Kootchulu or Neeragaram is a simple, age-old recipe made from overnight fermentation of cooked rice. For over many generations, this has been a staple health drink in many parts of India. It acts as a natural body cooler, especially in summer. This unique porridge or kanji tastes slightly sour with the aroma of sesame oil and the crunchiness of onions.
A healthy and refreshing drink, ‘Paanagam’ is made as a part of neivedhyam during Sri Rama Navami and many other festivals. It is also served in South Indian weddings especially after the main function ‘Muhurtham’. Since it is rich in nutrition, it’s a best option to relish frequently in summers than having store-bought soft drinks and juices.
How to make Paanagam?
Paanagam is a simple recipe that calls for few easily available things like jaggery, imli, ginger, tulsi and edible camphor. All these ingredients are loaded with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties that helps to boost our immunity, digestion and more.
This herbal drink can be frequently relished during vrat or fasting as it boosts our energy instantly. If serving in a get together or party, serve it cold or hot depending upon the weather.
Tamarind / Imli – a small gooseberry-sized
Jaggery – a large lemon-sized
Dry Ginger / Saunth Powder – 1 tsp
Elaichi Powder – 1/2 tsp
Tulsi – 2 0r 3 leaves, crushed
Edible Camphor – a small pinch (optional)
Add 2 cups of water to the soaked imli and extract imli water.
Boil it for a minute or two along with jaggery.
Remove from flame and add powdered dry ginger, tulsi, elaichi powder and edible camphor. Adjust water as per the taste.
Serve hot or chilled.
Instead of imli, we can use lemon juice also, but I have followed the method that family follows over generations.
‘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.
Urulai Kizhangu Podimas is a popular South Indian subzi made with ‘Everyone’s Favourite’ Potatoes! The versatility of Potatoes always amazes me. It gets adapted in any form of food to which it is added and blends well with other ingredients making it super delicious.
Potato Podimas is mildly spiced, rich in flavours and tastes delectable. Most commonly, it forms a part of ‘South Indian Thali’ at restaurants or in household festival menu. It also pairs well with curd rice, sambar rice and rasam rice.
How to make Urulai Kizhangu | Potato Podimas?
We relish this Urulai Kizhangu (Potato) Podimas frequently as it can be prepared quickly and also goes well with many rice-based dishes that we like.
‘Podimas’ actually means, any boiled veggies mashed or coarsely crumbled and tempered with spices. Other than potatoes, you can use raw bananas, sweet potatoes, taro root(arbi) and yam. Since the uniqueness of any South Indian Subzi is using Coconut…this potato podimas also calls for generous amount of grated coconut.
Potatoes – 2 or 3, medium sized
Coconut – 2 tbsp, grated
Green Chilly – 1 (or as per taste), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Ginger- 1 tsp, grated
Curry Leaves – few leaves
Rai – 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal – 1/2 tsp
Channa Dal – 1/2 tsp each
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tsp (preferably coconut / til oil)
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp (optional)
Wash and cook potatoes till soft but firm. Peel and crumble them coarsely. You can also cut into cubes.
In a kadai, heat oil and add rai. When it splutters, add urad dal, channa dal and hing. Roast till it turns golden in colour.
Add ginger, green chillies, curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
Add the crumbled potatoes, salt and mix well. Keep the flame in medium heat to allow potato cubes get roasted slightly.
After a minute or two, remove from flame.
Add grated coconut and lemon juice
Mix well and serve hot with rice and any sambar or rasam.
Adding lemon juice is optional. If using, add it along with grated coconut at the end, after removing the podimas from flame.
Since it’s a No Onion, No Garlic recipe, it can be included in vrat menu too.