Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thotakura Pulusu-kura

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Thotakura Pulusu-kura

Thotakura (amaranth) is one of the most versatile leafy vegetables used in Andhra cuisine. You can make regular thotakura pappu, thotakura teeya pappu or, you can make yet another variation: thotakura pulusu-kura. 🙂

Thotakura pulusu-kura

Thotakura pulusu-kura

The recipe is pretty straight-forward. But the best part is that it tastes better the next day! So always make a bit more… so that there’s enough for the next day too! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Thotakura – 1 large bunch or 2 small bunches
  • 8 green chillies
  • lime-sized piece of tamarind
  • 2 onions or inguva (hing)
    • Hing negates the taste of onion. So they are never used together
    • Onions to be peels and kept whole or cut across the width so as to keep the shape.
  • menthulu (fenugreek) – 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • pinch of turmeric
  • Tadka: aavalu(mustard), mina pappu (urad dal), menthulu(fenugreek), dry red chilli

Method:

  • Wash and chop the thotakura leaves as much as possible.
wash and chop the thotakura

wash and chop the thotakura

  • Add all ingredients except chilli powder and tadka, and cook
mix well, but not too much! :)

mix well, but not too much! 🙂

  • Take care not to mash the onions.
    • In case of cooking in a pressure cook, boil the onions separately. The remaining ingredients can all be put into the cooker.
  • Once the whole pulusu-kura is cooked, Take the onions out and add chilli powder. Mix well.
  • In a tadka pan, heat 1 tsp oil and add the tadka.
  • Once it start popping, add to the pulusu-kura and mix well.
  • Add the onions back and let it cook for a few minutes more.

Serve hot with rice and ghee, and enjoy the burst of flavours! 🙂

 

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Pachi Tomato Pachadi

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On a recent shopping sojourn, I found some raw local tomatoes on sale. I couldn’t believe my luck and proceeded to buy quite a few! I prefer local tomatoes over hybrid because of their taste. Hybrid tomatoes have a kind of flat taste, and it’s just no fun to make anything with them!

The best way to identify the local ones is the shape. Local tomatoes have a round-ish shape, with an emphasized dip at the very tip. Hybrid ones have a flat tip, and are somewhat leaner in shape. I should have thought to take pictures of what I’m talking about, but I was too enthusiastic about using up my bounty. 😉

I’m not overly fond of pachadis, but this one is one of the very few exceptions. The spicy yet tangy taste of this pachi (raw) tomato pachadi makes it special.

Pachi Tomato Pachadi

Pachi Tomato Pachadi

Ingredients:

  • 2 raw tomatoes
  • a small bit of tamarind, washed and set aside to soften
  • 6 green chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • Tadka: aavalu, menthulu, mina pappu, dry red chilli

Method:

  • In a medium-sized wok, roast the raw tomatoes in 2 tbsp of oil till done.
    • You know the tomatoes are done then the skin starts to peel of and the tomatoes themselves have become soft.
  • Add the green chillies and turn them around in the hot oil for a few moments.
  • Set aside to cool down.
  • In a tadka pan, heat some oil and add tadka. Wait till the aavalu pop, and then set aside and add salt.
  • Once everything has cooled down, grind the tadka with the tamarind, turmeric and the green chillies to a fine paste.
    • Do not grind the tomatoes.
  • Peel the tomatoes and mash roughly by hand so as to leave small pieces of the tomatoes but not big chunks.
  • Add the pachadi paste into the tomatoes and mix well.

This is absolutely tasty with rice or dosa.

Sankranti at Home

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Sankranti at Home

Sankranti is a festival that is celebrated across India. This is essentially a harvest festival, and goes by various names depending on the region: Makara Sankranti (most parts of the country 🙂 ), Pongal (Tamil Nadu), Lohri (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), among others. It is the about movement of the Sun towards the Northern Hemisphere, and therefore the onset of Spring/Summer.  In Gujarat and Maharashtra, colorful kites are flown in to honor the Sun God.

Sankranti is also one of the very few festivals that falls on the same day every year: January 14th, with a few exceptions of being on either 13th or 15th.

In Andhra the celebrations extend over 3 days: Bhogi, Sankranti and Kanuma. Each day, every family has its own version of muggu that is made outside their house to showcase the festival.  And as with every festival, each day has its own menu, which includes a variety of spicy and sweet preparations!

Bhogi :

Bhogi

Bhogi muggu

Sankranti:

Sankranti muggu

Sankranti muggu

Kanumu:

Kanuma muggu

Kanumu muggu

 

Here’s what we prepared on Sankranti: Chikkudukaya Kura (bread beans vegetable), Mukkala Pulusu, Utti Pappu (plain Dal), Pongali, Vada, Pacchi Tomato Pachadi, steaming hot rice, fresh sweet curds (yogurt) and ghee (clarified butter). Quite the menu!:)

The Festive Thali!

The Festive Thali!