Sunday, April 30, 2017


Another post from my draft.....

One more week to go to join with family and I already started counting the days here.  This weekend is a long weekend everywhere and I badly miss being at home.   On the weekdays, I was deep diving at work here which keeps me going without missing family.  Also surrounded by some understandable soft nature colleagues who patiently listens to my nonsense stuffs and makes my days lighter.   Weekends are hard to pass by and only my long walks with no real destination are helping me to pass time on the weekends. 

Ahhhh, as I think of work now, some immediate random thoughts are flashing up on my mind now.  I could foresee some changes at work environment and I am getting prepared for it.  I really like the role that I had play and get many learning exposures while interacting with cross functional teams co-located worldwide.  The team I work with feels like a family, everyone here truly respects each other and help each other at work.  During this journey, some of my team mates have turned into good friends.  The paths have changed for some of my wonderful colleagues and I am still in touch with them.  Well, the process changes are inevitable and we should adapt ourselves.  Let's see what's in store for me next...

At home, both DH and Jr. H are enjoying the long weekend.  Home is filled with guests from DH's end, so DH is on full swing mode of enjoyment, taking them for long drives, beaches, malls, film, restaurant.  In fact, I am bit relieved that both of them are enjoying without thinking about my absence, otherwise I would go to a very moody mode worrying about them. 

Not to take too much time about the happenings, let me move further to the recipe.  There are many variations to this dish and I follow the authentic method of my family with a mild twist.  This Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is prepared from ground dhal mixture with red chillies, asafeotida, and salt.  The lentil balls are made out of the ground mixture and cooked in tamarind sauce in slow to medium flame on stove top.  Just to add rich flavor to the dish, I roasted some Indian spices and ground it with coconut and added to the kuzhambu and it tasted out of the world.  

Tool Dhal:  1 cup
Bengal gram: 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 8-9
Salt - To taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Tamarind water (Extracted from soaked tamarind pump) - 4 cups
Sambar Powder -1  tsp
Oil - 4 tsp

To roast and grind:
Asafoetida - small piece (powder could also be used as an alternate)
Red chillies - 5
Bengal gram - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
(Roast all the above items in little oil and grind with 2 tsp of coconut)

To Temper:
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Soak toor dhal+Bengal gram together for an hour.

Meanwhile soak tamarind in warm water for some 15 minutes and extract the tamarind juice from the pulp
Filter the water out from the dhal after an hour carefully and grind it along with red chilly, asafoetida, and salt.  Care must be taken to drain the water completely from the soaked mixture before grinding, otherwise the lentil balls would dissolve while adding to the kuzhambu.  If you feel  the mixture is very solid during grinding part, you can sprinkle little water then and there.  Kindly note the salt is to be added only for the mixture and salt for the gravy needs to be added separately later.  
In a heavy bottomed pan, add oil, throw in a tsp of mustard seeds and when it crackles, add the ground mixture carefully and mix well with a ladle.  After few mins, the mixture would come to a texture where you could sense the moisture from the mixture is left, switch off the stove, allow it to cool for sometime, and make into equal sized balls.
In the meantime, while the mixture is getting cooled, roast the items given in the section to roast and grind with little oil and grind it smoothly with 2 tsp of coconut and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, pour in the tamarind juice, add a tsp of sambar powder and salt.  Switch on the stove and allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes until the raw smell goes off.  Lower the flame, gently add 2-3 the round shaped lentil balls one by one carefully.  When it floats on the top, slowly add the remaining balls one by one.  Do not stir immediately after adding the balls, allow it to cook.   After sometime, you would see the balls start floating at the top, which means it had cooked.  

When you see multiple lentil balls floating, add the ground mixture and stir well.  Let it boil for few more minutes.  Switch off the stove.

Temper the kuzhambu with mustard seeds and curry leaves. 

The gravy/kuzhambu can be mixed with steam rice and can be accompanied with a roasted curry.   

The lentil balls can also be taken as a side dish to the gravy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

PUMPKIN CAPCISUM PULI KUZHAMBU - Colorful and delightful combo

Staying away from home on business assignment and having a short break from my usual activities.  

Sometimes the best therapy that you could give for yourself is to take a break from your regular routine and explore the unexplored things in life.  When I stay away from home, I definitely miss family, that is for sure and there is no doubt in it but I enjoy this solace at times.  There is no rush and compulsion involved now; be it in cooking, getting up early for the regular chores, rushing back home to attend my duties or comfort people by giving a fake smile when going through some hard time.  Here I am all alone,  there is no one to check if I am okay, no one to check how my day was, and living a life with no holds barred.   When I get back home after the short break, I have always observed that I would be fully energetic.  I would be treated special by everyone; DH would make tea for me, Jr. H would keep his books/toys arranged properly in shelf, friends would eagerly be waiting to catch up on the missed fun, family get-togethers,  and a lot and lot more tiny things which I will start seeing newly and maybe these could be some reasons I like to be distant from my routine world at times. 

DH and Jr. H are very cooperative during my travels and they are managing the house perfectly.  I was bit concerned earlier on how Jr. H would manage on settlement in his new school as I would be away from home but to my surprise my little boy is settling very well.  He is gaining popularity among teachers and students by his ever smiling nature.  He is sending me the filled in worksheets and assignments and not to miss his appreciations from teachers.  Thank God, I am quite relieved about it now. 

Moving on to today's post, this is one of a long pending post from draft which caught my eye sight today because I miss eating spicy things here.  Even at Indian restaurants, the feel the hotness is not as like at my home.  I am just satisfying my taste buds by looking at the pictures.  Pumpkin and capsicum compliments each other in color and taste.   The mild sweetness rendered from yellow pumpkin and the crunchy texture from green bellpepper goes very well when cooked in tamarind sauce with flavored spiced powder made from ground Indian spices.

Pumpkin - 200 g (cut in small tiny cubes)
Capsicum/ Bellpepper  - 1 (cut in small tiny cutes)
Tomato -1
Sambar Powder - 2 tablespoon (I prepare homemade powder but can also be brought from Indian store)
Salt  To taste
Tamarind water - 2 cups (Extracted from soaked tamarind pulp)
Oil - 2 tablespoon

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillis - 3 or 4
Curry leaves -few

1.  Soak tamarind pulp in warm water and extract the tamarind juice.  Can also be replaced by tamarind sauce.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and throw in the tempering items one by one followed by cubed capsicum and pumpkin dices.  Later add in tomato, salt, and sambar powder and mix well.

3.  Pour in the extracted tamarind pump, mix well, and let it boil until the raw smell goes and mixture gets thickens. When it boils, mix well with a ladle once in a while so that it wouldn't be burnt at the bottom. 

Can be mixed with rice with a teaspoon of gingelly oil and it would taste yummilicious.