A meal that contains Paneer in any form is very special to us. Naturally, I try to make paneer dishes frequently at home either as everyday food or as party spread. One such recipe is ‘Paneer Butter Masala’, one of the popular dishes of North Indian cuisine. The fine blend of paneer, butter, cream in the makhana gravy makes this dish irresistible.
‘Vatha Kuzhambu’, is one of the popular everyday sambar varieties down South. It is full of flavours and has an amalgamation of spicy, sweet, sour and salty taste.
There are many versions of this recipe ‘Poondu Vengaya Vatha Kuzhambu‘. Each one differs with the level of spiciness and the choice of veggies added to it. Traditionally, it is made with sundried black nightshade berries(manthakkali) or turkey berries(sundakkai). Veggies like brinjal, drumstick, onions, broad beans, garlic can also be added to give some variation to this sambar.
How to make Poondu Vengaya Vatha Kuzhambu?
Here, I have used shallots(vengayam) and garlic(poondu) in this recipe. The core ingredients are tamarind and sambar masala powder. Two quintessential ingredients arhar dal and coconut, that are present in most of the sambars are not needed in this recipe.
Shallots – 1 cup, peeled
Garlic – 10 to15 cloves, peeled
Imli – medium lemon-sized
Sambar Powder- 1 tbsp
Rice Flour – 2 tsp
Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Jaggery – small gooseberry-sized
Salt to taste
Rai – 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal – 1/4 tsp
Methi Seeds – 1/4 tsp
Red Chilly – 1 or 2, broken into pieces
Curry Leaves- few leaves
Oil – 2 tbsp (preferably til oil)
Soak imli in 2 cups of warm water for 15 minutes. Extract imli water.
In a kadai, heat oil and add rai.
When it splutters, add urad dal, methi seeds and roast till dal turns golden in colour.
Add curry leaves, red chilly and saute for few seconds.
Add shallots, garlic and saute till they are translucent.
Now, add sambar powder and mix well.
Pour in the prepared imli water and add haldi, salt, jaggery.
Let it boil well for 3-4 minutes so that the raw flavour of imli gets reduced.
Make a paste of rice flour with little amount of water and add it to the sambar.
Let sambar boil for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from flame and serve hot with steamed rice.
The best way to savour this sambar is to pair with thogaiyal rice, a simple curry of your choice and a papad.
For sambar masala, you can either use the store-bought sambar powder or the freshly grounded one.
‘Nugulu Kanji’, is a humble porridge recipe that has been passed over many generations in my family. Delicious in taste and easy to digest, this kanji is more than a porridge.
A bowl of kanji everyday was the secret behind healthy and long life of our forefathers. It was then the common practice to include diluted porridge in everyday food because it gave them instant energy, nourished the immune system and prepared them for the day filled with various physical exertion.
Broken rice sooji, when cooked and tempered with desi ghee and jeera, acts as a natural coolant and reduces the body heat. Doctors prescribe this porridge to those who are suffering from fever, sore throat and cough as it lessens the infection and nourishes the immune system. Moreover, this porridge can be given to toddlers also as it aids in digestion.
Once cooked and tempered, this kanji can be savoured in two ways…either by adding little bit of milk and sugar or with thin buttermilk and salt. Both the versions taste great!