18 January, 2018

Arachuvitta Sambar Recipe | Tamil Brahmin Tiffin Sambar Recipe

Learn how to make Arachuvitta Sambar ~ South Indian lentil and vegetable stew flavoured with fresh roasted spice and coconut mix and tamarind extract

People who know me tell me that I turn little crazy when I start missing certain food. Food has that kind of effect on me and some days, it can turn my life upside down! It is especially so if I don’t get to eat full-fledged South Indian breakfast of Idli, Vada and Sambar at least once a week and begin to show withdrawal symptoms. Notice that gorgeous bowl of Sambar up there? It’s called Arachuvitta Samabr. This little tongue twister is a wonderful Tamil Brahmin Tiffin Sambar recipe where fresh ground roasted spices and coconut mixture is added to the simmering pot of vegetable and lentil stew with tamarind extract. Unlike other sambar recipes, this one uses fresh ground spice instead of ready to use sambar powders which makes it finger-licking good!

Ingredients for Arachuvitta Sambar

The ingredients which we find in sambar powder has dried red chillies, which surprisingly came to India only in the 15th or 16th century by the Portuguese from Mexico. Not just the chillies, but also tomato, potato and onions were not part of ancient Indian cuisine and were introduced by the western settlers and invaders around the same century. It is quite interesting that these ingredients have become a staple in many food preparation all over India and Indian subcontinents and are as Indian as it gets. Prior to red chillies became an integral part of cooking, it was the black peppercorns and ginger which added the heat to the curries and other food preparations and to this date, many South Indian recipes still uses black peppercorns and ginger (both in fresh and dried form) to spice up the dish and also for their immense medicinal properties and health benefit. We are so used to seeing the red or orange hued curries, it is bit difficult to imagine pale coloured sambar or other curries and this just shows how Indian cuisine has embraced the chillies as it is their own home produce! And so are the potato, tomato and onions without which it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the current Indian cuisine!

11 January, 2018

Vegan Tindora Masala Curry | Ivy Gourd in Peanut and Coconut Curry

Learn how to make Vegan Tindora Masala Curry ~ Ivy gourds cooked in a thick and creamy peanut, sesame seeds and dry coconut gravy

Time and time again I am on a self-created mission of learning, developing and sharing recipes which you will never find in any Indian restaurants. These recipes are lovingly created, tweaked and then perfected after many trials and errors by the home cooks and are passed on from one generation to the next with in a family. They are fiercely guarded like some precious treasures and most often, never shared with someone outside their family! So if ever by any chance someone outside the family asks for the recipe, you can be rest assured that only a part of these treasured family recipes will be shared…And oh, half-heartedly! When someone says, “Oh, it’s quite simple you know. You need a handful of this and a spoonful of that. Grind them all and cook with the vegetable!”, you can be sure that the finished dish will never come close to the one you fell in love with. Consider yourself lucky to have had a privilege to taste such family heirlooms and be mindful of their uneasiness to share their family’s secret recipe.

Ingredients for the gravy

A decade ago, I was invited for a lunch by a friend of mine. Students who live in a hostel will know what it means to be invited for a home cooked meals when one has to eat bullet proof roti dipped in watered down red chilli paste with 2-3 chunks of sorry looking vegetables that was passed as a ‘curry’! My friends family were originally from a southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (now divided into two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) which was known for their amazing regional food and fiery hot pickles which enslaves your taste buds the moment it touches the tongue. On that particular day, my friends mother had lovingly cooked a festive thali and one dish that made a big impact on my taste memory was the Vegan Tindora Masala Curry where ivy gourds were cooked in a creamy peanut and coconut gravy.

03 January, 2018

Spicy Roti Noodles Stir Fry Recipe | Vegan Indo-Chinese Recipe with Leftover Roti

Learn how to make Spicy Roti Noodle Stir Fry ~ Indo-Chinese style leftover roti noodles stir fried with rainbow coloured vegetables and sauces

When the Chinese introduced their cuisine into India, little did they would have expected to see that the ever-adapting Indian would re-invent some of their most time-tested recipes to suit the sub-continental palate. Indo-Chinese cuisine is believed to have originated with the Chinese migrants who settled in one of the metropolitan cities of India, Calcutta or currently known as Kolkata. India has one Chinatown, Tangra in Calcutta and the Chinese have been living there for more than a century. It is believed that over a century the food is adapted to suit local ingredients and adjusting the flavours to reflect the local palate. So, my friends, in simple words Indo-Chinese cuisine is just an adaptation of Chinese seasonings and cooking techniques to Indian taste and in my opinion one of the best cultural remix.

Ingredients for Spicy Roti Noodles Stir Fry

Popularly known as Indo-Chinese food, it is one of the most popular street foods in India sold on roadside in a small wooden push carts. You can never miss the irresistible smell of frying garlic, onions and chillies which will grab your attention even from 500 meters distance and you will be drawn to these carts with sudden hunger pangs. Price-wise the food is dirt cheap for a plate of very filling and utterly delicious Indo-Chinese food. If you are worried about eating from roadside carts/stalls due to hygiene, then fret not as most of the small and big restaurant in India has Indo-Chinese food on their menu and even star hotels have their own take on Indo-Chinese food. But in my opinion the best Indo-Chinese food I have ever tasted are from these roadside stalls which are not just tasty and cheap but real fun to eat. But there is no denying fact that homemade ones are much healthier as they are loaded with rainbow coloured vegetables, with less oil and with no artificial flavourings.