Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paruppu Urundai kuzhambu

Parupu urundai kulambu / kuzhambu or lentil dumplings in tamarind and coconut sauce, is a delicacy of the kongu region or the kongu nadu region. This is a family recipe that was passed from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. I can confidently say that the parupu urundai kulambu made by my grand mother should be the world’s best followed closely by mother’s for the second spot. When we are away from home such recipes is one more reason for us to feel homesick.

Click here for the Parupu Urundai Kuzhambu Recipe

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vatha Kuzhambu

The last two weeks had been quite busy with official and personal things. Added to this routine, we had guests over on the weekends and hence did a lot of eating out at the restaurants. This Saturday I tried to cook a complete vegetarian meal with menu comprising of tomato dal, vatha kulambu and a potato curry. I strongly believe that any vegetarian thali/ meal is not complete without a vatha kozhambu and sutta appalam.

Vatha kuzhambu is a south Indian dish served mainly with rice and papad. It has a single vegetable/ vathal as a base and is a simmered stew of tamarind with a set of spices. Usually it is prepared with brinjal/eggplant or okra/lady’s finger. Vathals can also be used. I guess vathals are the reasons for the authentic taste. Vathals are dried vegetables and can be bought from any Indian grocery store. Sundakaai vathal, manathakkali vathal or vendakaai vathal are some examples.

To Grind:
Corriander seeds 1 tbsp
Methi seeds – ½ tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Channa dal – 1 tbsp
Red chillies – 3/ 4 (depends on the spice level)

Shallot / Pearl onions – 9 or 10 (You can substitute half of a red onion if shallots are not available.)
Garlic pods – 4 /5 (This is optional)
Tamarind – A small lemon sized ball
Vathal/ Vegetable of your choice(I used sundakaai vathal)
Sambar powder – 1 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Pepper - 1 tbsp
Asofetida / Hing – 1 pinch
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Procedure :

1. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the tamarind pulp. To make your work easier you can microwave the soaked tamarind for 30 seconds.
2. Dry roast all the ingredients that has to be ground and make them into a smooth dry powder.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan (traditionally a cast iron kadai is used), heat few spoons of oil. Usually sesame oil or gingely oil is used , but any oil would do good. If you are planning to use vathals instead of vegetables, now is the good time to fry those. Once done take it and leave it aside. You can add it at a later time to the kuzhambu.
4. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, urad dal and channa dal to the oil.
5. Now add garlic, fry till its raw smell goes off add then add onions, fry till they turn to golden brown color. Add the sambar powder, tumeric , salt and sauté for 2 mnutes.
6. If you are planning to add vegetables add it now and sauté for few more minutes.
7. Now add the tamarind pulp and let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes.
8. Then add the dry ground masala powder, stir well. Add the vathals immediately after the masala powder and allow it to boil for 10 more minutes.
9. If vatha kolambu is too watery add 1 tsp of rice flour and allow it to boil to get the required consistency.
10. Enjoy vatha kuzhambu with hot steamed rice and sutta appalam.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sri Rayappa's Restaurant, Coimbatore.

During our recent vacation to India, we got a chance to explore a few restaurants in coimbatore. There are a handful of good resturants in coimbatore. A decent vegetarian food can be had from Sri Annapoorna & Gowrishankar group, Annalakshmi and Aaryas. Non-vegetarian's have a bit lengthier list with popular names like Angannan's, Rayappas, Thalappas and Chicken Sampoorna.

We planned to visit Rayappa's restaurant for a dinner on a pleasant evening. Rayappa's have successfully established a good name for their specialty in traditional chettinad cuisine. Of course, they do provide multi-cuisine but all of their Chinese varieties we tried were pathetic.

Rayappas are located at two places in the city and we visited the one at the cross cut road. It was quite busy with bustling crowd. The seating’s and lightings were Ok and nothing much to complaint.

There were some difficulties in getting the attention of the server. There was little help in from the server in getting to know the restaurant’s specialty dishes. The preparation time didn’t take too long and the food we ordered came within just few minutes of waiting.

The food was up to the mark. The chicken clear soup was a bit too hot but still tasted heavenly to the buds. The starters’ especially chicken tikka, chicken 65 and fish fry were delicious and made the visit worth. Parathas were soft and yummy and kothu paratha was everone's favourite. Biryani was spicy but not flaming hot and had a beautiful aroma in it. One from our group ordered for schezwan fried rice much against the wishes of others. It was horrible. It resembled very close to tomato rice and I cannot believe how they manage to serve this kind of dish everyday. Here is my strong advice. If you ever happen to visit this place, just stick to their traditional Chettinad dishes and don’t experiment anything new or any other cuisine especially Chinese.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience and we came out with filling stomach and smiling faces.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ten tips to lose weight after pregnancy

1. Walking. Walk preferably early in the morning and if possible one more time in the evening.
2. Eat good balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish or poultry, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products.
3. Eat several small meals a day.
4. Be patient. Remember that you didn't gain the weight over night so it is not fair to expect to lose it overnight.
5. Drink lot of water. Water not only help flushes out toxins and keep your body refresh but also helps you control your hunger.
6. Try having little sessions of crunches, pushups or a jog around the block when the baby is sleeping or playing.
7. Eat dinner three hours prior to bedtime.
8. Try your hands on Swimming, Aerobics or Yoga.
9. Breast feeding. Yes, you read it right. Breast feeding does help lose you weight gradually.
10. Last but not the least, you should remember that 'Continuity' is the magic word. Devise a plan for your diet and exercise. Stick to it religiously.

All the Best !!!

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