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Friday, March 13, 2020

Meen Illatha Meen Curry(Chembu Curry)| Arbi (Taro Root) Curry | Lenten Friendly Recipes ~ Step by Step Pics

As I already told in my previous post that I am digging out all old forgotten and less frequently used veg recipes now till Easter. The regular ones of sambar, moru and rasam have taken many turns and there is always a terrible demand for new tastes. Then comes the second list of curries like kalan, chakkakuru manga curry, pacha manga curry and velarikka pulinkari and when this list is also exhausted then you are also kind of dehydrated and cracking your heads to what's next. This is a mindful thought of getting a non veg flavor of fish (meen) in a vegetable curry. Sounds strange?? But doesn't taste that weird and you can make it to get the fish gravy flavors.

This curry can be made with many vegetables like padavalanga, nendran kaya, but I personally like chembu in this curry which gets softly cooked and resembles like fish pieces in the gravy. I have used the large chembu variety for this curry as the smaller ones gets mushy once cooked. The chembu or taro root should be cooked well, but not mashed into the gravy to get the actual flavors. Also, this curry tastes best when the curry is rested for about 4–5 hours so that all the flavours seep in. The chembu gets nicely cooked, though it's told that these fibrous veggies don't cook well in a sour medium (tamarind). I have used the fish tamarind, but you can use the other tamarind (sambar) ones too if you don't get hold of fish tamarind(kudampuli). You may hardly need any sides with this curry to be served with rice. This curry is not very watery and tastes good only if the gravy is thick, not watery. Pair it with moru curry if you want a gravy curry along with it and some sides like cabbage thoran and beans mezhukuparetti like we had. I had the chembu as slightly bigger cubes and this curry is made exactly like we make the kottayam style fish curry or meen vatticha meen curry. Do give this a try during lent this season and am sure you will love it!!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 12 minutes
Serves ~ 4
Author ~ Julie
taro root /chembu / arbi 3 large
ginger / inji 1 tbsp chopped fine
garlic /veluthulli 1 tbsp chopped fine
shallots / kunjulli 4-5 sliced
kashmiri chilly powder 2 tbsp
coriander powder 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
gamboojia / kudampuli / fish tamarind 2–3 slices
fenugreek seeds / uluva 1/4 tsp
curry leaves 2 sprigs
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
coconut oil 2 tbsp
salt to taste

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  • Peel the skin of taro root and chop the chembu in small cubes. Drop them in a bowl of water(else the color of the skin changes) and keep aside. Chop ginger and garlic finely or small. Slice the shallots and keep ready the curry leaves. Wash and soak the fish tamarind(kudampuli) in water.

  • In a mann chatti(preferably earthen pot)) or wok, add oil(coconut oil) and wait till its hot. Crackle mustard seeds and then add in fenugreek seeds(uluva). Then wait till its lightly browned. Slide in the chopped ginger and garlic. Saute until lightly done and add in shallots and curry leaves. Saute until the shallots turn lightly golden brown. Make a paste of the spice powders (chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder) in water and add to the sauteed shallots. Cook on low flame till oil separates(may take 2 mins). 

  • Then add in the soaked tamarind with water and add a cup of water too. Add salt and bring this a rolling boil. Transfer the cubed chembu(taro root) in this and cook covered for 7-8 minutes on medium flame. In between check the chembu if cooked and add more water if needed. Finally, check the gravy if its turned slightly thick. Then add in few fresh curry leaves and pour a 2 tsp of coconut oil on top, swirl the mann chatti once again and leave covered till you serve.

  • Ideally a resting time of 4-5 hours is good enough to get the masalas seeped in chembu to taste best but you can serve after one hour too. In a mann chatti(earthen pot) the gravy thickens further as its sits but if you are making in a wok then see to the gravy and switch off. 

* You can make this gravy with padavalanga or nendran kaya too but chembu tastes best.
* The cooking time of chembu or taro root may vary as per varieties so keep a watch. It shoud be just cooked right an not over cooked.

Chembu Moru Curry
Chembu Astram
Chembu Mezhukuparetti
Chembu Chips
Chembu Erissery

Friday, March 06, 2020

Special Kadumanga Achar | Mango Pickle (Instant Style)

Lenten friendly recipes is all we need now and so you may not come across any non veg recipes here in my space till Easter. Purely vegetarian for fifty days and am happy that this discipline will help rejuvenate the body and mind. I may not strictly follow the strict vegetarian routine unless there is such practices where I feel should abstain to relish my favorite non-vegetarian recipes. Mangoes and jackfruits are going to be in season soon and both of these are our family favorite too. I have many mango recipes that I already posted, please check this link here. Though I have posted the traditional style kadumanga recipe here but this is a very special type of kadumanga that is prepared in our native church served for Good Friday along with rice gruel(kanji) and payaru. This is a very popular pickle among the residents in Kunnamkulam. This pickle is mae in very large batches and there are also packets of this kadumanga for sale as well on this day. However the sale packets needs to be pre booked so that we can collect after the Good Friday service. The best part of this pickle is that you can devour a bowl of kanji with just one big plump piece of mango. Its that lip smacking good. There is no recipe posted in google till date for this pickle and am happy that I tried recreating this at home. I have been making this pickle for the last three years now and each time I have improved and matched to almost the same tastes of the church one.

The drawback of this pickle is that this cannot be  preserved for long as there are no presevatives added to make this pickle. I have preserved this pickle for ten days in refrigerator. The washing and cutting is quite simple. There is no peeling the skin off the mangoes and so use organic or preferably use home grown mangoes for this pickle. each mango is cut in three pieces, two big side pieces and two small side pieces attached to the side (as third piece). I forgot to take the step by step pics ,will update this year when I make again. I have always used our own mangoes from the backyard. The pickle tastes best on the second day, so keep mixing the masala so that its well coated to the mangoes. Check this out if you love mango pickles.

Preparation time ~ 15 minutes
Cooking time ~ 5 minutes
Serves ~ a big bottle
Author ~ Julie
raw mango / pacha manga 10
ginger / inji chopped 1tbsp
hot chilly powder 1 tbsp
kashmiri Chilly powder 2tbsp
coriander powder 2 tbsp
kayam podi /asafoetida 3/4 tsp
fenugreek seeds /uluva 1 tsp
mustard seeds / kadukku 1 tsp
salt 1-2 tbsp (or as needed)
oil (preferably gingelly)  3 tbsp
curry leaves 3 sprigs


  • Wash and cut the mango with skin in two big halves on either side and leave the other two thin sides attached to the seed i.e. When you cut a mango, you should have 3 pieces only- two side slices and one with the seed intact. Cut all mangoes similarly and keep aside. Add a tbsp of salt to this and leave for half an hour. After half an hour, boil water with salt in a utensil. Switch off flame once its boiled. Slide in all the cut pieces and leave for 3 minutes. Remove all slices from water and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add gingelly oil. Splutter mustard seeds when it is hot, add in curry leaves. Add in fenugreek seeds. Add in the ginger chopped and fry till lightly browned (ginger is not added in the original recipe but I just added for flavor, you can omit adding).
  • Add in the spice powders in a bowl with 1/4 cup water to make a thick paste. Add this paste on low flame to the oil. Mix well until the masala is cooked well and oil separates. 
  • Slide in all the cut mango pieces and mix well. Add in salt as needed, note that mangoes are already soaked in salt water. So add accordingly. Switch off flame. 
  • Leave to cool completely before storing in glass bottles. This pickle doesn't use vinegar and is used up instantly. The shelf life of this pickle when stored in refrigerator is one week as there is no preservative added. The second day onwards the water oozes out of the mangoes and the gravy becomes slightly watery. 
* Ginger is not added in the original recipe but I just added for flavor. You can omit adding.

* Holy Week Specials
* Rice Gruel (kanji)
* Traditional kadumanaga (Instant mango Pickle)
* Cherupayaru Thoran
* Muthira Thoran