Som Tam Mamuang| Thai Raw Mango Salad

Som Tam Mamuang, anyone?

For the uninitiated, that refers to salad made using unripe mango, in the Thai style. As Thai cuisine generally is, this salad too is a beautiful blend of flavours and interesting textures. I absolutely adore its sweet and sour and spicy taste, and simply have to make it every summer when raw mangoes are in season.

Som Tam Mamuang or Thai Raw Mango Salad

This salad is a real treat to the tastebuds, the sort of thing that would wake them up from a reverie. And yet, it is a very simple dish to prepare, the putting together of which does not take more than 20 minutes.

What goes into my version of Som Tam Mamuang

I got acquainted with Som Tam Mamuang on our holidays in Thailand. After long and tiring days spent exploring, we would often make a meal of a flavourful salad such as this one. I have seen this being prepared over and over again, and have realised that there are so many little variations to it, though the basic ingredients remain more or less the same. This here is my version of Som Tam Mamuang, the way my family prefers it.

Like I was saying earlier, the major ingredient in Som Tam Mamuang is raw mango, which is also referred to as green or unripe mango. While some people include prawns or shrimp in the salad, I have used onion here.

I have used honey to sweeten the salad. The spiciness comes from green chillies and the bit of ginger I have added in. You could use a dash of red chilli powder instead, too.

Like many dishes from the Thai cuisine, this salad too contains roasted and crushed peanuts and coriander. However, I have done away with the soya sauce that is quite commonly used in Som Tam Mamuang.

How I spiralised the raw mango for this salad

See the spirals?

I made long spirals of the raw mango, to make the salad interesting to eat. This I achieved thanks to my Messermeister julienne peeler, part of a kitchen set my brother-in-law gifted me years ago, and which I have been using for ages now. These are some real good knives and peelers, definitely worth investing in. (Not sponsored!)

So, all I had to do was peel the raw mango and then run the Messermeister julienne peeler over it to create these long, spaghetti-like spirals. They surely added to the appeal of the salad! 🙂

It’s raining summer salads in the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group!

If you have been reading my blog regularly, I am sure you would have seen my posts for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. This is a group of food bloggers who cook based on a pre-determined theme every month. The bloggers are divided into pairs every month. Every pair exchanges two secret ingredients which are then used to cook for the month’s theme. The others then try and guess the secret ingredients that have been used by each pair. It’s super fun!

The theme for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge this month is ‘Summer Salads’. My partner for the month was Preethi, author of the wonderful blog Preethi’s Cuisine. She gave me the two secret ingredients of ‘onion’ and ‘honey’, which fit right into this family favourite Som Tam Mamuang I wanted to showcase.

The theme for the month was suggested by the very talented Kalyani, author of Sizzling Tastebuds. Check out the interesting Warm Barley Summer Salad she whipped up recently! Coincidentally, I gave Preethi the secret ingredients of ‘barley’ and ‘lemon juice’, and she went on to prepare this beauty!

Other Thai recipes on my blog

You might want to check out the other Thai recipes on my blog, too. There’s:

Rainbow Rice Salad
Thai Sticky Rice With Mango
Thai Ripe Mango Salad
Thai Grapefruit Salad

Tom Yum Soup

Sriracha Pineapple

Vegetarian Thai Fried Rice

Thai Green Curry

Thai Yellow Curry

Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup

Healthy Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps

Som Tam Mamuang or Thai Raw Mango Salad recipe

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1 medium-sized raw mango

  2. 1 small onion

  3. 2 green chillies

  4. A 1/2-inch piece of ginger

  5. 1/4 cup peanuts

  6. Salt, to taste

  7. 2 tablespoons honey or to taste

  8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool down fully.
  2. In the meantime, peel the raw mango and julienne it. You can either use a julienne peeler like I did or chop it into thin matchsticks. Transfer the raw mango juliennes to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Peel the ginger and chop it really fine. Similarly, chop the green chillies really fine too. Add the chopped ginger and green chillies to the mixing bowl too.
  4. Chop the onion finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add in salt and honey.
  6. When the roasted peanuts have completely cooled down, coarsely crush them in a small mixer jar. Add this to the mixing bowl too, along with the finely chopped coriander.
  7. Mix up all the ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. Choose a raw mango that is nice and firm and not overly sour. I have used a Totapuri mango here.

2. Adjust the quantity of honey, green chillies and salt as per personal taste preferences.

3. Do not crush the peanuts to a powder. They need to be just coarsely crushed. You can use a mortar and pestle to crush them too.

4. You can skip the onion if you do not prefer to use it.

5. Make sure the ginger and green chillies are chopped really fine.

6. For a vegan version of the salad, you can substitute the honey with jaggery powder, cane sugar or raw brown sugar.

7. This recipe is completely vegetarian and gluten-free.

8. Don’t let the salad sit around for too long after mixing it up. Serve it immediately after making. Alternatively, you could keep the ingredients ready and mix up the salad just before serving it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza| Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

Ever heard of Bhakri Pizza? It is the Gujarati version of thin-crust pizza, and an eternal favourite of mine. The crust of this pizza is made using whole wheat flour, cooked crisp. So, so very delicious! This Bhakri Pizza is sold in street-side carts all over Ahmedabad, and I grew up eating and loving it. Today, I am here to tell you how to go about making it at home.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza or Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

A closer look at the Bhakri Pizza

The base of the Bhakri Pizza is a bhakri, a popular snack in Gujarati households. Like I was saying earlier, to make the bhakri, wheat flour is bound into a firm dough, with a couple of other ingredients added in. The dough is then rolled out into small discs and cooked on a hot pan till crisp. They can also be baked in an oven.

The bhakri is crispy and crunchy, and holds the toppings of the pizza beautifully. It makes for a clever and wonderful replacement to the maida base used in regular pizza. Bhakri Pizza is definitely healthier and way lighter on the tummy, but every bit just as delectable.

A sweetish sauce is usually spread on the bhakri, which I prefer making at home from scratch, the healthy way. I also add a number of vegetables to the pizza, increasing its nutritive value. The addition of good, unadulterated grated cheese on top makes it all the more flavourful and healthier.

The loaded Bhakri Pizza is then cooked covered on a hot pan till the cheese melts, or baked for a short while. Voila – cute little pizzas are ready! They are perfect for evening snacks or a light dinner, for children and adults alike. We make these for dinner often, as everyone in the family loves them, including my little daughter.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe for Bhakri Pizza is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #MunchkinMeals, wherein we are sharing healthy, kid-friendly recipes.

The theme for the week was suggested by Narmadha, author of the wonderful blog Nams Corner. I’m in love with this flavourful Paneer Tikka Pizza and this healthy Whole Wheat Cheese Burst Pizza from Narmadha’s blog. Can’t wait to try them out!

How to make Bhakri Pizza

The detailed recipe follows.

Ingredients (makes about 10 pieces):

For the bhakri base:

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 1 tablespoon oil + more for making the bhakris

For the pizza sauce:

  1. 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 1 small onion
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1 tablespoon of jaggery powder or to taste
  6. About 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

For the toppings:

  1. 1 medium-sized capsicum
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 4 tablespoons sweet corn kernels
  4. 2 tablespoons red paprika slices or as needed
  5. Grated cheese, as needed
  6. Dried Italian herbs, as needed

Method:

1. We will start with preparing the dough for making the bhakris. Take the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Adding in water little by little, bind into a firm dough. When the dough is ready, add in the 1 tablespoon of oil, and knead a couple more times. Let the dough rest, covered, till we are ready to prepare the pizza, at least 15-20 minutes.

Preparing the dough for the Bhakri Pizza

2. Now, we will get the pizza sauce ready. For this, chop the tomatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the onion roughly. Puree the tomatoes and onion together in a mixer, without adding any water. Transfer this puree to a heavy-bottomed pan, and place on high heat. Cook on high flame till the mixture begins to thicken, 4-5 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The raw smell of the tomatoes should go away completely. At this stage, add in the salt, red chilli powder and sugar. Cook for a couple of minutes or till it thickens to a spreadable consistency. Switch off the gas and add in the mixed Italian herbs. Allow the pizza sauce to cool down fully.

Preparing the sauce for the Bhakri Pizza

3. In the meantime, let us get the toppings for the pizza ready. Chop the capsicum length-wise and the onion finely. Grate the cheese and keep it ready. Keep the sliced red paprika slices and sweet corn kernels ready.

Getting the toppings ready

4. Now, we will prepare the bhakris for the pizza base. Place a thick dosa pan on high heat. Divide the dough we prepared earlier into 10 small balls or so. Roll out each ball into a small circle, slightly thicker than a phulka roti. Prick some holes all over it, on both sides, using a fork – this will ensure that the dough does not puff up and that the bhakri turns out nice and crispy. Place the rolled-out disc on the hot dosa pan, and spread some oil all over it. Cook till brown and crisp on both sides, pressing with a spatula intermittently, ensuring that the bhakri does not burn. Prepare all the bhakris in a similar manner, and allow them to cool down.

Preparing the bhakris for the pizza

5. We will start making the pizza when the bhakris and the sauce have cooled down enough to handle. Now, spread some of the prepared pizza sauce on each bhakri, and lay out the toppings over it. Spread a generous amount of the grated cheese over the toppings. Cook, covered, on low-medium flame on a hot dosa pan for a couple of minutes or till the cheese melts. Serve the Bhakri Pizza immediately, cut into quarters and garnished with some dried Italian herbs.

The making of the Bhakri Pizza

Tips & Tricks

1. Some families add a bit of fine semolina aka sooji or rava to the wheat flour, to make the bhakri more crispy. We don’t.

2. I have used regular store-bought whole wheat flour here, from Ashirwad. I usually make this with flour ground from whole wheat in a mill, but we haven’t been able to do that in a while and hence the store-bought flour.

3. Some ajwain (carom seeds) can be added to the bhakri dough to make it more flavourful. I don’t, because my daughter doesn’t like it.

4. Use the more tart country (Nati) tomatoes – as opposed to ‘farmed’ ones – to make the sauce. They are more flavourful and make for a delicious sauce.

5. A few cloves of garlic can be added to the sauce too. I have skipped them here.

6. Sugar can be added to the sauce, in place of the jaggery powder. I prefer using the latter. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

7. Make sure you cook the bhakris on low-medium flame, till they get nice and crisp. Also, don’t forget to prick the dough on both sides – this is crucial.

8. I have used dried Italian herbs from Keya here. You can even make them from scratch, at home.

9. Use a good-quality cheese to make the pizza as healthy as possible. I have used Akshayakalpa’s organic Aged Cheddar here.

10. Use any veggies that you prefer as toppings for the pizza. Here, I have used whatever I had available. Olives can be added too, but I skipped them since I didn’t have any.

11. Any leftover pizza sauce can be bottled and refrigerated. It stays for 10-12 days when stored this way.

12. You can bake the bhakris instead of making them on the stovetop. I prefer the stovetop.

13. You may skip using the red chilli powder and turmeric powder in the bhakri dough, if you so prefer.

Did you like this recipe? Do let me know in your comments!

Manga Pachadi| Tamilnadu Style Raw Mango Relish

Manga Pachadi is a thing of real beauty and a source of joy, a big favourite in our family. For the uninitiated, this is a relish made using raw mango, a heritage recipe from Tamilnadu. Similar to but different from the Aam Ki Launji from up North.

Sweet and sour, with just a hint of spice, Manga Pachadi makes for a lovely accompaniment to meals. We don’t miss making this at least once every summer, and I highly recommend you try this too before green mango stocks run out. 🙂

The six flavours (arusuvai) of Manga Pachadi

To balance the sourness of raw mango, jaggery is added to Manga Pachadi. I prefer using unadulterated country jaggery (‘naatu vellam‘), which gives the relish its deep brown colour.

Some people add a bit of red chilli powder to Manga Pachadi, but we don’t. The only heat in the dish we make comes from the tempering of dry red chillies we add in.

This Manga Pachadi falls under the category of ‘Arusuvai‘, or ‘food that includes six flavours’ in Tamil. Experts of Tamil cuisine believe that there are six flavours in all – sweet, salty, spicy, sour, astringent and bitter. It is believed that when you eat foods that contain all six flavours, the brain gets signals of calm and satiety, and that you avoid over-eating and excessive food cravings. We have talked about the ‘sweet’, ‘spicy’ and ‘sour’ aspects of the Manga Pachadi already. The ‘saltiness’ comes from the bit of salt added to the dish, while the ‘astringent’ flavour comes from the turmeric. Wondering where the ‘bitterness’ figures in? It comes from neem flowers, fresh or dried, which are usually fried in ghee and added to the Manga Pachadi!

Manga Pachadi is customarily prepared in Tamilian households on Tamil New Year’s day, which falls in the month of April. The ‘ArusuvaiManga Pachadi reinforces that life is a mix of varied experiences – it is never all sweet or bitter or sour, but that there are several things in between. Just how beautiful is that, right?

In our family, we add in dried neem flowers to the Manga Pachadi only on Tamil New Year’s day, avoiding it at other times.

How to make Manga Pachadi

Here’s our family recipe. Check it out – it’s super easy to make, yet super delicious!

Ingredients (makes about 1-1/2 cup):

1. 1 medium-sized raw mango, a little over 1 cup when chopped

2. 2 pinches of salt

3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

4. About 3/4 cup jaggery powder

5. 1/2 tablespoon oil

6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Top: Step 1, Bottom left and right: Steps 2 and 3

1. Peel the raw mango.

2. Chop the flesh into slices. Scrape off all the flesh from the seed, and slice it up too.

3. Measure out the slices. I had about 1-1/4 cup raw mango slices which weren’t very sour, so I used 3/4 cup jaggery. You need to adjust the amount of jaggery you use as per the quantity and sourness of the raw mango.

Top left and right: Steps 4 and 5, Bottom left: Steps 6, Bottom right: The mango pieces have turned soft

4. Take the mango slices in a heavy-bottomed pan, along with about 1/4 cup water, the salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Keep on high flame.

5. When the pan gets heated up, reduce flame to medium.

6. Cook covered on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the mango slices turn soft. Open the lid in between to check on the mango slices, and add in a little more water if it has dried up.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Bottom-most left: Step 9, Above bottom-most left: The mixture has thickened, Right: Step 10

7. Add the jaggery to the pan, along with about 1/2 cup more water. Mix well.

8. Continue to cook on medium flame, uncovered, till the mixture starts to thicken. This can take 2-4 minutes. The mango slices will further soften. Stir intermittently.

9. In the meantime, prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Reduce flame, and add in the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas.

10. When the mango mixture has thickened but is still quite runny, switch off gas. It will thicken a bit more upon cooling. Add the tempering we prepared earlier, to the pan. Mix well. Your Manga Pachadi is ready. It can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

Tips & Tricks

1. If you plan to store the Manga Pachadi, let it cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.

2. Totapuri or Kilimooku Manga, which are a good mix of sweet and sour, work best in the making of this dish.

3. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, depending upon the quantity and sourness of the raw mango.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Manga Pachadi you require. Ideally it should be a bit runny, but thick and not watery.

5. Whole jaggery can also be used in place of the powder I have used here. In that case, you could make a syrup of the jaggery and water, then add it to the cooked raw mango slices. You should filter the jaggery syrup before adding, in case it has impurities.

6. You can also add a bit of red chilli powder to the Manga Pachadi. Some families do that, but we don’t.

7. Don’t overcook the Manga Pachadi. Stop cooking it when it reaches that thickened, but runny stage. It thickens a little more upon cooling.

8. The colour of the Manga Pachadi will depend upon the type of jaggery you use. I have used organic country jaggery here, hence the deep brown colour.

9. Sometimes, curry leaves are added in the tempering too. We usually don’t use them.

10. On Tamil New Year day, about a teaspoon of dried neem flowers are fried in some ghee, then added to the Manga Pachadi, along with the other tempering. Some families use fresh neem flowers too. Except for Tamil New Year, the adding of neem flowers to Manga Pachadi is not usually followed.

11. Ghee can be used for the tempering, instead of the oil I have used here. Avoid ghee and stick to oil for the tempering, for a vegan version.

12. The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. You can make it gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent, and are best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use that.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu| Chettinad Style Chickpeas In Tamarind Gravy

Chickpeas, aka chana or garbanzo beans, are one of my most favourite types of legumes. I love that they are so versatile, blending seamlessly into salads, North Indian sabzis like Chana Masala, chaats, tikkis, soups, South Indian gravies and Middle Eastern hummus and falafel alike. I especially love the big white ones that are commonly called Kabuli Chana (‘Kondakadalai‘ in Tamil). Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for a beautiful dish from Chettinad that is made using these white chickpeas – Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu.

Understanding the Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu better

Like I was saying earlier, this dish hails from Chettinad in Tamilnadu, a place famous for its fiery foods that typically use a number of spices. While Chettinad is best known for its indigenous non-vegetarian preparations, it also has several traditional vegetarian delicacies to offer, which are a delight to the tastebuds. This Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu is one such delicacy, tangy and spicy and a bit sweet all at once. It makes for a brilliant accompaniment to piping hot rice, especially when drizzled with some sesame oil aka nalla ennai. It also goes well with rotis, upma, dosas and the like.

This dish is made using big white chickpeas, which are cooked first, then allowed to simmer in a tamarind broth which, in true Chettinad style, has been flavoured using a blend of spices. Don’t be intimated by the long laundry list of ingredients this entails – all of them are fairly common in an Indian kitchen, and the recipe is in actuality quite simple. The end result, I can assure you, is totally worth the effort you might have to put in to get together all the ingredients.

#ChanaTime at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe for Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme each Monday. The theme this week is #ChanaTime, wherein the members are showcasing dishes made using different types of the very nutritious chickpeas.

It was Mayuri ji, the talented author of Mayuri’s Jikoni, who suggested the theme this week. She already has a few very interesting chickpea recipes on her blog, such as this Mombasa Mix and this Kala Chana Pulav. In case you happen to be looking for more recipes that use chickpeas, do check out the Jaisalmeri Kala Chana and Gujarati Raswala Kala Chana Nu Shaak on my blog.

How I learnt to make Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu

There’s an interesting story behind how I came to learn this gem of a recipe. I first tasted Chettinad-style Kara Kozhambu at Krishna Kafe – a Bangalore eatery that I am very, very fond of – and fell head over heels in love with it. This was years ago, after which I tried replicating the dish at home several times but with no success. Then, in 2017, we visited Madurai, which is a hop, skip and jump away from Chettinad. We booked into a homestay in Madurai, where I had the pleasure of sampling some of Chettinad’s vegetarian cuisine. On one such day, we were served this Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu, which was EXACTLY like the Krishna Kafe Kara Kozhambu I so loved! Courtesy of the homestay staff, I managed to get the recipe, which I have made many times over at home now. It remains a hit in our family.

Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu recipe

Without further ado, here’s presenting to you the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

To grind:

  1. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (sombu)
  2. 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (gasagasa)
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

Other ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup white chickpeas (kabuli chana aka kondakadalai)
  2. 1 tablespoon sesame oil (nalla ennai)
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (kadugu)
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeeragam)
  5. 2 pinches of asafoetida (perungayam)
  6. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  7. A pinch of fenugreek seeds (vendhayam)
  8. 7-8 cloves of garlic
  9. 1 big onion
  10. A lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  11. 1 medium-sized tomato
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  14. 2 cups water
  15. 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
  16. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  17. 1 teaspoon roasted coriander (dhania) powder
  18. 2 teaspoons sambar powder
  19. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

Left top and bottom: Steps 1 and 2, Right top and bottom: Steps 3 and 4

1. Soak the chickpeas in enough water for 8-10 hours or overnight. When the chickpeas are done soaking, drain out all the water from them.

2. Transfer the soaked and drained chickpeas to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover them fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 5 whistles or till the chickpeas are well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water, for at least 15 minutes.

4. When the tamarind has cooled down enough to handle, extract all the juice from it. Add in fresh water, little by little, to help with the extraction. I got about 1 cup of thin tamarind extract.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left: The coconut paste, ground and ready, Bottom right: Step 7

5. In the meantime, chop the onion, coriander and tomato finely. Peel the garlic cloves. Keep these ready, along with the curry leaves.

6. Take the coconut, fennel seeds and poppy seeds in a small mixer jar. Grind together to a smooth paste, using a little water.

7. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked chickpeas out.

Top left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Above leftmost bottom: Step 10, Leftmost bottom and bottom right: Step 11

8. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Let these ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.

9. Add in the garlic cloves. Saute for half a minute.

10. Add the onion to the pan. Saute on medium flame till the onion gets brown.

11. Add in the chopped tomato, along with the turmeric, a little salt and some water. Cook on medium flame for a minute.

Top left and above leftmost bottom: Steps 12 and 13, Leftmost bottom: Step 14, Bottom right: Step 15, Top right: Step 16

12. Add the tamarind extract to the pan, along with salt to taste and the cooked chickpeas. Also add in the water the chickpeas were cooked in. Mix well.

13. Cook everything together for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

14. Now, add in about 2 more cups of water or as needed to adjust the consistency. Add in the jaggery powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and sambar powder. Mix well.

15. Add in the coconut paste we ground earlier. Mix well.

16. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes, for the mixture to thicken and for the raw smell of the spice powders to go away. Switch off gas at this stage.

Top: The Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu is almost ready, Bottom: Step 17

17. Mix in finely chopped coriander. The Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice, drizzled with sesame oil.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used home-made sambar powder here. You can use a store-bought version, instead, too.

2. This Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu is made using white chickpeas, which are commonly called kabuli chana. Black-eyed peas (aka cowpeas, lobia or karamani) or black chickpeas (aka karuppu kondakadalai or kotthukadalai) can be used instead too.

3. Sesame oil aka nalla ennai works best in the making of this dish. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.

4. Adjust the quantity of salt, jaggery powder, sambar powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder as per personal taste preferences.

5. Instead of poppy seeds, a few cashewnuts can be used to thicken the Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu. A slurry made using rice flour and a little water can be used instead, too.

6. Upto 1/2 cup of coconut can be used in this dish. I prefer using just about 2 tablespoons of coconut only.

7. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu you require. I prefer keeping it just slightly thick, quite runny in consistency.

8. The garlic cloves are, traditionally, kept whole in this recipe, and I have done the same. However, if you so prefer, you may chop them up roughly or crush them using a mortar and pestle.

9. You may drizzle some sesame oil over the Kondakadalai Kara Kozhambu, once it is cooked and ready. This adds a whole lot of flavour to it. We usually skip this, instead drizzling the oil over the rice in our plates, while eating.

10. Some cinnamon and cloves can be added to the tempering too. I prefer leaving out these ingredients.

11. Here is how I make the roasted coriander powder – I dry roast some coriander seeds (dhania) in a pan till fragrant, then allow them to cool down and grind to a powder. I usually make a small batch of this, store in an air-tight bottle, and use as needed. If you don’t have roasted coriander powder ready, you can add about a 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds to the coconut, while grinding.

12. This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet. If you want to make it gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and are best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Fruit Custard Recipe| How To Make Fruit Custard

Fruit Custard is one of the first things I learnt from my mom, years ago. She’s the Expert Custard Maker of our family, who gets it just right every single time, the custard neither too thick nor too watery, absolutely delicious. It is a dessert all of us in the family have always loved, and mom always made it whenever there were a lot of fruits at home. It is a dessert that holds many sweet memories for me, something I associate with my mom and home.

When I was about to get married and shift to Bangalore, I had to learn making this from her, of course, her tips and tricks to get it just right. And, of course, my blog would be incomplete without a Fruit Custard recipe, a la mom. So, here we are.

Fruit Custard!

What is Fruit Custard?

It is a very simple dessert that can be put together in mere minutes. Full-fat milk is brought to a boil, along with sugar, then some custard powder is added in, for thickening. The milk and custard powder mixture is cooked just a little, till it reaches the right consistency, after which it is allowed to chill. Just before serving, assorted fruits go in – that’s the way we like it. The end result is a delicious, delicious thing!

Fruit Custard is perfect for gatherings of family or friends, when you need to make a sweet dish, but nothing too complicated. The custard can be made in advance and kept chilling in the refrigerator, with only the fruits needing to go in when your guests arrive.

After festival days, when you are left with a glut of fruits (or post market visits when you get overly enthusiastic about fruit consumption and buy it by the truckloads), this Fruit Custard is a great thing to turn to.

A closer look at the ingredients

It is imperative to use full-fat milk in the Fruit Custard, for best results. Here, in Bangalore, I use Nandini full-cream milk.

I use regular refined white sugar, as we prefer it that way. Some people add honey instead – if you are doing so, make sure you add the honey at the end, after the custard has cooled down. As per Ayurvedic principles, honey should not be heated.

While there are a number of custard powder brands available these days, I prefer the vanilla-flavoured one by Brown & Polson. That’s what mom always used, and what I love using too. I have tried out a few other brands too, but I personally think Brown & Polson is the best.

Fruit Custard, the way we like it!

Last, but not the least, you can add any fruits of your preference. One thing you need to ensure is not to add too many fruits with high water content (watermelon, musk melon, sun melon and the likes), as they might make the Fruit Custard too watery. We prefer adding Robusta bananas (other types don’t really work well), a crisp apple like Washington or Fuji, seedless grapes, pomegranate and, when in season, ripe mango.

The basic Fruit Custard recipe includes just fruits, but you may add in dried fruits and nuts to make it richer. Almonds, pistachios, cashewnuts, glace cherries and raisins are some things that work well in Fruit Custard.

How to make Fruit Custard

Here is our family recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1/2 litre full-fat milk, not boiled
  2. 2 heaped tablespoons custard powder
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 medium-sized Robusta banana
  5. 1 small ripe mango
  6. 1/2 of a medium-sized apple
  7. 2 fistfuls of pomegranate arils

Method:

1. Take about 1/4 cup of the milk in a small cup. Add in the custard powder. Mix well to form a smooth, lump-free slurry. Keep aside.

2. Take the rest of the milk in a pan, and add in the sugar too. Place on high heat. In a bit, the sugar will get completely dissolved in the milk. Stirring intermittently, let cook on high flame till the milk comes to a boil, 3-4 minutes. Then, turn the flame down to low.

Top left and right: Making the custard powder slurry, Bottom left: The smooth custard powder slurry, Bottom right: The remaining milk set for cooking

3. Stirring constantly, add the custard powder slurry we prepared earlier, to the pan. Make sure the slurry is mixed evenly in the hot milk and that there are no lumps. The mixture will immediately start thickening.

4. Continue to cook the mixture on low flame for 1-2 minutes, or till it attains a silky-smooth consistency but is still quite runny. Don’t let it get too thick, as it will thicken up a bit more upon cooling. You will need to stir intermittently. Switch off gas when done.

Top left: Adding sugar to the pan, Top right: The milk coming to a boil, Bottom left: Adding the custard powder slurry to the pan, Bottom right: The right consistency of the custard while cooking

5. Cover the pan and allow the custard to cool down fully. Then, transfer to a bowl and place it in the refrigerator. Allow it to chill for at least 3-4 hours.

Top: The custard, after chilling, Bottom: Adding fruits to the chilled custard

6. When you are ready to serve the Fruit Custard, get the custard out of the refrigerator. Now add in the fruits. Peel and chop the banana and mango, and add these to the custard. Add in the pomegranate arils too. Chop up the apple and add it in too. Mix well. Your Fruit Custard is ready. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. If the custard gets too thick after chilling, loosen it with a little boiled and cooled milk. If needed, dissolve some sugar in the hot milk, allow it to cool down fully before adding it in.

2. If the custard gets too watery, mix some custard powder in a little cold milk, add to the custard and cook on low flame for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the fruits to the custard just before serving. Citrus fruits can cause the custard to get bitter, if left in for some time. Moreover, it is sometimes difficult to bite into fruits if they have been chilled along with the custard.

4. Adjust the amount of sugar you use, as per personal taste preferences. The above quantities are just perfect for us.

5. A few drops of rose or vanilla essence can be added to the custard too. We usually don’t.

6. Make sure there are no lumps in the custard powder slurry you make, which is later added to boiled milk.

7. Chop the fruits just before adding them to the custard. Chopping them up in advance might cause them to get watery or darken.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!