Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vendakka Kichadi

Sunday Meal:
Vendakka Kichadi, Chavli-Tondlichi Bhaaji, Phulka, Rice and a new dessert.


Vishu is just over, I wished everyone at Aadiriyedath a happy new year. I've had Konnapoovu as my wallpaper the last whole week, my friend Seema was excited to see it on my laptop. The mood stayed and the weekend saw Kerala influenced meals.

This time I bought 1/2 kg of lady's fingers from the neighborhood Reliance Fresh. I wanted to stir fry them as we both love it. Then I remembered reading on Indian Food Rocks about Okra Kichadi from Ammini Ramachandran's book Grain's, Greens and Grated Coconuts.

Khichadi...na ..na...Kichadi everyone blundered. Taste it once and it will remain registered in your mind permanently as Kichadi. Seema loves to teach me Malayalam, so am sure she would have stressed Vendakka kichadi, Anjali.

I loved the Vendakka Kichadi. The flavor of pungent mustard sweeps your senses. As you get used to it and find the pieces of red chili smoked in the seasonings and you naturally tease it to bring out the red juices the kichadi takes a deeper dimension of a complex flavors as you mix it in with the hot steamed rice. I have seen very few recipes with character as the Okra kichadi with just the mustard, curry leaves, red and green chilies that make it so wonderful that you enjoy every morsel of rice blended with it.

I think the Bengalis will find the taste like home as they too use mustard as a dominating ingredient in their food. Whereas for a Maharashtrian it might take a bit of getting used too and will enjoy only if the mind is open. As a food blog writer I am not going to say no to anything as long as it is vegetarian. That's why I tried this one. Now you have two Marathis recommending it.

Some Malayalis outside Kerala are stuck on curd rice. Shame on them! ;)



Making here a log of the recipe and the things I did differently.

Ingredients

I halved the original recipe so here are proportions I used.

2 cups okra/ Vendakka - sliced to get the star shaped Okra, I used 15 nos.
2 cups freshly grated coconut - I used 1 cup
1 tbsp mustard seeds- I used 2 teaspoons but next time I think 1 would be enough for the halved recipe.
3 or 4 Thai green chillies or serrano peppers- Used 2 Indian green chilies
1 cup plain yogurt- retained 1 cup of curd to get more gravy.
Ammini's recipe suggests 1/2 tbsp oil - I skipped this.
salt to taste

For seasoning

1 tbsp oil - I used 2 tablespoons
1 tsp mustard seeds - retained this
1 dried red chili, broken into two pieces - used 2 nos.
12-15 fresh curry leaves

I cut up the Vendakka into stars measured in the cup it gave me a really heaped cup. Kept aside.

Meanwhile heated 2 tablespoons oil in a wok. Spluttered the 1 teaspoon mustard. Added the red chilies and curry leaves into the oil. Then in went the sliced starry starry Vendakka. Fried them nicely on high heat. They behaved themselves, no oozing just a bit browning and retaining their self respect. If fried more could have passed of a Bhendi stir fry with chapati. But then I had other plans.
So went ahead and blended the mustard seeds, curd, green chilies, grated coconut. Got a nice paste that was white with freckles of the mustard seed skin and a yellowish ting. Then added this paste to the fried Okra. Washed the blender jar clean of the paste and added the washings to the wok. Let is simmer for a while about 10 mins.

Adjusted the salt and tasted. I was unsure how it would taste. I loved the taste. No changes required, my taste buds were won over instantly. Thanks Ammini for the recipe and Manisha for featuring it.
In anticipation of the meal, I went around doing other things like making Phulkas, Pressure cooking rice and Chavli-Tondlichi Bhaaji. With so much done we wanted a desert too so experimented on that. Today's meal was something we enjoyed a lot for its diverse and distinct flavors.

Watch out for some posts that just might interest you as much as it interested me in the experiments in My Kitchen Lab.

5 comments:

  1. Happy new year dear. Ammini's post inspired me to try the okra pachadi as well. I like the crosswise pieces you've made so much better than the slit okra I used.

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  2. Happy new year to you! The starry vendakka look cute:)

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  3. Tried this 2day and turned out really good.

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  4. Yay one more fan of the kichadi Ammini! Thanks Rekha.

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  5. We make a similar dish Vendaikkai Morkuzhmabhu in Tamil cuisine. It is much simpler but tastes about the same. For the base green chillies,red chilies,coconut and jeera are made into a paste.We mix that with sour curds,turmeric, salt and curry leaves. Tadka is mustard seeds,methi seeds and red chilli.Cook the mixture while stirring constantly on medium heat until the you have one boil and switch off. Fry Vendaikkai sliced, in oil till crisp and add it to the mixture. Morkuzhambhu is ready!

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