One song I have been hearing a lot these days is this.
Its the background score in the movie Guru, when Madhavan lip locks vidya balan. Just one of those very romantic scenes, which are very rare these days, that makes a lasting impression. Maniratnam is indeed the best in India. This piece of info is neither bloody nor shitty. Just a random thing.
Ok this post is about a exotic rare (read as, not to be found any where in the sacred WWW, my way of showing the middle finger to google) recipe.
Its called Puzhi-Illa curry(sans-tamarind curry), a misnomer, its actually a kozhambu(sans-tamarind soup/gravy). I think it has its origins somewhere from Tirunelveli district, mostly from(guessing) Ambasamudram, a small village in the Tirunelveli district, in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, India. I learned this dish from my mom of-course, but it has my improvisations. You won't get these even in any of the south Indian restaurants. Quite possible to find in the messes of Tirunelveli (Just a guess).
Disclaimer: I'm an amateurish cook, albeit passionate one. The recipe is normally spicy, spicy by Indian standards. The final product that comes out is totally yours and I take neither credit nor liability for the same. I'm just a way to get there(author smiles divinely!).
I like my food to be spicy. To be succinct, I like it when I feel the need to drink more water, but the dish is so good I do not want to drink and fill my stomach. Absolutely horrendous for your bowels and your skin and to your health in general but who cares if the taste is worth it.
Whole Black pepper(3 to 4 tsp)
Whole cumin seeds (as much as peppers)
Red Chillies (4 to 6 bulb shaped ones / 6 to 8 long red chillies)
Unsweetened shredded coconut (8 tsps may be)
Ghee to saute. (no butter wont do good!)
Some oil to saute.
mustard and cumin for sauting (pinchfull)
onions 1 (large sized)
tomatoes 2 (medium sized)
Green Chillies (3 small)
vegetable of your choice (I would recommend capsicum or brinjal [1 no.])
Turmeric powder for taste.
Garlic paste (1tsp/ 3 garlic slices)
coriander powder for taste (optional)
Moong dal (1 cup)
SALT TO TASTE.
Boil the moongdal in a pressure cooker with enough water so much so that its a thick syrup when beaten. While that cooks.....
Take a pan, add ghee, let it melt and then add the pepper and cumin seeds(3 to 4 tsps each or may be 5). Follow it with red chillies. When these become sauted, add the shredded coconut. Bend down and smell the pan, you should smell ghee and coconut oil. If you don't, then add the corresponding ingredient until your nose discerns both the flavors distinctly. Do not over saute!. Let it cool when its done.
While its cooling, cut the onions, tomatoes and the elective vegetable. All diced. Slit the green chillies.
Grind the sauted spices in a mixer. Add water like you add a solvent using a burette, slowly and only when needed. Grind it neither too course nor too fine(too fine as in flours). Adding too much water will make it a fine paste and that is not what we want. I like to stop when it resembles a sand and water mix.
Now to saute the cut vegetables. Add mustard to the hot cooking oil, wait for it to splatter, then the cumin seeds. Follow it up with green chillies. Add the garlic paste or the mashed garlic slices. Then saute the onions. Once the onions turn sorta transparent (if its red onion) or golden brown(if its a white onion), add the tomatoes and the elective vegetable. Then add the coriander powder(2 tsps). My mom wont add this. Nor she would add the garlic. Cover the pan and let it cook it simmer. Mix occasionally. Cook until the raw smell of the ingredients goes away.
By this time, the moong dal would have been done. Open it, beat it and transfer it to an cooking bowl. Add the possibly half cooked vegetables to the dal. Add the ground paste. Mix well and let it cook, until the elective vegetable is well cooked. ADD SALT TO TASTE. Add water if you feel its too thick or let it boil if you feel its too watery. Its usually much thicker than the standard Sambhar. It looks a dark brown thick grainy liquid. Edible though.
This serves 3 to 4. Depends on the spice consumption capability of the devourers.
This is best served with boiled rice and a curry/side dish with a tinge of tamarind in it. I add tamarind water to the curry when I make it along with this exotic dish.
I prefer brinjal curry with this. Unbeatable combo! Have fun eating it.
Follow it up with a serving of curd rice or lassi (chaas). You will need it, lemme tell you that.
This is neither bloody nor shitty. But the thing that comes out next day morning sure is both!
Hence my title. Tada.
P.s I make it spicy, you can play around with the green chillies, pepper and red chillies. I want you all to enjoy this and not consult a gastro-blah-blah-ist. So please try it and lemme know how it turned up. If you feel, the title is not so apt, yay, that was my intention, hide it from google! May the most patient food lover searching for the most rarest exotic south Indian dish ever, get to read this. Of-course you are a lil more privileged!