Inviting you all to Viki's kitchen in facebook too. Also welcoming you all to visit my arts and hobbies page in facebook.. Have a nice day !

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Seppan kilangu roast

Before the fancy entry of noodles and parotta into the small towns of Tamilnadu,  whatever food that is cooked for lunch would be served for dinner too.  Most of the days would be veg days in Tamilans house and rice with sambar or some other curry is the primary food. Though green veggies like okra or green beans and spinach would be the side dish during lunch, mothers would hide some root vegetables like potato , senai kilangu (elephant yam) and Seppan kizhangu (arbi) in the pantry for their fussy loved ones. These kind of veggies can be stored even in Indian weather (at room temperature) for a week to month. So these would come handy, if the vegetable curry made for the lunch was not sufficient for dinner. This seppan kilangu roast is one of our most favorites and so I too make it at least once month.

This is one of the popular ways to cook arbi in South Indian cuisine. Try this and let me know, how your family loves this !

Seppan kilangu / cheppan kilangu (Tamil) means colocasia or taro root(English), Arbi (Hindi).

1/2 lb Seppan kilangu before cooking (@ $1.39 /lb 2017)

Boiled arbi is cubed.

After the tempering, add the masala powders and cook for few seconds.

Arbi added to fried masala

Mix well

Hot and spicy arbi roast is ready !

Seppan kilangu 4 or 5 - 250 gms
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
fennel (sombu) - 1 tsp
curry leaf - few
salt - to taste
Masala powders:
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Rinse the arbi thoroughly to remove all dirt.
Put it in a vessel and add water enough to cover. Boil for at least 10 minutes. The arbi should be parboiled (not soft). Put in cold water and it would be easy to remove the skin.
Chop into small cubes. Keep aside.
Put all the masalas mentioned in a bowl and keep ready.
Heat oil in a wok and add fennel. After the fennel gets mild red, add curry leaf. Then add the masala powders and fry in low heat for few seconds.  Add the cubed arbi. Stir well. If needed sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered for 2 minutes.
Switch off.
Arbi roast is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with dal rice or sambar rice or curd rice.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aiyirai meen kulambu

Ayira meen (Tamil அயிரை மீன் ) is a variety of river fish (fresh water fish , especially paddy fields or ponds) , that we used to enjoy in Tirunelveli. At that time, this fish would come to the market around evening only (market means, the local vendor who used to come by bicycle). I have never seen this in Chennai. Though everything is available anywhere nowadays, this ayira meen kulambu can be found in other cities too. This ayirai fish is a speciality of Tamilnadu and I am not sure if anyone other than Tamilians would have heard of this.

My amma used to tell me that , this fish season occurs during the beginning of summer in Madurai (when the lakes dry and the fishes and brinjal would come in auction). During summer (at that time) they used to clean the ponds and the rain water gets collected afresh when it rains and would feed the entire city.

Amma had a house help called Padarathi amma. She had shown us the process of cleaning this fish. I am not a fan of looking at live food. So I request my readers to browse and find the videos on cleaning this ayira meen.

Ayirai meen literally lives in mud there. So it has to be forced to spit the mud from their mouth (may be a tale , I don't know if it is true). So the live fish would be put in milk and let for 30 minutes and within that time , it is believed that they loose all the mud.

Luckily I bought a well cleaned ayirai meen (not fresh) that was farm raised from an Asian store in my area. I didn't go through that cleaning process (I won't and I can't, but this curry tastes amazing, if someone prepares this for us ....ha ha).

My hubby never likes tiny fishes :) So I got a small scoop (1/2 lb) of this for $2.99 / lb.

I have read somewhere that , this curry is actor Kamal's favorite and he would have this fish curry along with idli dosai, during his South Tamilnadu visits. So I too made this one evening , had it with rice and the next morning enjoyed it with dosai :)

Ps: My recipe is a no-tamarind one. This is how we prepare fresh water (tiny) fish in my native. This version is recommended in native health recipes.
Ayira meen

ayirai meen kulambu
Aiyirai meen kulambu with dosai

Ayirai meen - 1/2 lb (200 gm approx)
Tomato - 2
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
coconut oil  or sesame oil - 1 tbsp 
fennel (sombu) - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 2 sprig
green chillies - 2 (slit)
salt - 1 tsp (add to taste)

To grind:
Coconut (shredded) - 1/2 cup
Shallot - 3
cumin - 1/2 tsp
black pepper - 1 tsp
green chilly - 2 (increase as per taste)

Wash and clean the ayirai meen as per need to remove any sand or impurities. Keep aside.
Grind coconut, shallot, green chillies, black pepper, cumin together to a fine paste.
Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil or sesame oil in a wok. Fry the fennel seeds to red. Now add the curry leaves along with chopped tomato and fry till the tomato gets cooked well.
Add 2 cups of water , turmeric powder , coriander powder, salt, ground masala and bring them to a boil.
Now add the cleaned fish and stir only one time before it gets cooked. Spread a few slit green chillies and curry leaves over it. Reduce flame and cook uncovered.
DO NOT stir in between. Just shake the vessel gently to mix the masala with the fish.
Take off heat in 15 minutes.

Ayirai meen kulambu is ready! 

Serving suggestions:
Serve over hot rice or along idli or dosai.
Serves 2.