March 29, 2013

Milagu Kuzhambu

When someone in my family is sick, I know where to turn to and how to make them feel better. Thanks to all those comforting traditional recipes that are passed down to us from our ancestors! Especially, last week was so tiring with my entire family was taken down by a nasty flu. Without a doubt, traditional recipes were my only resort. 

It's such a blessing to have known what to use in a traditional recipe, how to cook & when to cook, just the way our ancestors cooked them. Traditional recipes are packed with nutrients and super nourishing especially during sick times. They use no artificial ingredients, no pre-processed foods, but the best food that helps our body to get the maximum nutrition and comfort in every possible way!

Every culture has a nourishing tradition of their own and we, Tamilians also have a rich nourishing tradition that includes a lot of healthy ingredients such as pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, hing, garlic, curry leaves, ajwain etc.

Milagu Kuzhamabu (tamarind pepper stew) is one such traditional recipe, where pepper serves as a good decongestant for the stuffy noses & throats. I always remember my mom saying how sweating helps body to cool down during fever and heat from the peppercorns works wonder at that. Curry leaves & hing promotes digestive health, which is supposedly weak during ailment. Milagu kuzhambu was spicy yet very comforting with hot rice and a dash of ghee.

Tamarind - small golf ball sized
Water - 2 cups + 1 cup
Ural dal - 2 tbsp
Whole black pepper - 1.25 tbsp
Hing - a small piece
Red chillies - 2 nos
Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 6 sprigs + 1 sprig for garnish
Sundakkai vathal - 1 tbsp (optional)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp (I used 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder)
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1 tsp

Soak tamarind in a cup of hot water and extract about 3 cups of tamarind pulp. Set it aside.

Heat abt a tsp of gingelly oil and fry hing, urad dal, whole black peppercorns, red chillies until crisp & golden brown. Let it cool and grind it into a fine paste along with fresh curry leaves using very less water (about 2-3 tbsp). Set it aside.

Heat rest of the oil in a deep saucepan. When hot, add sundakkai vathal and fry it for a min. To this, add tamarind pulp extract (caution: oil might splatter), turmeric powder, salt and let it boil for about 15 mins until it reduces to half in quantity.

Now, add the ground paste, dry ginger powder, curry leaves (from 1 sprig) and let it boil for another 5 mins. Remove from heat. Fry cumin seeds in a tbsp of ghee and add it to milagu kuzhambu at the end.

Yummy, flavorful milagu kuzhambu is ready to be served.

You could also grind tamarind along with the other spices, add water and bring them all to a boil until the mixture starts to thicken and the raw smell of tamarind goes away!

1 comment :