Friday, December 26, 2014

Pulicha Keerai | Pitwa | Gongura | Hibiscus sabdariffa | Sorrel/Roselle leaves

Pulicha keerai thokku
Medicinal benefits
storehouse of iron and calcium; cools the body; cleanses blood; helps to cure constipation - ayurvedichomeremedies
anti-hyperammonemic and antioxidant - nlm
Used against cough, dyspepsia, fever, hypertension, high cholesterol and for stimulating intestinal peristalsis - tropilab
for good skin - alwaysayurveda 

Reached home by Mayiladuthurai express well past 5 am on Christmas and neivedhyam of pongal had to be offered to God before sunrise. Quickly drew kolam, got ready, and offered pongal well past sunrise. Knew thursday was going to be packed, so tried hard to keep my eyes closed in the train most of the night.

Chithi-Chithappa went to Srirangam for special darshan with police escort, entering beyond the ropes near SriRanganAthar, finished darshan in 30 minutes and brought back a big garland of thiruthulAi.

From morning, it was virundhombal for chithi, chithappa. In spite of pleas, they went to temple without lunch and they came only past 2 pm, shopping for their grandkids, nephews, sister.

Dessert and Starter: Semiya jawarisi pAl pAyasam
Vegetable rice
Ghee dAl rice
Side dish: Okra poriyal, Channa sundal, KothavarangAi paruppu usili, Kuppaimeni keerai kootu, VAzhai thandu more kootu, vAzhaipoo vadai, appalam
For mixing: Sorakka sAmbhAr, lemon rasam, curd

Could not make chithi's favourite pulicha keerai and chithappa's favourite sunda vathal kozhambu.

With left over dough after pooris in the morning, it was ajwain roti with paneer mutter sabji for me, idlis with coconut chutney for the elders and empty stomach for mom and periyamma. Chithappa asked, if there was Blue Cross nearby, for a tiny puppy lay breathing its last. After we bid relatives goodbye at night, thinking how to arrange a feeding bottle for the puppy, realized it was already dead. On Wednesday night, a lively brown puppy, almost a twin of this dead puppy, kept so many toddlers in Carmelaram railway station amused with its cute antics and on Thursday, a similar one lay dead so close to home on the roadside. Just so much is life.

Just four people and from morning, four different drinks, coffee for mom, tea for periyamma, boost for my tiny nephew and jaggery milk with ellaichi for me. Made rasagullas and palkova since milk split the first time.
Used to fret earlier when milk got split on Fridays, now its delicious Rasagullas
Yummy Palkova after chenna was taken
Made some random dosa with kalyAna murungai leaves, drumstick leaves mixed in wheat flour batter that mom had kept for a while and normal dosa batter with ridge gourd thugayal and ground chutney.
Drumstick leaves, kalyAna murungai wheat, rice batter dosa

Could not have vadais properly yesterday with guests in batches, so made them again, so that i could savour some.

Chithi wanted pulicha keerai. But could not make it yesterday. So today, it was yummy pulicha keerai. I followed this recipe minus garlic cloves and ground nuts. It was absolutely tasty with roast and ground fenugreek, channa dal, corriander seeds and black gram dal and was so glad on how tasty each dish turned out today. Periyamma did the chopping.

Starter Rasagullas
Side dish: Sorakka moong dal kootu, payir poriyal, peerkangAi thugayal, gongura thokku, appalam, vAzhai poo vadai
Mixing: Sorakka sAmbhAr, milagu thippli rasam, Curd

Didn't know whether to be angry or glad with my 5 year old nephew. Spent 45 minutes searching for my data card after he leflt. Yesterday, i remarked, he is now 5 years old, he was born when guru was in meena and now guru is in kataka/simha retro back to kataka in a while. My brother remarked, he remembered that my nephew was 5 years old, because, he was two years old during my sisters wedding and now it has been 3 years after wedding. My tata photonplus with its blinking blue lights is his favourite. Within no time, the dongle is pulled out of system.

Ajwain mooli parantha, gongura chutney, paneer mutter, payir with rasa gullas
Wanted to take rest on sunday, but as mom started plucking plantain flowers stigma, in addition to manathakAli keerai, in addition to sorakka and knool kol. Decided post 11 am, that marginal efforts for serving guests is insignificant compared to cooking multiple items only for mom. So invited 60+ old swAmy and swAmy amma. Spent nearly 3.5 hours, and i was still making vAzhai poo vadai when they were in and puran poli was still on tava. They left around 5 pm. Exhausted, sleepy and to top it all, could not eat anything beyond poli, wheat jaggery scoops, saltless curd rice, sweet pongal; for sundays are no salt days for me.
Plantain flowers | VAzhai poo, which set the ball rolling

Starters and desserts:
Moong dal pAyasam laced in ghee with coconut and milk and ground ellaichi
Puran poli with moong dal, coconut, jaggery filling
Sweet pongal
Scoops of Wheat fried in ghee with jaggery

Kootu Poriyal:
VAzhai poo black gram vadai
Cauliflower masala fry
Sorakka Moong dal kootu
Kothavaranga paruppu usili
Podalanga channa dal poriyal
ManathakkAli Keerai kootu
Carrot slices
Pulicha keerai thokku
Fresh Mango pickle (not in snap, kept for curd)

Nool kol sambhar
Karamani kAra puli kozhambu  (not in snap)
Pepper long pepper rasam (not in snap)
Fresh creamy Curd (not in snap)

Served in a hurry, for didn't want to keep the guests waiting. However made mom wait for a moment,  to click. Mom got the not so good looking ubattu and guests got the neat ones.

Puran poli | Ubattu with moong dal in wheat base
There goes christmas holidays, tied to kitchen!!! All three nights paneer mutter masala with mooli or methi or plain ajwain paranthas. Emptied 900 gms of ghee in 4 days. 15 days feasting, 15 days fasting. Two sets of dress for waxing and waning phase of moon. Back to pigeonholed matchbox in Bangalore tonight.

VAzhai poo vadai recipe
  • Soak half a cup black gram for 45 minutes
  • Remove the stigma of plantain flowers (medium sized) and chop towards the end
  • Grind blackgram to coarse thick paste, adding curry leaves, pepper
  • Mix chopped plantain flowers
  • Make balls with the above mix, flatten, put a hole and fry in oil
 Pulicha Keerai Thokku Recipe:
  • Roast 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds, corriander seeds, channa dal each separately, till their aromas come in the slowest flame, chilli one or two as per taste
  • Let the spices cool then, Powder the above smoothly or in rava consistency
  • Heat gingely/sesame oil in kadAi, and stir the leaves for less than a minute, till it becomes gluey
  • Let the leaves come to room temperature, then mash rock salt, the ground powder with leaves using a mathu kattai, else, grind it in mixie
Kuppaimeni keerai kootu/ManathakkAli Keerai kootu
  • Finely chop the leaves and tender stems and add tiny fruits of manathakkAli keerai. For any keerai, mom says, if the stem gets snapped effortlessly, then use the stem as well, else discard it
  • Pressure cook moong dal (i always prefer yellow moong dal for all kootu, add some even to sAmbhAr along with thuvar dAl)
  • Use ghee to remove the bitterness of manathakkAli, else oil, let the mustards, curry leaves splutter, 
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida
  • Then stir fry the chopped keerai leaves for a minute or so, till the volume reduces
  • Now add moong dAl water, salt, turmeric, corriander chilli powder as per taste
  • Cover and let it cook in slow flame for 5-10 minutes
  • Add moong dal, take it off flame, add coconut and cumin seeds paste, and mix well
It is the same recipe for sorakka or any other gourds, instead of keerai above.

VAzhai thandu more kootu
  • Chop plantain pith into thin slices and then make tiny cubes and put in immediately into curd to prevent it from turning dark
  • Have yellow moong dal pressure cooked
  • For tadka use coconut oil, splutter mustards and curry leaves
  • Add cut plaintain pith along with curd and let it cook in slow flame with moong water
  • After 5-10 minutes when cooked or when the pith gets crushed between fingers easily, add moong dal and take off flame
  • Add coconut with cumin seed paste, and mix well ( i prefer cumin seeds raw, chithappa likes cumin seed roasted)
VAzhai poo black gram vadai/ or even with kadalai paruppu (channa dal)
  • Soak pulses either plain black gram or plain channa or a mix of the two 
  • Grind it coarsely
  • Remove the stigma of plantain flowers, chop it and add it to the dal paste above
  • Add half crushed pepper, salt, chopped curry leaves and mix everything well
  • Heat oil in kadai, roll the vadai mix into a sphere, flatten them, put a hole in the middle and fry it in oil
Mom has tennis elbow, so we don't grind idli batter, for our grinder is 20 years old heavy weight one. We randomly mix wheat-rice flour, rava, kambu, sollam in varying proportions, add hot water or curd to make varieties of instant dosas. To this mix we can add fresh leaves paste of mudakathAn keerai, kalyAna murungai paste, kuppaimeni, vAta nArayanan or just plain curry leaves paste and make usual dosas laced in ghee

Peerkangai thugayal
  • Roast channa dal and let it cool
  • Chop ridge gourd and fry it in ghee, along with liberal dose of ginger slices with a green chilli as per taste
  • Once everything is cool grind the roasted channa first, then add coconut, curry leaves, ridge gourd and grind coarsely, not too smooth
Ajwain Mooli parAntha:
  • for any poori or chapathi, i add liberal doses of omam ajwain (my kapha bro hates ajwain, while vAta me loves ajwain). Ever since guruji told ajwain with salt is nectar, at times, i chew ajwain rawly and gulp in water.
  • Shred raddish, squeeze the radish juice to the last drop and add it to wheat flour to make dough
  • Stir fry the absolutely dry shredded raddish in oil with ajwain, with turmeric and salt
  • Flatten to make roti, take a spoon full of half cooked raddish dry mix to the center and cover with dough
  • Now reflatten the stuffed dough and fry it like normal chappathi
Milagu Thippli Rasam
  • Grind fenugreek, pepper, long pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves to coarse powder
  • Heat oil in kadai, add these ground spices with asafotida and stir for a minute in slow flame
  • Have some dAl water or plain water with turmeric, corriander seeds, salt ready
  • Add this water to rasam and take it off flames once froth forms at the edges
  • Once warm, squeeze in half a lemon to this rasam, garnish with fresh corriander leaves
March 9th update
Mom had a patch of pulicha keerai which were still 1 feet baby plants when she plucked. Mother's logic was that it won't grow further because of quarters soil (actual reason i feel, is because today is my last day at home).

Today being monday, wanted to make arisi pAl pAyasam, but when i got up to check, after keeping in milk in slow flames to thicken, it became even more tastier kova. This milk is native yellow-red cow's fresh milk. For 4 days, no more packet A1 hybrid milk, but just these 4 days. In PG, we get milk-flavoured white water, that too, if we are lucky, for it gets over by 8 am.
Fresh pulicha keerai from our backyard

Last two gulab jAmuns left (am glad that guests came and helped maintain mom's sugar levels)
Milk kova with jaggery and ellaichi (leave milk in slowest flame with liberal dose of ghee)

Avaraka Mango sAmbhar (broad beans was from our backyard)
nAyurvi chutney (recipe)
Pulicha Keerai thokku
Milagu thippli rasam
Fresh curd

Side dish:
Karunai kilangu
Arisi vathal

Karunai Kilangu recipe:
Pulicha keerai demands karunai kilangu, or raw plantain vAzhaikAi roast, or some root roast

  • Pressure cook karunai kilangu with salt, remove skin and chop into thick slices
  • Heat ghee in thick kadAi
  • Add mustard seeds, curry leaves
  • Keep the slowest and smallest flame
  • Add the chopped karunai kilangu, add salt, turmeric, corriander chilli powder, stir well 
  • Keep it covered for 5 minutes while it gets roasted, stir occasionally
AvarkAi Mango sAmbhar:
  • Pressure cook thur dal and a little moong dal
  • Heat ghee/oil in kadAi, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida 2 pinches
  • Add chopped vegetable, shredded mango along with mango seed, saute for a minute
  • Add salt, corriander-turmeric-chilli powder, mix well
  • Add water and cook with covered lid
  • Once vegetables are cooked, add cooked mashed dAl, take it off flame and add fresh corriander leaves


Lalitha Mani said...

Hi Please post the recipes along when you do the Post. it will be very useful to us. nobody has done a post on Indian Herb foods. if you do it... your blog will be a super Hit.
Expecting a recipe from you.
Thanks in advance,

SS said...


Have added recipes for most of dishes. Have left it out for those common dishes for which internet spews out of 100s of recipes. I always feel, dishes should be prepared as per age group, vata pita kapha combination, timing and seasons. Almost, same ingredients, but spices could vary subtly. So don't stick to this, experiment till your tongue or that of your family members says ok. I like vegetables crunchy, old mom with missing teeth, needs vegetables to be cooked so well, that she does not have to chew them. I prefer ghee, while kapha sis and bro, boycott food if i add ghee. I add ajwain to my paranthas, while sister and brother will run away, if they find even one ajwain in their rotis. So start with these recipes, but don't stick to it, keep experimenting. pAk vidhi is a ritual, a prayer. One size does not fit all. Let me know if you need any other recipe in addition to what i have given above.