Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yellow 'Sambar'

s soon as I noticed that FIC at Sunshinemom's Tongueticklers is going yellow this month as a tribute to the Spring season, I knew what I would post: my daughter's most favourite curry after the quintessential South Indian Sambar, which she calls Yellow 'Sambar.' The main reason that she loves this curry is because it has her most loved vegetable in it, okra/ lady finger/ bhindi/ vendaykka.

While everyone in my family knows this curry by the name 'Moru Curry,' and we do have different versions of this curry with different vegetables, I have also started calling this curry Yellow Sambar now. At home, me and my brothers always loved to have this curry with rice/ dosa/ puttu, and still do! Since my mother is with us for a few days, A was lucky to have this curry made by Amma, her Ammamma.

What always amazes me is the fact that this curry acquires its yellow colour only because of the little bit of turmeric/ haldi/ manjal powder that is added to it. Devoid of it, I would not have been posting this now!

(I had some raw manjal and dried turmeric sticks, and wanted to take a picture of them for this post!)

To make the Yellow 'Sambar'/ Vendaykka Moru Curry seen in the pictures, you will need:

Vendaykka - cut into cubes - 1 cup
Tomatoes - chopped - 2
Onions - chopped - 1
Coconut - grated - 1/2 cup
Ginger - peeled and pounded - 1 tbsp
Green chilly - 1 or 2 - sliced
Buttermilk - 2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste


  • In a heavy bottomed pan, boil the chopped onions, tomatoes, okra, green chillies along with salt and half the turmeric powder in half cup of water, and leave to cook covered
  • Grind grated coconut, cumin seeds, ginger and remaining turmeric to a smooth paste and mix well with buttermilk (you can just run them together in a large jar on the mixer)
  • When the vegetables are cooked (ensure that the okra pieces are not over-cooked and don't worry about them getting stikcy/slimy, they don't!), add the buttermilk with the coconut paste, stir slowly over low flame
  • Just when the curry begins to bubble, take it off the heat and stir a little more (if the heat is more, the curry might curdle)
  • Heat oil in a tadka pan, splutter mustard seeds along with curry leaves and season the curry
Serve with hot rice/ dosa/ puttu

The Vendaykka Moru Curry/ Yellow Sambar goes to FIC - Yellow at Sunshinemom's Tongueticklers

Friday, January 23, 2009

White Chickpeas Curry

White chickpeas are a favorite at home, much more than the desi black chana. I have previously posted Masala Chana and Kootu Curry, both with black chickpeas. White Chickpeas Curry, as seen in the picture, is prepared very often to go with chapatis at dinner or with dosa/ puris in the morning.

To prepare, you will need:

White chickpeas - 2 cups
Tomatoes - chopped - 3-4 large
Onions - chopped - 2 medium sized
Ginger - chopped and pounded - 2 tbsp
Garlic - chopped and pounded - 2-3 cloves
Note: you may use about 3-4 tsps of ginger garlic paste, if not using fresh ginger and garlic
Curd - 1/2 cup fresh (not very sour)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 2 tsp (add more if you prefer hot)
Roasted Jeera/ Cumin seeds powder - 1 tbsp
Roasted Coriander seeds powder - 2 tbsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - chopped, for garnishing
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste


  • Soak the chickpeas overnight/ 5-6 hrs and cook in pressure cooker for two whistles
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onions, ginger, garlic and stir well
  • Add the chopped tomatoes once the onions are done, and cook covered for 2-3 minutes
  • Mix the turmeric, red chilly, jeera, coriander powders along with a little salt and leave covered on low flame for 5 minutes until tomatoes are cooked
  • Add the chickpeas and stir well adjusting the consistency with little amount of boiled water
  • Mix the curd and garam masala with salt to taste and cook on low flame for 3-5 minutes
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Serve with hot phulkas/ chapathis/puris/ dosa

Everytime I wanted to participate in the very popular event for the love of legumes, I ended up missing them. This time, I decided to post as soon as I noticed that the Seventh Helping of My Legume Love Affair is being hosted by Srivalli at Cooking 4 all Seasons.

This event is the brain child of The Well-Seasoned Cook Susan, and you can view the host line-up here. This curry is my entry to the My Legume Love Affair, Seventh Helping event.

Update: Thanks to Madhuram of Eggless Cooking, I am sending this curry to the JFI Chickpeas event hosted at Sometime Foodie this month.

JFI is a monthly online food event focusing on natural and Indian ingredients started by Indira of Mahanandi.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Banana Flower Thoran

A lot of things have kept me busy over the past few weeks. After a wonderful vacation to Coorg and Mysore, I returned home tired but happy that the first couple of days of the new year was spent traveling and enjoying places, food, and the company of some wonderful people. Unfortunately, most of the things that kept me busy after returning, and in the last two weeks, happened to deal with sickness - first me, then Amma, and then A. When the new year begins on a 'sick' note, you start feeling apprehensive and do not feel like doing much, not to mention blogging! Now that things are gradually getting back to normal, I wanted to post something different from the usual vegetables that I cook. Before I go on, let me wish all my blogger friends and readers a very Happy New Year 2009, and belated Happy Pongal/ Sankranthi.

The Banana Flower (also called Banana Blossom) or 'Vaazha Koombu' as I know it, can be used to make curries. As a child, I never liked it, but as I grew up I realized it is very healthy and is considered to have medicinal properties in Ayurveda. Amma always made Koombu Thoran (a dry curry) from the blossoms in our garden, and after moving to the city, I buy this vegetable whenever I find it in the market.

To make the Banana Flower Thoran seen in the picture below, you will need:

Banana Flower/ Vaazha Koombu - 1
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Red Chillies - 3-4 depending on taste
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Raw rice - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cury leaves - 1 strand
Oil - 1-2 tbsp
Salt - to taste


  • Peel the top layer 'petals' on the flower, remove the flowers seen inside, and chop them separately
  • Start chopping the vegetable into thin shreds from the narrow edge
  • Once the entire vegetable is chopped, rinse it in a bowl with turmeric and salt, and drain the water as much as possible (This is done in order that the vegetable does not oxidise and turn black immediately, and also to remove the sticky texture)
  • Heat a large flat pan, and cook the vegetable on low flame keeping it covered
  • Stir in between after adding salt, and mix in the grated coconut when the vegetable is fully cooked
  • Heat oil in a tadka pan, add rice and mix well until goden brown, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chillies
  • Season the dish with this, and mix well while on low flame

Note: Cutting the banana flower can sometimes be messy, so you can try chopping cross-sections first through the entire length of the flower and then cutting into thin shreds. Add red chilly powder if the taste of the red chillies is not 'hot' enough.

Serve hot with rice/ chapathi