There are things that sometimes you wish you can do better…Take cooking as an example, especially if you are making one of mom’s specialities. My mom was here last year to take care of lil R and me, and N just became a fan of amma’s cooking from her thick morekozhambus to authentic pulikaichai(tamarind rice mix) to picture perfect kai murukkus. So these days when I make the classic combination of parupusili and morekozhambu, he gives me a look which translates to “why does this taste so different”?
It is quite tough to get one full recipe out of amma, she has lots of tricks- say “It needs oil, It will take time to cook, You girls(me and my sis) cook better than how I used to cook etc etc.” I thought this was the case with just my mom but my cousin PR who was visiting us said the same about her mom and her specific recipes. She proudly told me that when she went home for vacations she just got hold of her mom and ordered her to instruct step by step while PR made it..Good point you see, now mom’s cant escape Since amma is in India now the only thing I could do was to literally beg her for her secret recipe over the phone.
Straight to the recipe then!
For the Parupusili: (Serves 3-4)
Chana dal- 3/4 cup
Toor dal 1/2 cup
Red chilies 2-3 (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
Grated coconut- 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder-1/8 tsp
Oil- a very generous 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few
Asafoetida- 1 pinch
Vegetable of your choice: Beans or Cluster beans(guwar) or cabbage or plantain flower or spinach- I used cluster beans- about a cup.
Wash and soak both dals in water for atleast 30 minutes. Drain the water completely and then blend them to a coarse powdery paste(!!) in a blender along with red chilies, salt and coconut.
Chop the beans(fine chopping is not required).
In a greased idli plate, place the chopped beans and the ground dal paste. Just like idlis let it cook in steam for 10 minutes. Let it cool down.
Then, take the steamed dal paste from the steamer/cooker and just pulse it once or twice in the blender. This is so that the lumpy dal gets broken down into fine particles making the stir fry crispy.
Let the steamed beans be as it is.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when it splutters add curry leaves and asafoetida. Now add the powdered cooked dal and stir fry on a medium low flame for a good 7-10 minutes till it gets light golden brown in color.
Then add the steamed beans and stir fry it on a low flame for another 5-7 minutes adding salt(check and add salt if needed) and turmeric powder. Do not add water to cook the beans. To skip that step we already steamed it in the cooker!
Keep mixing the beans and the dal powder for another minute or two- now it looks like the typical parupusili right? 😉 Switch off. But do not cover the pan- if you have a netted lid use it or else the water from the lid will drip and make the parupusili soggy!
Just re-heat it on low flame again before serving to retain the crispness of the dal and vegetables.
The perfect combo for this is Morekozhambu. I made pumpkin morekozhambu to go with it, if you see the kerala type morekozhambus(or kootans as they call it), it just uses lots of coconut, chilies and jeera. The Tamilnadu style morekozhambu needs some dal to give it the thickness and the taste.
Pumpkin Morekozhambu:(Serves 3-4)
White Pumpkin(Winter Melon)- about 1/4 cup- cubed
Salt- to taste(about 3/4 tsp)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Well whisked yogurt- 1/2 cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
mustard seeds and Jeera(cumin seeds)- 1/4 tsp each
Hing- A generous pinch
Soak and grind to a thick paste:
Chana dal- 1/4 cup
Toor dal- 1/4 cup
Jeera- 1 tbsp
Green chilies(or red)- 2-3
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Coconut- 1/4 cup
Peppercorns- less than 1/4 tsp (Use only if you need more spice other than chilies).
Soak the ingredients given to grind for 15 mins (minimum) and grind all the ingredients given in list 3 to a thick and smooth paste.
Whisk the water, yogurt, salt, turmeric powder and the ground paste together(without lumps). Heat oil in a pan and mustard seeds, when it splutters add jeera, when it sizzles add curry leaves and Hing.
Add the cubed pumpkins and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the flame and carefully pour the yogurt mixture into the pan. Do not let it boil, but simmer on low flame till you can see bubbles. Switch off(the more it cooks, the yogurt mixture will curdle).
Serve morekozhambu with parupusili, hot steaming rice, ghee and some papad. Heaven on a plate
Other combinations that I learnt from amma is ennai katrikkai curry, that is another awesome combo for morekozhambu. You can also make plantain podimas, aloo curry with coconut, achari aloo or stuffed whole okra stir fry to go with morekozhambu.
Since both these dishes are made with lentils, I am sending them off to Susan’s MLLA, edition 45 is hosted this month by Girlichef.