Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stewing in the Heat!

Summers are, among many other things, an opportunity to show off how much we in this (any) city are suffering the most, compared to whoever’s trying to boast of how much they have to endure in their city!

The conversation goes something like this:

Us: Ooh, it’s so hot!
Them: Here it’s torrid! You’re so much better off, look at us!
Us: Why? It’s humid and yucky here, it sticks!
Them: Yeah, but it’s searing, dry heat here, that’s worse!
Us (gripping the phone harder, how dare they assume we suffer any less?): I don’t know, it feels like hell all the same!
Them: Oh, it’s dreadful here, believe me. At least you have the sea breeze!
Us: Huh! That’s a myth! Come here and go out in the afternoon, you’ll find out!
Them: Oh, my place is the worst! Now, if only we were in (so-and-so city), things would have been different!
Us: Hey, it was 43 C here today!
Them: We have power cuts too!
Us: Yeah, well, there’s no telling when we will start having them either! And you have a nice, airy house, we’re cooped up in flats in these cities … (and I can’t even open my kitchen windows as we don’t know when the carpenter will come, he hasn’t even gotten back to us with the estimate for the rat mesh, it’s been a week, the place reeks of cooking, grumble, grumble …)
Them: Ok, ok, what else …

Isn’t this a familiar scenario? We’re always trying to outdo each other in the heat stakes, but life goes on, the heat has to be borne, meals have to be made, events have to be participated in, which brings us to the crux of this post – two stews for RCI-Andhra Pradesh, hosted this month by Latha of Masala Magic.



Colocasia and tamarind are the common ingredients, so if you have half a kilo (about a pound) of the first, you can divide it between both. Stew 1, on the left, is chamadumpala pulusu, and that on the right is a mixed pulusu which includes chamadumpa. If you have some stray and suitable vegetables crying to be used up, this is your dish!

Stew 2

Colocasia/taro root/chamadumpalu – ¼ kg, boiled but not mushy, peeled, cut into roundels
Tomato – 2 medium, chopped
Green banana – 2 medium, boiled but not mushy, peeled, diced (You can also use six okra/ladies finger, halved, but make sure you fry them in Step 2.)
Brinjal/Eggplant – 3-4 small, round ones, quartered (you may put them in water with a pinch of salt till you use them)
Onions – 2, medium, chopped
Green chillies – 4, chopped
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

Tamarind – ½ a fistful (Soak in a cup of water, squeeze about 30 minutes later for the juice, discard pulp – hot water speeds up the process)

Tempering
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 3-4
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Oil – 3 tsp

Coriander leaves – for garnish

1 Heat oil, add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, put in fenugreek seeds and then the onions and the chillies. Fry well.

2 Now add the brinjal, green banana, salt, turmeric, saute, and then let it cook covered, on simmer.

3 When the brinjal is soft, add the tomatoes, continue cooking on simmer, covered.

4 Once the tomato cooks to pulp, add the colocasia, stir, let cook for two minutes.

5 Now add the tamarind juice, let it cook again for a while. You can add water if it’s too thick for your liking.

6 Garnish with coriander.

If it’s too sour, you can add a bit of jaggery at the end.

Now for Stew 1

Colocasia/taro root/chamadumpalu – ¼ kg, boiled but not mushy, peeled, cut into roundels
Onions – 2, medium, chopped
Green chillies – 2, slit
Chilli powder – 1-1/2 tsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

Tamarind – ½ a fistful (Soak in a cup of water, squeeze about 30 minutes later for the juice, discard pulp – hot water speeds up the process)

Tempering
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 3-4
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Dry red chillies – 2, in bits
Oil – 2 tsp

Jaggery – 1-2 tsp
Coriander leaves – for garnish

Heat oil. Temper with the mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies, fenugreek seeds.

Add onions, green chillies and turmeric, fry well.

Put in the colocasia, add the chilli powder and mix.

Now add the tamarind extract and salt. Cook on simmer.

I usually add some jaggery at the end to give it a hint (just a hint) of sweetness, but it’s optional.

Now revel in these stews of your own making!


21 comments:

  1. :-) that converstaion is funny! You're right though! Good entries both the pulusu's.

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  2. Keep it cool girl.We are expecting lot of rain and just dodged a big Hurricane Andrea in the coastal NC.
    Had a fun brunch and lot of shopping and buying plants and flowers,just came back home tired.
    Great entries for Andhra,both look delicious,specially the left side (to me)Stew!:))
    Enjoy and stay in if you can.

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  3. Sra,

    Chamadupala pulusu naku chala istam,meru chesinattu chesatanu nenu kuda, kani ma intlo annikiti jaggery add chestam, koncham sweet ga untadi ma inti pulusul

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  4. hey, this is a nice way to cook taro root/arbi, i'm so used to making a dry subzi out of it! the mix stew looks yummy.

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  5. Enjoyed the conversation. The recipe of both the stews are nice. We also make a stew like the Stew 1,but add a little besan to it. Nice entry :)

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  6. Thanks, Latha!
    Yeah, Asha, the left-side stew photographed better, fewer elements, more gravy, I think.
    Sreelu, memu kooda pulusulannitiki jaggery add chestamu, but I realised it's not standard practice, so I made it optional. I don't like sour pulusu myself.
    Richa, try it, then!
    Thanks Archana. The starch in these vegetables thickens the stew naturally, so we don't use besan - we use it with curd-/milk-based gravies to prevent them from curdling.

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  7. funny conversation!! love to see so many different entries and andhra cuisine is very new to me.

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  8. HAhaha.... I agreee..... everyone wants to show off their sufferrings and be one up !!!

    The stew looks amazing!!!

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  9. its raining cats and dog here and its so dark, gloomy weather:( upon thats its windy and quite cold for begining of summer:( he he he...but i guess i better keep my mouth shut as i can very well imagine how hot it must be back in india:) so take a chill pill girl;) he he he...
    loved both the version of stew. havent tried anything with colacasia yet. i am bit allergic to it and usually get itchiness.

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  10. Reena, I hope to post quite a few more, stay tuned! I love Kerala food myself!
    Coffee, thanks. I still prefer the heat to the cold, though!
    Sia, I read somewhere that if you soak these things in buttermilk for a while, the itch goes off. I tried it once - I didn't get an itch but I got lots of slime. Ugh! Nothing happened this time, all that stewing must have killed the itch!

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  11. Hey, very nice write up!!! Enjoyed reading the conv...and the Gravies look amazing!! :)

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  12. New way for me to cook taro roots... and I've debating which one to try first..

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  13. both the stew look great. but why two when there is lot of similarity? jaggery must have made it taste great.

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  14. LOL! Funny dialogue. So true. ;-)

    Two stews? Wow! Both very good looking and sounding. Yum!

    Paz

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  15. Hi Ramya, thank you!
    Mandira, it's quite a common dish for us.
    Sharmi, I had half a kilo of them and thought just one variety would be too boring, so I divided it between two. There is a slight variation between the recipes, and the mixed one with tomato was not something I'd made before.
    Paz, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  16. ha ha that is funny... but it is still pretty cold here in my nook of the town, so not really going to sympathize with you...
    BTW Sra, love your blog... u are hilarious...

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  17. thanks for the tip sra:) thats the same thing amma told me when i asked her. now i have to look out for some colacasia roots:)
    hope the weather is getting better there:)

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  18. Its so much better at your place Sra, here we are having swell weather :) Funnny writing :)

    You guys eat a lot of Taro Roots, I see. Both sabzis look great shall look into the details again

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  19. Thank You, Sig, you have a bright, lively blog yourself!
    Sia, you don't want to start me off about the weather ...
    Sandeepa, we rarely eat taro root, this was a one-off!

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  20. something really new to me ...the way of cooking taro's ...thks for sharing

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  21. Try it Deepa, it's quite nice.

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