Chana Dal Panki| Gujarati Lentil Pancake In A Banana Leaf

Have you ever tasted a Panki? It is a beautiful, delicate thing, a sort of pancake that is cooked in a banana leaf. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for Chana Dal Panki, i.e. Panki made using soaked and ground chana dal.

Chana Dal Panki

What is Panki, actually?

As mentioned earlier, Panki refers to batter cooked in a banana leaf, on a pan.
A heritage recipe from the state of Gujarat, Panki can be prepared using different ingredients – the traditional versions are made using rice flour, lentils and the like, while the more modern ones experiment with things like corn and moong sprouts.

A well-made Panki tastes absolutely lovely, and is a treat to the tastebuds, with the banana leaf imparting its fragrance to the dish. It is a healthy and wholesome dish too – only the banana leaf is greased, there is no oil used in the Panki batter as such. It is, therefore, practically oil-free.

Paan‘ is Gujarati for ‘leaf’, and this dish gets its name from the fact that it is cooked in one. Considering how delicious and wholesome Panki is, I think it completely deserves to have more of the spotlight focused on it. Sadly, it is one of the lesser-known Gujarati delicacies, as opposed to other things like Dhokla, Khaman, Gujarati Dal and the Gujarati Thali.

What goes into Chana Dal Panki?

Chana Dal is soaked, then ground, to make the batter for this Panki. Ginger and green chillies add a lovely flavour to the batter, as do the curd and bit of jaggery that also go in.

This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe, with no oil being used in the batter. It is vegetarian, but NOT vegan or plant-based because of the use of curd. It is gluten-free as well.

#TavaTales on Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #TavaTales, wherein all of us are sharing delectable dishes cooked on a pan.

Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds was the one who suggested this week’s theme. Kalyani’s blog is a treasure of traditional South Indian foods, healthy salads and bakes, and several kid-friendly recipes. You guys should check out the enticing Tawa Paneer Tikka she has prepared for the theme – soooo yum!

Chana Dal Panki recipe

Making Chana Dal Panki is not a very difficult task at all. With a little prior preparation and minimal ingredients, it is possible to make this within a matter of minutes.

Here’s how we make Chana Dal Panki at home.

Ingredients (makes 6 pieces):

  1. 1 cup chana dal
  2. 1-1/2 green chillies
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 tablespoons curd
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  9. Oil as needed for greasing the leaves
  10. 2 big banana leaves

Method:

Top left: Soaked and drained chana dal, Top right: Step 2, Centre left and right: Step 3 and 4, Bottom left and right: Steps 5 and 6

1. Wash the chana dal under running water a couple of times. Drain out all the water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the chana dal and soak, covered, for 4-6 hours or overnight.

2. When the chana dal is done soaking, drain out the water from it. Transfer the soaked dal to a mixer jar. Add in the salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder.

3. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Add the chopped ginger and chillies to the mixer jar.

4. Add the curd to the mixer jar.

5. Grind all the ingredients in the mixer jar together, adding a little water. You should get a batter that is runny but not too watery.

6. Mix the chopped coriander into the batter. Keep ready.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Centre left and right: Step 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 9 and 10

7. Now, fold each banana leaf into two length-wise, along the stem. Using a pair of scissors, cut the folded-up halves into three equal pieces – so, totally, you will have 6 pieces which can be opened up.

8. Grease one of these leaf pieces with a little oil.

9. Get a dosa pan nice and hot, then reduce the flame to medium. Place half of a leaf piece on it, greased side up. Pour about 4 tablespoons of the batter on one side of the leaf. Gently spread it out with a spoon. Close the other half of the leaf over the batter – in such a way that the greased side is touching the batter. Now, gently press down on the top part using a spatula, enabling the batter to spread out between the leaves.

10. Cook on medium flame till the bottom of the leaf starts getting brown. Flip the entire thing over to the other side, using a spatula.

11. Cook on medium flame till the other side starts getting brown too. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve the ready Panki with green coriander chutney.

12. Prepare about 6 Panki in a similar fashion, using up all the leaf pieces and batter. Serve hot.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fresh banana leaves to cook the Chana Dal Panki. In the absence of these, large almond leaves can be used.

2. Each piece of banana leaf can be re-used 2-3 times to cook the Panki.

3. Do not add too much of water to the batter. Make sure the batter is neither too watery nor too thick.

4. Sour curd makes the Chana Dal Panki taste lovely, in my opinion. Adjust the quantity of curd you use as per personal taste preferences.

5. Use more or less green chillies, depending upon your spice preferences.

6. Make sure you cook the Chana Dal Panki on a medium flame, to ensure even cooking and to prevent the leaves from burning.

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

One-Pot Kala Chana Masala| Black Chickpea Pressure Cooker Curry

Kala Chana Masala is a beauty of a dish made using black chickpeas, a flavourful gravy that is a family favorite. With pooris, naan, rotis or parathas – just about any kind of flatbread – it makes for a wonderful accompaniment. We love slurping this up with some hot steamed rice too. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for this dish, the way I make it.

All of us at home are big fans of the rustic, earthy texture of black chickpeas aka kala chana. We love the way they lend themselves beautifully to a variety dishes. I have already shared the Pani Poori recipe and Kala Chana Nu Rasavalu Shaak in which we often use these chickpeas, and now there’s this one.

One-Pot Kala Chana Masala

What goes into Kala Chana Masala?

Black chickpeas are the main ingredient, of course, cooked in a tomato and onion gravy. The home-made Punjabi chana masala powder that goes into it elevates the flavour quotient by several notches. It is finished with a touch of kasoori methi i.e. dried fenugreek leaves and some fresh coriander.

There are no fancy ingredients in this curry, no thickening agent, no artificial additives – only honest to God ingredients. Yet, this Kala Chana Masala gravy turns out delightfully thick and very, very delicious.

It is not a very difficult dish to prepare. You do need some prior preparation, in terms of soaking the black chickpeas overnight. Once that is done, though, it is a simple thing to put together. What I have shared here is a one-pot recipe, which can be easily made in a pressure cooker.

#FamilyFavorite at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #FamilyFavorite, wherein all of us are showcasing recipes that are hits in our respective families.

Aruna, a very talented cook and the author of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen, was the one who suggested the theme this week. Check out the lovely home-made chocolates that Aruna has prepared for the theme – I’m soooo tempted to give them a go myself!


How to make One-Pot Kala Chana Masala

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup black chickpeas
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 small onion
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 5-6 garlic cloves
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 2-3 teaspoons chana masala or to taste
  13. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  14. 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
  15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Step 4

1. Soak the black chickpeas in enough water to cover them fully, for 8-10 hours or overnight.


2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Transfer them to a wide vessel. Add in fresh water, about an inch above the chickpeas. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.


3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked chickpeas out. You know that they are done when you are able to crush them entirely between two fingers – there should be no hardness. Retain the water in which the chickpeas were cooked, too.


4. Now, chop the tomatoes finely. Peel the onion, ginger and garlic and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger, onion and garlic together to a smooth puree. Keep aside. 

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Below top right: Step 7, Bottom left and right: Steps 8 and 9

5. Now we will start preparing the One-Pot Kala Chana Masala. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom and add in the cumin. Allow it to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the tomato puree to the cooker. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the paste is completely gone. Stir intermittently.

7. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder.

8. Add in the red chilli powder.

9. Also add in the cooked black chickpeas, along with the water they were cooked in. Add in 1/2 cup of water or as needed. Mix well.

Top left and right: Step 10, Below top right: Step 11, Bottom left: The gravy, after pressure cooking, Bottom right: Step 12

10. Add in the chana masala and jaggery powder. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and spices.

11. Close the pressure cooker. Allow 2 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

12. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, mix in the finely chopped coriander. Crush the kasoori methi roughly between the palms of your hands and mix it in too. Your One-Pot Kala Chana Masala is ready – serve it with hot with flatbread of your choice or steamed rice.

Is this a vegan and gluten-free recipe?

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is vegan as well. It is suitable for those following a plant-based diet.

To make this gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the recipe. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

The home-made chana masala I have used here is vegan and gluten-free as well. However, if you are using a store-bought spice blend, do ensure that the ingredients used therein suit your dietary requirements.

Tips & Tricks

1. You may skip adding the jaggery, though I would personally recommend it. The little amount of jaggery used does not make the Kala Chana Masala sweet, but rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

2. I have used home-made Punjabi chana masala powder here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.

3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Kala Chana Masala you require.

4. The chana masala I have used here has some amount of tanginess to it. I have also used the tart ‘Nati‘ (country) tomatoes here as opposed to the ‘farmed’ ones. Hence, I did not need to use lemon juice or any other souring agent. However, if you need to, you may add in some amchoor powder or lemon juice to taste.

5. I have used a large 7.5-litre pressure cooker here.

6. After the cooked chickpeas are added in, you may do away with the pressure cooking. In that case, simply cook uncovered on medium flame for about 5 minutes or till the gravy thickens. I prefer the pressure cooker method, though.

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

Pudina Saadam| Mint Rice

Pudina Saadam is a delicious one-pot dish that you can put together within minutes. Considering we are living in very stressful times, meals like this one are life-savers. All you need are a pressure cooker and a few common ingredients.

What is Pudina Saadam?

Pudina Saadam‘ is Tamil for ‘mint rice’. It refers to rice flavoured with fresh mint leaves, along with some spices and other ingredients. The end result is delectable and very refreshing, and is a big favourite with all of us at home.

Like I was saying earlier, this is a pressure-cooker recipe or a one-pot dish that takes just a few minutes to prepare. It is a complete meal in itself, served with some curd or raita of your choice. This makes it a great choice for busy weekday lunches or dinners.

I am aware different people prepare Pudina Saadam in different ways. What I am about to share here is our family recipe, the way we make this dish. It is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation. It can be made gluten-free too, by simply skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. This is because most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

#MintMagic at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in co-ordination with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #MintMagic, wherein all of us are showcasing recipes using mint as a major ingredient.

Sasmita of First Timer Cook, who suggested the week’s theme, has a beautiful blog full of interesting recipes. You guys should definitely check it out for some traditional Odia dishes, global bakes and fusion dishes with very interesting twists to them. Sasmita made this lovely Cucumber Mint Lassi for the theme, and it absolutely has me drooling!

How to make Pudina Saadam aka Mint Rice

This is how we go about it

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  3. 1 small onion
  4. 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces
  5. A small piece of ginger
  6. 1 green chilly or as per taste
  7. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  8. 3/4 tablespoon mustard seeds
  9. 3/4 tablespoon cumin seeds
  10. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala or to taste
  14. Lemon juice to taste (optional)

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom left: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4

1. Wash the mint leaves thoroughly, to remove any dirt from them. Drain out the water from them.

2. Add the washed mint leaves to a small mixer jar. Peel the onion and ginger, chop roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Add in the coconut pieces. Chop the green chilly and add to the mixer jar too. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, with about 1/4 cup water. Keep aside.

3. Wash the rice thoroughly. Drain out all the water.

4. Now, heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

Top left and right: Step 5, Below top right: Step 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Bottom right: The rice is cooked and ready, before being fluffed up

5. Add the mint paste we ground earlier, to the cooker, as well as the washed and drained rice. Saute on high flame for a minute.

6. Add 3 cups of water to the cooker. Also add in salt to taste, garam masala and turmeric powder. Mix well.

7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

8. Once the pressure has completely gone down, wait for 7-10 minutes to open the cooker. Then after another 10 minutes or so, gently fluff up the rice. Mix in lemon juice, if using. The Pudina Saadam or Mint Rice is ready. Serve hot with curd, Boondi Raita or any raita of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You may use any type of rice you prefer.
  2. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how grainy you want the rice to be. Also the quantity of water would depend upon the type of rice you use.
  3. I have used a large 7.5-litre pressure cooker here.
  4. You may allow fewer whistles if you prefer the rice to be grainy. Again this would depend upon the type of rice you use too. The above rice:water ratio and number of whistles work perfectly for us.
  5. I have used a bit of garam masala to add flavour to the rice. Instead, you could use whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise and bay leaves in the tempering.
  6. Wait for the rice to slightly cool down before fluffing it up gently, otherwise the grains might break.
  7. Using lemon juice is optional, but I would highly recommend it. It adds a beautiful flavour to the Pudina Saadam.
  8. Use very fresh mint leaves, for best results.
  9. You may add a few cloves of garlic and some fresh coriander leaves, along with the mint leaves, while grinding. We usually don’t.
  10. Some chana dal can also be added while tempering. I usually skip this.

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

Dahi Sabudana| Thayir Javvarisi

The dish most commonly made using sabudana aka sago pearls is probably Sabudana Khichdi. It is the favourite of many, especially while fasting, closely followed by Sabudana Vadas. However, did you know that there is one more delicious dish that sago pearls can be used in – Dahi Sabudana?

Today, I’m going to tell you all about how we make Dahi Sabudana at home.

What is Dahi Sabudana or Thayir Javvarisi?

Plump, well-soaked and cooked sago pearls served with flavoured curd – that’s Dahi Sabudana for you. In Tamil, this is referred to as ‘Thayir Javvarisi‘.

It has a bit of a sticky consistency thanks to the starchy nature of the sago. If you can get past that, though, Dahi Sabudana is quite, quite delicious, and very easy to prepare too! And it’s just the perfect, refreshing food for the scorching heat of summer.

Like Sabudana Khichdi and Sabudana Vada, this Thayir Javvarisi too can be consumed during fasting. In that case, do make sure that you add in only those ingredients that are allowed for consumption during fasting in your family/community.

The recipe I have shared here is vegetarian but NOT vegan (it uses curd) and gluten-free (it uses asafoetida, which often contains wheat flour). This Dahi Sabudana makes for a great substitute to curd rice. You can make it with several different variations, which I have outlined towards the end of this post.

How to soak sago pearls aka sabudana

Soaking the sago pearls right is an important step in the making of this Dahi Sabudana. Head to my post on making Sabudana Khichdi, wherein I have included a detailed guide to perfectly soaking and draining sago.

#DahiDhamaal at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe for Dahi Sabudana or Thayir Javvarisi 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 #DahiDhamaal, wherein all of us are showcasing recipes using curd as the star ingredient.

Priya Vijayakrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty suggested the theme this Monday. You should totally check out the lovely Daangar Pachadi she has come up with, for the theme!

How to make Dahi Sabudana or Thayir Javvarisi

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1/2 cup sago pearls aka sabudana
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 2 green chillies
  6. 1-1/2 cups thick curd
  7. 1/2 cup water or as needed
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder (optional)
  10. 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

1. Soak the sago pearls for 8-10 hours or overnight. They should be well soaked and soft by this time, and should have increased in volume. Drain out residual water, if any.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

3. Now, we will start making Dahi Sabudana. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let these ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Add the washed and drained sago pearls to the pan, along with some salt. Turn the flame down to medium.

5. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the sago pearls are done. They will start turning translucent a few at a time. They are done when all the pearls (or most of them) have turned translucent. Switch off gas at this stage. Let the cooked sago pearls cool down completely.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right and left: Steps 4 and 5

6. Take the curd in a large mixing bowl. Add in the water and salt to taste. Whisk gently till the mixture gets smooth. It should neither be too watery or too thick.

7. When the cooked sago pearls have fully cooled down, add them to the curd mixture. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

8. Add in the roasted cumin powder (if using).

9. Add in the finely chopped coriander. Mix well. The Dahi Sabudana is ready. Serve immediately.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Bottom left and right: Steps 8 and 9

Tips & Tricks

1. The Dahi Sabudana is best consumed immediately after making it. It tends to get thick and sticky once it is left out after making. Moreover, the curd also tends to turn sour if the Dahi Sabudana isn’t consumed soon after making it.

2. Adjust the quantity of curd and water as per personal taste preferences. The mixture should not be overly thick, but should not be too watery either.

3. Here is how I make the roasted cumin powder – Dry roast some cumin seeds on medium flame till they are aromatic, taking care not to burn them. Then, allow them to cool down completely and coarsely crush them in a mixer. You can make this in bulk with, say, 1/2 cup of cumin seeds and store it in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Use it as needed.

4. Adding the roasted cumin powder is optional, but highly recommended. It adds a lovely flavour to the Dahi Sabudana.

5. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences.

8. Either store-bought or home-made curd can be used in making this dish. Slightly sour curd (not overly so) tastes better.

9. If you are preparing Dahi Sabudana for the purpose of fasting, please make sure you skip the ingredients that are not allowed as per your family’s customs. I’m reiterating this because it is important. We consume this on regular days and don’t fast as a family, so I add in ingredients of my choice.

Variations

1. You can use mustard seeds and curry leaves in the tempering too, if you so prefer.

2. Whole or broken cashewnuts can be fried and added to the Dahi Sabudana as well.

3. You can add some jaggery powder and black salt to the Dahi Sabudana.

4. Pomegranate arils, grapes, raisins and ginger slivers are some other things you can add to the Dahi Sabudana, to make it more flavourful.

5. Urad dal, chana dal and dry red chillies can be added to the tempering too.

6. You may add some grated carrots to the Dahi Sabudana, too.

7. As is done in case of curd rice, some milk can be added in to the Dahi Sabudana, to prevent it from getting too sour. I’m not too okay with mixing curd and milk together, so I avoid this and serve the Dahi Sabudana immediately upon preparation.

8. A couple of tablespoons of roasted and coarsely powdered peanuts can be added in too.

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

Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu| Tomato Gravy For Idlis And Dosas

Are you looking for a delicious side dish to serve with idlis or dosas? Something different from the usual sambar, chutneys and podis? This Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu is just perfect for you, in that case!

Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu – take a moment to admire its beauty, will you? 😊

What is Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu?

Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu is a specialty from the Kongunadu region of Tamilnadu. It refers to a gravy that is made by grinding tomatoes and then cooking it till thick – that’s what the name literally translates to, in Tamil.

This is a delectable dish, with freshly roasted and ground spices going in. The fresh coconut used in this Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu makes it all the more flavourful. Also, this kozhambu is not very difficult to put together at all!

It has a silky-smooth texture that goes wonderfully well with idlis and dosas alike. It works beautifully with plain steamed rice as well.

A closer look at the Kongunadu region and its cuisine

Kongunadu refers to that part of Tamilnadu that includes present-day Erode, Salem, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Karur, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, the Nilgiris and Namakkal. These places are believed to be where the ancient Tamils lived. The name of the region is derived from the Tamil word ‘kongu‘, which means ‘nectar’.

Kongunadu has a unique cuisine of its own, though there are many similarities to overall Tamilnadu cuisine too. Most Kongu people are vegetarians, with rice constituting a major part of their diets. However, there is also a lot of use of millets like pearl millet (bajra, ‘kambu‘ in Tamil), finger millet (ragi, ‘kelvaragu’ in Tamil). There is the generous use of turmeric and gingelly oil (sesame oil, ‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil). Arisi Parippu Saadam, Kola Urundai, Kachayam and Sandhavai are some special dishes from the Kongunadu region.

Information Courtesy: Wikipedia

How to make Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu

I came to know of this dish via Suguna Vinodh’s blog, Kannamma Cooks. I made it last year during the Covid lockdown, with slight variations to the original recipe, and it was an instant hit with my family. Since then, I have made it several times over.

Here’s how I make it. This recipe has been shared here with prior permission from Suguna. I absolutely have to thank Suguna for this gem of a heritage recipe.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil
  2. 3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 3-4 dry red chillies
  6. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 small onion
  8. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  9. 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  11. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  12. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  13. Salt to taste
  14. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  15. 1 teaspoon sambar powder
  16. A small piece of tamarind (optional)
  17. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

1. Peel the garlic cloves and onion. Chop the garlic, onion and tomatoes roughly. Keep aside.

2. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds and dry red chillies. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute the ingredients for a minute or two or till they start giving out a lovely aroma. Take care to ensure not to burn the ingredients.

3. Now turn the flame down to low-medium. Add in the coconut pieces. Saute for about a minute.

4. Add in the chopped onion and garlic. Saute on low-medium flame for a minute.

5. Add in the chopped tomatoes, along with a bit of salt. Saute on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the tomatoes goes away. Switch off gas at this stage. Allow the sauteed ingredients to cool down completely.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Above bottom right and bottom right: Steps 4 and 5, Bottom left: The tomatoes are cooked through and mushy

6. When the sauteed ingredients have fully cooled down, grind everything together to a smooth puree along with about 1/2 cup of water.

7. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Then add in the curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

8. Now add to the pan the paste we ground earlier, along with about 1-1/2 cups of water. Add in salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix well.

9. Add in the sambar powder as well. Mix well. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame or till the mixture thickens up. Add a bit more water if it is too thick.

10. While the mixture is cooking, taste it and adjust salt and spices if needed. If the sourness is less, drop in a small piece of tamarind into the pan. Let it cook along with the other ingredients – it will impart its sourness to the mixture. (You can fish out the tamarind piece later, while serving.) Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened, 5-6 minutes as stated above. Mix in the finely chopped coriander at this stage. The Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu is ready. Serve it warm or at room temperature with idlis or dosas.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Below top right: Step 8, Bottom left: Step 9, Bottom right: Step 10

Tips & Tricks

1. Use the more tart ‘Nati‘ (country) tomatoes for best results, as opposed to the less sour ‘farmed’ ones.

2. Using the tamarind is purely optional. If you feel the mixture is sour enough to your liking, you may skip adding the tamarind completely.

3. I have used the less spicy Bydagi dry chillies here. You may use any variety of dry red chillies you prefer.

4. I use home-made sambar powder, which is only moderately spicy. If the sambar powder you are using is more spicy, you may use fewer or no dry red chillies.

5. The colour of the Aati Kachina Thakkali Kozhambu will depend upon the type of dry red chillies you use.

6. You may use tamarind extract in place of the whole tamarind I have used here.

7. You may add a bit of jaggery, if you so prefer. I haven’t used any here.

8. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the kozhambu you require. We prefer that the kozhambu is neither be too thick nor too watery.

9. I have used a small red onion here. You may use the little sambar onions instead, too.

10. Coconut oil or sesame oil work best in this dish. However, you can use any oil of your preference.

11. This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet. To make it gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the above recipe and a gluten-free sambar powder. Most Indian brands of asafoetida available in the market do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. Most sambar powder brands include asafoetida – and thereby wheat flour – making them NON gluten-free.

Sharing #TiffinSideDish recipes with Foodie Monday Blog Hop

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

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined, every Monday.

It was I who suggested the theme this week, #TiffinSideDish. I know many who are confused about what to serve their family along with idlis and dosas, when not in the mood for podi or sambar. So, we at Foodie Monday Blog Hop decided to make a compilation of side dishes that would help a lot of people. I’m super excited to see what my fellow group members have come up with, for the theme!

Some other side dishes

You might also want to take a look at some other interesting side dishes for idlis and dosas, on my blog.

Do check out my recipes for:

Udupi Sambar| Tiffin Sambar

Dosa Milagai Podi| Idli Podi

Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar

Amma’s Thengai Podi

Tamilnadu Style Kale Chutney

Bombay Chutney

Tomato Onion Gojju

Andhra Pradesh Peanut Chutney

South Indian Pineapple Chutney

Peanut Chutney Powder

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