Monday, September 25, 2006

Nimmakaaya Kaaram (Lemon Zinger, do we call it?)

Some mornings, idlis or dosas for breakfast would be accompanied by this kaaram. As the years passed, I left home, the cook took over from Grandmom, this recipe got lost, or maybe it so happened that it was never made when I was around. I only remember the lemony taste and grainy texture, which I thought came from poppy seed but as it turns out, comes from a bouquet of ingredients that doesn’t have any poppy seed in it.

What you need:
Juice of five lemons
Channa dal/Bengal gram: 1 tbsp
Urad dal/Black gram: 1 tbsp
5 red chillies
Fenugreek/methi: ½ tsp
Mustard seed: ½ tsp
Curry leaf/karivepaku: A loose fistful
Gingelly (Sesame) oil

Fry everything except lime juice and salt in oil. Allow it to cool. Grind to a paste. Add lemon juice and salt. I think this can even be made with citron (dabbakaaya) juice. For variations, you can add coriander leaves or crushed garlic, I suppose at the time of frying, I’m not sure, really. I added curry leaves as an afterthought. It is a good accompaniment to rice and most traditional South Indian breakfasts but am sure it will taste good on other bland stuff, or rather, food that doesn’t have too many flavors in it already, such as bread. Let me know when you try.

PS: This is my contribution to the You Can Feed a Hungry Child Campaign


  1. NOOO!! we call it kaaram as it should be! :))) Love kaarams thanks to Meena K who introduced me to it, another is always welcome!! Thank you so much!!

  2. SRa,this sounds too good for hot & spicy kaaram lovers.can imagine it's taste with Idli and dosa.

  3. This is totally new to me, but i am almost 100 % sure that i am going to love this. Thank you for the recipe, will be trying it out soon.

  4. Can imagine how hot and sour this recpie might be.
    Also want to know, how long this can be stored?
    Thanks for sharing this recpie.

  5. That's a wonderful authentic recipe contributed for a noble cause, Sra.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  6. Hyderabadi, thanks for stopping by. Just today, I rescued it from the refrigerator - all of three months old - and it had caked but still smelt good. I threw it away, though, didn't want to take any chances, but to answer your question, I really don't know. It's not meant to be a long-term dish.
    Sailu, I had even forgotten about it for years, can you believe it? Good I remembered, thanks to the blog!