

Thakkali Kuzhambu for Idli Dosai
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
For 8 people
    For the Masala
  1. 6-8 Tomatoes chopped (red and fully ripe) - I used the small Roma variety - set about 2 tbsp aside
  2. 2 tbsp Channa Dal (Kadalai Paruppu)
  3. small 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon - 4 cloves
  4. 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  5. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  6. 6 Red Chilies
  7. 1/2 cup of chopped onions (shallots or red onions)
  8. 1 tsp of fennel seeds (sombu) - I use this for seasoning but can be ground as a paste
  9. 3 tbsp of fresh or frozen coconut
  10. For the Kuzhambu
  11. 1 cup of finely chopped onions (I prefer shallots for this)
  12. Seasonings - a pinch each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves
  13. a handful or as much as you want - Coriander leaves
  14. salt to taste
  15. 2 tsp of oil
  1. In a wide mouthed pan heat 1 tsp of oil and when hot add the channa dal saute, let it start to get brown. Now add the cinnamon, cloves and fennel if using and saute for a 1/2 a minute.
  2. Add the coriander seeds and red chilies and saute for a couple of minutes till they start to give a nice aroma and change color a bit. Remove them to the blender leaving behind as much of the oil as possible.
  3. Add more oil if needed to the same pan and saute the onions till it become nice and translucent and the edges start to turn brown.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes till it is mushy. Add the coconut and saute for a minute more. Transfer the onion and tomato mixture to the blender. Let cool. Blend to a fairly smooth paste adding as much water as required. [Note: You can first blend the spice mixture with the dal and then add the onions and tomatoes and blend.] Set aside.
  5. Now in a deep bottomed add the remaining 1 tsp of oil and when hot add the seasonings when the mustard starts to splutter add the curry leaves followed by the onions. Let the onions get translucent. You can add the tomatoes that were set aside now and saute till it is soft.
  6. Now pour the blended mixture along with 2-3 cups of water (should be slightly loose than the consistency you require. Add salt, mix well and let it boil for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Add in the coriander leaves (I like the leaves to be cooked). If you like them raw add them towards the end.

Simple but delicious.

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1 comment:

  1. This tomato curry looks and sounds so good. I will have to try it when I make idle next.


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