Monday, July 14, 2014

Pachai Araicha Peerkangai Kuzhambu - Ridge Gourd with ground raw spices - Kongu Style

Hope all of you have been having a good summer, enjoyed the soccer World Cup and already missing the soccer stars visit your living room everyday? I am. DD is a soccer player and you guessed it, she has been glued to the TV the past 30 days or so. Now she has to find something else to do. DD2 is busy painting, carving and generally getting on everybody's nerve. Both of them refuse to do any organized activities during the summer holidays which is fine by me. While scheduling children during the summer is common I am reluctant to do so. They need this time to unwind, get in a little trouble and generally chill. This does not mean that it is all fun and games, I make DD2 do work for an hour or so every day lest she forgets everything she has learned during the past year. As for DD she is old enough to take care of what she has to do.

While I still consider my childhood summer fun second to none other, I feel kind of guilty that the DDs do not get to have the same fun as my cousins and I had during summers in our maternal grandparents village. So I let them hang out and do whatever they want during the holidays. DH and I alternated working from home and now that my mom is here their idyllic summer continues.

Now that my mom is visiting I get to enjoy some of her cooking. This recipe my mom says is her mother's - ammayee's. I have spoken so much about my ammayee in these pages that it is only right that I share the sad news with all of you. A month ago she passed away. While on many levels this is hard to accept, the reason I have even delayed sharing this here. But that is the cycle of life. I am only glad that she had her loved ones near her during the last few months when she needed them most. Living far away from home there is not much I can do or at least that is what I say to console myself.

Now on to the recipe,
Grind the raw spices to a smooth paste and set it aside.
Season oil with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Saute the onions, ridge gourd and add the ground spices and required water and cook in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles.

The name Pahcai araicha literally means that the spices are ground raw. Traditionally Indian spices are dry toasted or roasted in oil before making the masala paste. In this recipe the spices are ground raw. The recipes that my grandma or mom share are usually simple and not complicated at all. Moreover my mom tends to use the pressure cooker a lot. My grandmother on the other hand probably cooked the same kuzhambu on a stove top.

Pachai Araicha Peerkangai Kuzhambu - Ridge Gourd with ground raw spices
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
Serves : 4-6
    For the Paste
  1. 4 green chilies
  2. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  4. a few pepper corns
  5. 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  6. 2 tsp dahlia (pottukadali)
  7. 2 tbsp chopped onions
  8. Blend the above with the addition of 2 tbsp of water to a fairly smooth taste.
  9. 2 cups of skin removed chopped ridge gourd
  10. seasonings: mustard seeds, curry leaves
  11. 1 tsp oil
  12. salt to taste

  1. In a pressure cooker heat oil, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard starts to pop add the chopped onions and saute till they are translucent.
  2. Add the chopped ridge gourd pieces and saute for a minute or two.
  3. Add the ground spices saute for a minute more, add a cup of water and salt and let it cook for 2 whistles. If cooking on the stove top in a medium heat cook till the ridge gourd is soft.
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  1. Hi Indo, sorry to hear about your grandmother whom you've mentioned so often in these columns.

    I like ridgegourd and make quite a few varieties with it but this is totally new to me.

  2. Hi Indo, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Many hugs to you!!

    1. Kay long time no see. Thank you.

  3. Dear ISG,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your dear grandmother. Thinking of you all.


  4. ISG, I'm so sorry to hear about your dear grandmother. Thinking of you all. xo

  5. Take care! Grandmothers are always special. I love their wrinkled soft (but strong) hands. I try and hold hands with all the ammamma.



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