When I came back from home, I bought a lot of curry leaves. It is not what I had intended. Mattamma – my maternal grandmother – has a lovely curry leaves tree in her plot, and even umma gets her dose from her. She asked me if I wanted some, so I told her, I would but very little. What she sent with my cousin was a big pack with a lot of curry leaves! I simply loathe the curry leaves we get here, they smell so artificial! The ones we get from home – not from the market, but made at home – smells so heavenly that you could sit with it for hours just enjoying the aroma…
For this month’s Shh Cooking Challenge which is coordinated by Mayuriji, the state in question was Tamil Nadu – the place of dosas, idlis, vadas, sambars and some awesome chutneys! Even though it is much more than that, I guess a trip to Tamil Nadu is all about having these in authentic flavors. We had gone to Chennai a couple years ago and for the two days we stayed, we literally ate masala dosas, vadas and idlis three times a day and totally ended up licking our fingers! But as I said, Tamil cuisine is so much more than that – it has a plethora of vegetarian options, like the sadams, the kuzhambus, etc, that will get you into a salivating mode while just looking at the pictures… hehe… In fact, I must say that it is the number of Tamil bloggers that has got me intrigued by this cuisine, which I am yet to try in large scale, but dominates my Pinterest boards… But don’t think that it is only vegetarian food that gets served. The Chettinad diaspora and the Muslim community has added their own delicious non-vegetarian twist, making the cuisine something worth trying…
OK, so you must be wondering what is the connection between the first paragraph and the second? I am teamed with Swati, who blogs at Food Trails, for the first time for this challenge. We had a warm chat and she gave me a couple of super simple recipes that can be turned anyway – rice and salt. I have already made a few rice recipes that are a part of Tamil cuisine:
While trying to figure out what next I would make, the pack of curry leaves flashed into my mind. So it had to be Kariveppilai Sadam – which just means curry leaves rice.
Pre-cooked rice is tossed up in an aromatic powder made of toasted curry leaves and some more ingredients, and then finally a simple tadka in ghee is done. It is said to be a favorite lunch box dish. Of course, it has to! You can cook the rice and do the podi that goes into the rice the night before. All you need to do is to the spluttering, and toss up the rice and the podi in that pan. I can’t explain how beautiful my kitchen was smelling as I made this. I wasn’t expecting my kids to like this and yes, they didn’t. 🙁 HD enjoyed it with the chicken fry I made, though he wished there was curry along with it, despite me serving it with some yogurt and pickle on the side. Even though I had leftovers, I spread it around the next couple of days and finished it. I actually tossed it up it lots of yogurt and it was super delicious. As we move onto the recipe, do check out what Swati cooked up with the ingredients I provided her… 🙂
- 1½ cup basmati rice, cooked till el dente
- FOR ROASTING:
- 1 cup loosely packed curry leaves
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp chana dal
- 3 dry red chilli
- 1 tsp oil
- FOR TEMPERING:
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 10-15 cashewnuts
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add all the ingredients under "for roasting" and roast them till the curry leaves become crispy. Allow it to cool and powder in a grinder till smooth.
- In a large saucepan, heat ghee. Splutter the mustard seeds and briefly fry the nuts.
- Add the rice and all of the ground curry leaves powder and toss well to coat evenly.
- Serve hot with raita and pickle, and any side of your choice.