Friday 22 August 2014

Vegetable Stew (சொதிக் குழம்பு)

Traditionally idiâppam (இடியாப்பம்) is served with vegetable stew (சொதிக் குழம்பு) or coconut milk (தேங்காய் பால்). Vegetable stew is a coconut-based gravy that has a gentle flavor and taste. Vegetable stew is popular in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. There are regional variations in the recipe, with ginger, garlic and lentils being used in some places. Vegetable stew is part of wedding feast menu in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts. I learnt this recipe many years ago in may native town, and it had always been a hit with my guests, both Indian and foreign alike!

Cut vegetables – 3 teacups or 600ml measure*
Tomato – 1 no, cut into small pieces
Onion – 1 no, chopped
Green chillies – 4 no, slit open lengthwise
Salt – to taste
Curry leaves – a few
Coriander leaves – chopped, 1 tablespoon
Oil – 1 tablespoon

For coconut milk:
Coconut – meat of half a coconut
Cardamom – large, 4 no

* Potato, carrot, green peas, French beans and cauliflower may be used. Cut the vegetables into 1” long pieces. Separate the cauliflower florets. Shell the green peas.

Vegetable Stew (சொதிக் குழம்பு)
How to make coconut milk: Remove the cardamom seeds. Grind cardamom seeds and coconut meat with ¼ tumbler of water (50ml) into a very fine paste. Add 50ml of water to the paste, mix well and strain through a strainer into a bowl. Squeeze the coconut residue left in the strainer with a spoon to extract coconut milk. This is first coconut milk (முதல் பால்). Keep aside.

Now add ¼ tumbler of water (50ml) to the residue and grind well for a minute. Add 100ml of water to the paste, mix well and strain through a strainer into another bowl. This is second coconut milk (இரண்டாம் பால்). Keep it separately.

Idiappam served with vegetable stew

Method: Cook the cut vegetables in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes or 5 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, remove the vegetable tray, and mash the potato pieces slightly. Boil green peas in water for 5 minutes, strain and add to the vegetables.

Heat oil in a kadai, add chopped onion and sauté till they become transparent. Now add tomato pieces and cook till tomato becomes pulpy. Add the cooked vegetables and salt. Mix well. Cook for a few minutes. Add the second coconut milk, mix well and bring it to boil. Now reduce the fire and add the first coconut milk. Mix well and simmer till the gravy starts to boil. Switch off the fire. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves. Serve hot with idiâppam.

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