பாட்டி கை மணம் – Straight from my Grandmom’s kitchen – Thengai Araithuvitta Kuzhambu

Literally translated to  good smell of my grandmom’s hand,  [பாட்டி  = Grandmother, கை = Hand and மணம் = good smell], my paati’s cooking was out of the world, just like her 🙂 She was from Kallidaikuruchi, Tirunelveli District and was one of a kind, like her hometown[AHEM:AHEM]

Ramalakshmi paati was my dad’s mom. I never had the fortune to meet Mahalakshmi paati (my mom’s mom) as she passed away when my mom was a teenager. My official name was Ramalakshmi 🙂 but my mom felt it was too long and shortened it to Lakshmi when i started school. In fact, I resemble Mahalakshmi paati but my mannerisms, nature and some, no, scratch that – most of my qualities are from Ramalakshmi paati. So you can say, i am a perfect mix of both my paati’s 🙂

Ramalakshmi paati was such a bold, intelligent and brilliant woman (considering the times she was in and that she was uneducated as well). Her integrity, sense of self, ethics and above all  – endless love for us, she was amazing person.

both rl'sIn fact, my mom calls me 3-in-one, her daughter, MIL and SIL rolled into one as i have inherited most of my qualities from my paati and my athai, hehe. She passed away when i was very young and i didn’t get a lot of chance to observe her in action. But my mom says, from  my actions to  some words that i use in conversations (that are very specific to Tirunelveli and her) to right down to the way i walk, even my footfalls, remind my mom of my paati.

One of the best things about my paati is her cooking, authentic, tam-brahm, Tirunelveli style cooking. Poricha kootu (பொரிச்ச கூட்டு), Thengai araithuvitta kuzhambu (தேங்காய் அரைத்துவிட்ட குழம்பு), avial(அவியல்), more vendha saaru (மோர் வெந்த சாறு), a potato curry with freshly ground spices……and the list goes on.

Of this, Thengai araithuvitta kuzhambu – தேங்காய் அரைத்துவிட்ட குழம்பு is one of my absolute favorites and my comfort food too. Somewhere in between Vatha kuzhambu (வத்த குழம்பு ) and Araithu vitta sambhar (அரைத்து விட்ட சாம்பார் ), it is an explosion of flavors for your taste buds. When I was pregnant both times with Vidyuth and Vishruth, I had a craving for this all the time and i used to just drink this kuzhambu in a cup 🙂 Even now, it is the begining to a perfect weekend tam-brahm lunch.

Here is the recipe so that you can also enjoy this amazing dish that has been passed down for generations.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • Tamarind (a big lemon size)
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • Pinch of Hing/asafoetida (I usually take a bigger pinch as I think it ups the taste)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 6-7 dried red chillies (less if you can’t take the heat)
  • A cup of grated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped curry leaves for garnish
  •  1 cup of Veggies (radish/brinjal (eggplant) or okra go well with this)
  • Salt to taste
  • ingredients

Recipe

1) Soak the tamarind in water for a couple of minutes and get the pulp, thicker the better.  Note: I usually use the leftover tamarind when I grind the coconut, chillies and fenugreek. It adds more tang and gives a nice taste.

photo 4

2) For the wet mixture: Roast the red chillies, 2 tsp of fenugreek, the grated coconut with some hing until they turn golden brown.

photo 1
3) Grind them along with the leftover tamarind in Step 1 to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

photo 1

4) Heat 1.5 tsp of cooking oil in a kadai or pot.
5) Add mustard seeds, 1 red chilli, 1 tsp fenugreek and hing. Wait for them to sputter. Add the radish or any other vegetable and sauté them for a minute.

photo (1)

6) Add the tamarind water, turmeric powder and salt.

photo
7) Cook until the veggies are cooked through and the liquid comes to a boil.

photo (2)
8) Add the wet mixture and cook until the pacha vasanai (பச்சை வாசனை = raw smell) goes away completely.

photo 3
9) Thengai araithuvitta kuzhambu/தேங்காய் அரைத்துவிட்ட குழம்பு is ready.

photo 2
10 ) Mix with hot rice and some ghee. Goes well with potato curry 🙂

Bon Appetit!

Grandma serves kisses, counsel and cookies daily.~  Author Unknown

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s