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Malabar spinach – Another andhra delicacy

When I was preparing this dish today, it suddenly occurred to me why I had not blogged about this recipe.. It is in the top 5 of Ravi’s favourites and a typical andhra preparation. These days I dont cook much for myself. Its either kichdi with some veggies or soup and veggies as I am trying to get on a diet.  I am not forcing Ravi to do the diet thing with me – its a sheer torture for him given his work load and study load. I added a handful of spinach to my soup for lunch and prepared bachalakoora for him for dinner.

Greens are little heavier on the digestive system so at my home in India “No greens for dinner “. I dont remember my mother ever serving any kind of greens for dinner.  Naturally even now I refrain from eating greens at night. 

This spinach preparation is very interesting. Usually the tamarind added to any curries is ripe ones but for this dish raw tamarind juice is added. Raw tamarind unlike the ripe ones cannot be deshelled.  So it is crushed with the shell and made into a coarse paste with salt and stored.  Just before using a tablespoon of the paste is diluted in water and the extracted juice is strained of any shells and added to the spinach curry.

Malabar spinach is the indian variety of spinach – very different from the actual spinach we get here in US. Its leaves are broader, thicker and slimy. The berries of malabar spinach are violet/indigo in color – we used to crush the berries and use it for April fools’ day –

See here for the image and more information

Three cups chopped malabar spinach
Four green chillies chopped
half an onion chopped
Juice of one tablespoon raw tamarind paste (Optionally use regular tamarind paste )
Oil – 2 tbl
half cup – Boiled channa dal ( half boiled )
Turmeric half tsp
chilli powder two tsps
For seasoning – Mustard, cumin – half teaspoon each

Heat oil and when the oil is hot add mustard.
When the mustard splutters add cumin, green chillies and onions.
Saute for a few minutes.
Add chopped spinach and saute for 5 minutes. Spinach cooks in its own water.
Seperately boil half cup channa dal for 5 minutes
Strain the water from the channa dal and add the dal to the sauteing spinach
Add juice from the tamarind
Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder
Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed.

Raw tamarind

Raw tamarind paste

Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach with Channa dal

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Andhra Cooking, Everyday food, High Fibre | 1 Comment

Jonna kudumulu – Andhra Corn Tamales

Corn is a popular grain used in Indian villages. I think the use of corn is fast fading away from Indian Kitchens. Mokkajonna Kudumulu is one corn preparation famous in Telangana border regions and very nutritous breakfast. I googled for more details about Kudumulu – but could not find any. Have you heard about mokka jonna kudumulu ?I have never heard of it until I knew Ravi. I personally have been able to appreciate andhra cooking as done at ravis’ home as much as I devour my moms’ cooking. Sans the spicyness ofcourse.Before marriage, I thought there is not much difference between Tamil and Andhra household. But there is an amazing array of differences. Andhra – I find is heavily influenced by aryan culture and Tamilnadu deep into dravidian culture. I found this underlying difference in all the traditions, customs and habits of the Andhraites.Culinary-speak – Tamilians start with sambar and end with buttermilk. Telugus start with powder/pickles/ chutney, dals and finish off with thick curds. Any veggie curries or sautes’ are mixed with rice before starting on the liquid course. Ofcouser sambars, charu and rasam is still enjoyed – but I discovered its very impolite to pour sambar over rice for the first course. For Tamils it will be impolite if its not done that way !!! Tamilians love all that is diluted and easier to pass thro the oesophagus.Another culinary tradition I was surprised is – Puliyohara or Tamarind/Lemon Rice. For Telugus, its like an important dish in parties or when you have guests at home. On the other hand people from TN find it very rude to serve tamarind/lemon rice because its said to be made with left-over rice.

So at my household, if ravi absolutely loves a dish, I do an andhra preparation. If I absolutely love a dish its done as per my moms way. Same goes for festivals too – I make it a point to celebrate Ugadi and Tamil New Year so neither of us feel missed out.

All this is based on my personal experiences and not generalization in any way. Coming back to mokkjonna kudumulu – Mokkajonna means corn and kudumulu refers to a steamed dish. Though the name may be really difficult to pronounce the actual dish is very very easy. Fresh corn is ground without any water and steamed in the corn husks. Corn idlis anyone ??

For RCI-Andhra, Ravi and I prepared this dish with frozen corn that we get here in US but it did not come out right. Its because of the water content in the frozen corn.

When I went to India Ravis’ mom prepared this dish for us to show how it is to be done. The recipe is darn simple. Just grind the corn without any water to make a paste. Take a big blob of the paste onto a cleaned corn husk and make a patty out of it. Pile up the husks randomly. Alternatively it can also be done in a idli steamer.

Tastefront, its not soft like a tamale, but much more firmer and harder than idlis. It just tastes little bit bland with the natural sweetness of corn. Like the taste of ragi mudda. Just basic but very comforting. And the side dish determines the kind of taste for the dish. Eaten with sugar it tasted like dessert, with fish curry it would be savoury. For reasons beyond my brain, its eaten with Ridgegourd curry. I personally did not like the combination. I would rather have it with sugar. Or probably pickle or fish curry.

Dry indian yellow corn

 
ground corn 
arranged in the corn husks
Thank you Sailu, for coming up with Taste of India. Really appreciated when FBD is going down.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Andhra Cooking | 9 Comments

Nellikai Pachadi – Gooseberry Thokku

Call it thokku, pachadi, chutney. I tried gooseberry pachadi today and pleased with the results. We have run out of home-made pickles that comes from India. I referred to Jeyashree’s Recipe and Indira’s recipe .
As you all know by now, I suck at write ups. So here is the result in pictures.

Three pounds of frozen gooseberries. For information about gooseberry refer wiki


roasted cup of red round chillies, tablespoon of fenugreek and 5 tablespoons mustard – Cool and grind this in a coffee grinder – (Spice mix powder)


Gooseberries steamed in idlicooker for 10 mins


Remove seeds and grind into a paste


Heat a cup of oil, Add slices of 10 garlic. Add the gooseberry paste and a teaspoon of turmeric

Add the spice powder, 4 tblsp salt and approximately 1 cup of sambar powder. Continued to saute for 30+ minutes. Then add quarter cup oil seasoned with two tablespoon mustard.

Cooled and bottled.

Disclaimer : The quantity are approximate. I kept adjusting the sambar powder and salt until I got the right taste.

January 20, 2008 Posted by | Andhra Cooking | 8 Comments