Apr 25, 2007

RCI: Tamil

Lakshmi has introduced RCI, a brand new blog event in which we can get to cook and learn cuisines from all over India. The very first cuisine in the list is one that is beloved to me – the Tamil cuisine.
Tamil cuisine conjures up beautiful memories in my heart. My best friend S is Tamil. We have been friends for over 10 years now and all these years, I have feasted on many delicious recipes cooked by her mom. S would always sigh on finding idlis, dosas, or lemon rice in her tiffin. You see, she used to eat these often. But, we would gladly exchange our tiffins with her. We would be happy when aunty invited us over for food. Never in my life, have I tasted such delicious sambhar, rasam, or dosas. I would freak out and forget how much I devoured. Forget all these yummy dishes; I have never tasted such aromatic coffee in my life. I don’t know what the South Indians add to the coffee, but it is simply amazing. I would patiently wait for the coffee filter to dip out the refreshing coffee. I have been a great fan of Tamil dishes for a long time now.

We keep having regular potlucks here, and the best thing about them is that you get to taste, learn, and know so many new recipes. In one such potluck, I got to taste the traditional Tamil Tamarind Rice and immediately fell in love with it. I loved the tangy taste of tamarind mixed into rice. Luckily, my hands fell upon a very informative book focusing on Tamil cuisine. “A taste of Madras” by Rani Kingman is a wonderful treasure of authentic Tamil recipes. The author starts off by explaining the significance of food in a Tamil household. In her words, “For Tamilians, food is closely related with many customs and beliefs. The kitchen in a Tamilian home, where the preparation and cooking begins, is considered pure and sacred. The cook, who has to wash thoroughly before she starts preparing the meals and may not be touched while cooking, is not permitted to taste any of the food during the course of preparation because it may become polluted.” Now, that’s not happening for someone like me. I keep tasting my dish to see how it is progressing (or digressing).

Tamarind Rice/Puli Satham

1.2 cups water
2.1 cup long grain white rice
3.Salt to taste
4.1 tbsp tamarind
5.2 dried red chillies
6.1 large onion
7.Oil for frying
8.1 tsp mustard seeds
9.½ to 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
10.1 tsp tomato paste
11.Handful of ground nuts

1.Cook the rice.
2.Infuse the tamarind in ¼ cup of hot water. Strain after 5 minutes and set the liquid to one side.
3.Halve the dried red chillies and discard the seeds. Peel the onion and cut into slices.

4.Heat ghee in a kadhai. Add sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Now, add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the dried red chillies, fenugreek seeds, groundnuts, tamarind juice, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and gently stir into the cooked, drained rice.

(Boiling in process)

(A close up snap)

Green Peas with lovage seeds/ Nagapatinam Patani

This is the second recipe I am posting from the same book. Being always on the lookout for quick but different recipes, this recipe caught my eye. At first, I was clueless as to what are lovage seeds. A quick Google search revealed that they are none other than the lovely ajwain seeds. I was enchanted by the beautiful aroma of ajwain wafting through my kitchen. I am also sending this to Nupur as my entry for "N".

1.1 small onion
2.1 tsp garlic paste
3.1 tsp ginger paste
4.2 green chillies
5.2 cups green peas
6.1 tsp lovage seeds (ajwain seeds)
7.½ tsp ground coriander
8.Salt to taste

1.Peel and slice the onion. Deseed and chop the green chillies.
2.Heat ghee in a pan and fry the lovage seeds. Add the onion and fry till slightly golden. Add the ginger and garlic.
3.Next add the peas, ground coriander, salt, and 1 ½ tbsps water. Turn down to low heat and cook till peas are soft. Serve hot with chapattis and morru.

Spiced Buttermilk/Morru

Morru serves as a very refreshing drink and a perfect way to end your dinner. We gulped it down after our meal and soon had buttermilk moustaches:)

1.1 cup buttermilk
2.Oil for frying
3.½ tsp cumin seeds
4.Pinch of asafetida
5.Hint of turmeric
6.Salt to taste
7.2 cilantro leaves

1.Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they pop, add asafetida, turmeric, salt, and cilantro leaves. Cook for a minute or two. Pour the mixture into buttermilk.
2.Serve chilled.

Sending all these to Lakshmi for the RCI event. Thanks Laksmi for introducing this lovely event.


Sharmi said...

hey Swapna, nice mouthwatering entry for RCI. I love pulisadam.

Manasi said...

Hey... I love tamarind rice!! Very nice!! send some over please!!

Sandeepa said...

Hey Green peas with ajwain is a greta idea..and the tamarind rice looks lovely too

Ayesha Seerin said...

Wow . Nice recipes.. I am a tamilian , its a shame i heve never made tamarind rice ...
I will try yours

Ayesha Seerin said...

BTW what is this dining hall blog about ..

sunita said...

Hi Swapna, the tamarind rice looks yummy...I've tasted it at one of my Southie friend's and really liked it...

Sig said...

Wow Swapna, you are making me very hungry, that tamarind rice looks amazing! And moru... yummy...

Anonymous said...

I am totally wondering how the combination of onion goes with tamarind rice. I have not seen so far, may be my awareness is limited. Anyone tried this? I want their comments.