Pudina has been an ingredient that was never used in my mom`s family. On the other hand, this was one herb that was one of my favourites. When I started cooking on my own, I sought ways and means to cook with this wonderful herb. Since I had a chance to work with people from multiple cultural backgrounds, I learnt this recipe from my colleague`s wife who was an excellent cook. They had Idlis for breakfast every single day, but the accompaniments in the form of thogayals and chutneys were so many. I guess this would kind of make up for the monotony of idlis every morning!!!
20-25 leaves of Pudina.
1 Medium Onion.
1/4 cup of Grated Coconut .
1 spoon of Urad Dhal.
1 inch tamarind piece.
3-4 Tbsp of Light Coconut Milk.
Keep the pudina cleaned and dry.
Take a kadai and put 2 spoons of oil. When hot, roast urad dhal and red chillies until the dal browns. Put in the mixer.
In the remaining oil, add the sliced onions and saute well.
When the onions turn pinkish brown, add grated coconut and the tamarind and saute for a few more minutes.
Add the pudina leaves and switch off the stove. The heat in the vessel is enough to lightly saute the pudina leaves.
After they cool off, add these also to the mixer and blend with a little bit of light coconut milk and the requisite salt . The coconut milk is only for added richness and is completely optional.
Grind to a smooth paste and serve with hot Idlis orMasala Dosai.
Bhajjis – and I remember pouring rain and my family sitting at home, watching tv or chatting sipping piping hot cups of decoction coffee. A favourite of my uncles though would be the Balajee Bhavan bhajji which would be an astounding reddish orange colour and smelling so heavenly. The bhajjis would be served with thick coconut chutney and spicy tomato chutney and would be devoured in no time. Everytime my uncles would come from Delhi, they would have their monring breakfast the very first day, only from Balajee Bhavan. And he would take one of us to go with him….there would be an unwritten rule, that the child that accompanies him, would get to eat the bhajji and Venn Pongal piping hot at the restaurant and then there would be a considerable parcel packed for home. On one such occasion, as we were eating, my uncle asked me ” You are so lucky to be living in T.nagar that too so close to BB. When was the last time you came here?” and I promptly replied “When you came here the last time uncle”!!! and he was astounded…The truth really was that we live so close to many hotels and restaurants. but we never frequent them…Now living so many thousands of miles away….my thoughts wander around my home and its niceness and familiarity.
Last weekend, it poured so much that my husband was suddenly hungry for bhajjis. I hardly ever make it these days because of the oil and the general laziness of making a batter, cutting the vegetables so thin and then frying it in oil. This time, even I felt like having it, and so I set round to making them. I was out of brinjals and so I made them with Onions, Green Plantain and Alu.
1 cup Gram Flour or Besan.
1/2 cup Rice Flour.
1 spoon chilli powder.
1 spoon salt.
1 cup of Water
Oil for frying.
1 Alu, 1 Plantain, 1 Onion.
Pour sufficient oil in to a medium sized kadai with a flat base. Keep the flame on low so that the oil is ready to be used by the time the other prep works are done.
Peel the onion, plantain and alu. Slice them in to thin cross sectional circles and set aside.
Keep the batter mixing to the end as besan tends to change consistency over a period of time.
Add besan, rice flour, hing, salt and red chilli powder to a mixing bowl. Measure out the required water.
Although I have mentioned 1 cup, first add 3/4 cup and then slowly if needed ,you can add the remaining 1/4 cup little by little.
The batter should be thick and NOT a thin pouring consistency.
Now dip the vegetables one by one, and carefully drop in to the heated oil.
Allow to cook well on both sides and drain on to a collander lined with kitchen tissue.
I always love the Coconut Chutney served with Chinna Vengaya Oothappam at Murugan Idli Shop at T.Nagar and also the thick coconut chutney at Saravana Bhavan and Balaji Bhavan, both at T.Nagar. I always wonder, whats the secret ingredient that these people add to the chutney, that some times even without the requisite seasoning, it tastes heavenly…The Chinna Vengaya Oothappam at Murugan Idli Shop is an altogether different delicacy that requires a dedicated post, but for those who have no clue, its a thicker form of dosa, which has cut, fried shallots cooked in the dosa laced with ghee, and served with Coconut, Tomato and green chutney. YUM!!!
This weekend, was an experiement to recreate the magic of Murugan Idli Shop. I know I cant even begin to get close…but this is my version of my mom`s home made coconut chutney.
1/2 cup of freshly scraped coconut.
4 Green chillies.
2 Tbsp of Dhaliya or PottuKadalai.
A piece of ginger.
A piece of tamarind.
Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.
Grind all the ingredients with a little water to form a smooth chutney like consistency.
Take a seasoning kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, add urad dhal, mustard, hing and curry leaves and when the mustard splutters, add it on the ground coconut chutney.
Serve with Idlis, Dosas, Pongal or Upma.
My mom loves to add 1-2 spoons of thick curd to the chutney to further enhance the taste.
Alternate the ginger, green chillies according to taste.
This chutney is one of my favourites. Its very simple and easy but one that I often make when I feel I want something tangy and spicy and rich!!! It uses simple everyday ingredients that one that throw in and pulse in a few minutes. I remember the delicious three chutney combination that they serve in Saravana Bhavan in Chennai. Crisp but not too soft, fragrant dosas served with tri colour chutnies – tomato, mint and thick white coconut. I was always partial to the tomato and the white chutney and would ask for seconds and often wonder how always the dosa gets done before the chutney does….It`s also a good side for Venn Pongal, rotis and even curd rice… Try it and you`ll love it.
1 Medium Onion.
4 Roma Tomatoes
4 red chillies.
3 spoons of light Coconut Milk.
Green Onions to garnish.
Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.
Chop the onions and tomatoes in to long slices.
In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and when hot, add mustard, broken urad dhal, red chillies and curry leaves.
Saute for a few seconds and add the chopped onions.
Saute again till the onions are pink and then add the tomatoes.
Sprinkle sufficient salt and mix till the water is all reduced and the tomatoes are cooked well.
Grind all the sauteed ingredients along with 3 spoons of coconut milk to a smooth paste.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped spring onions for a burst of colour and flavour.
Is an excellent accompaniment with Dosa, Idlies and Pongal.
This is another versatile chutney that is a great accompaniment to Dosa, Idlis or even Bread Sandwiches. There is a slight twist on the regular tomato chutney as this has its own fresh ground spices that render a unique taste. It`s a tasty spread and I have used it in my Colourful Stuffed Dosa Rolls. I`ve also added a spoon of flax powder for added fiber.
2 Ripe Tomatoes.
A small sprig of corriander leaves.
A spoon of sambar powder.
Roast in Oil and Powder:
2 spoons of urad dhal.
2 spoons of bengal gram.
2 red chillies.
4-5 curry leaves.
Chop the tomato and carrot in to slices and set aside.
Allow the powdered spices in the mixer to cool.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard and curry leaves and immediately the slices tomato and carrot pieces.
Add required quantity of salt, turmeric, hing, a spoon of flax powder, and a spoon of sambar powder and allow to cook till mushy. Allow to cool.
Grind the tomato carrot mush, along with the spices and a bunch of cilantro leaves to a chutney consistency. There would be no need to add water, as the tomato already releases water when cooked.
For added flavour, grind with a spoon of coconut milk. Another option is to use Onions.