Teppal Ambat (Potato Curry in Triphal spice)

Teppal / Tirphal also called as Sichuan pepper is a rare spice Indian resembling a bigger version of black pepper. This is predominantly used in Maharashtra and coastal Konkan cooking. 

If you are looking at this spice for the first time, then you might ignore it as it so ordinary looking with no distinct flavor or aroma of its own. But looks can be so deceiving and this spice goes on to prove just that. The minute you crush about 6-9 of them in water you begin to see the change and start getting that distinct aroma. The final magic happens when you add this crushed spice to a coconut based curry. The taste and flavor of the curry gets completely transformed and takes it to a whole new level.

It is hard to describe in words the taste of this, though I would say it is a pungent, peppery and lemony taste. It does not make the dish spicy, but makes it very fragrant. Little goes a long way and just 5-8 is enough to change the flavor and aroma of the dish.

It is hard to describe in words the taste of this, though I would say it is a pungent, peppery and lemony taste. It does not make the dish spicy, but makes it very fragrant. Little goes a long way and just 5-8 is enough to change the flavor and aroma of the dish. 

Traditionally there are two ways in which the crushed teppal water is used. At my mom’s place, the crushed teppal is added to the curry and boiled. At my in-laws place, the crushed water called “teppla udda” is saved separately. While the curry is served on rice, a spoonful or two of the water is added to the curry before eating. Either way the taste is delicious and out of the ordinary. Both ways make sure that the teppal is not consumed as it is not pleasant.

There is no substitute for this spice and I don’t think this is available in the Indian stores here in the US. I usually get my stock when I am in India and get my quota of teppal and also kokum.

PS: It is no mistake that oil is not used for this dish at all!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • ½ cup beans/peas ( I used frozen lima beans) [optional]
  • 5-8 teppal/ Sichuan pepper
  • 1/3 cup toor daal
  • Salt

To make the coconut masala

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • Turmeric a pinch
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • 2 tsp Jaggery for taste (optional)

Method:

  • Peel the cleaned potato and boil it in sufficient amount of water separately either in the microwave or the stovetop. Make sure it is not overcooked and mushy; there should still be a bite to it.
  • Boil the toor daal in pressure cooker until it is mashed. Keep aside.
  • Make the coconut masala, by grinding coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind and water. The masala should be made into a very fine paste. Add more water if required.
  • In the meanwhile heat thick bottomed pan. Add the coconut paste, boiled potato along with water, salt, jaggery and cook until the raw smell of coconut is gone. Check for taste and adjust the seasonings if required.
  • Meanwhile crush the teppal/triphal in little water using a mottle and pestle and add to the curry along with the water. Let this boil for 5 minutes and then close the lid.
  •  Serve hot with rice or rotis. Please note that the teppal is not consumed while eating it is discarded.

 

Mixed Greens Stir Fry/ Soppina Palya

We get good varieties of greens all year around in our grocery and I end up buying at least two different types every week. The green leafy vegetables have a high nutritional value and are extremely rich in antioxidants, good source of iron and calcium. The only problem is that they have a small shelf life and need to be used up pretty fast.

This recipe comes handy when lots of greens need to be used. Also this is a quick fix recipe and does not require too much babysitting. The time consuming part however is the thorough cleaning of the greens. Remember that the greens while cooking wilt easily and hence cook faster.

In Kannada greens are referred to as ‘Soppu”. It is a generic term and could refer to any type of greens like spinach, kale, Malabar spinach, fenugreek etc and “palya” means dry fry. You can use any greens that you like for this recipe. This pairs well with Rotis and Rice as well.

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup chana daal/Bengal gram daal
  • 4 cups of packed greens ( I used spinach leaves + Kale leaves+ collard greens) cleaned & chopped [use any greens of choice]
  • 2-3 green chillies (slit)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tomato ( chopped)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 garlic  pods (peeled & crushed )
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 Curry leaves

Method:

  • Wash the chaan daal in enough water and soak it for about 1-2 hours. After that cook it on the stove with water, making sure there is still a bite to it.
  • Take a large pan and heat some oil. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add the curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and crushed garlic.
  •  After the garlic has turned light brown add the chopped onion and cook. Stir in the chopped tomato, salt and cook.
  • Add the chopped greens and stir frequently. The greens wilt pretty fast and do not take long time to cook. Add the cooked chana daal and salt and stir again.
  • Finally add the juice of lemon and the shredded coconut. 

This serves as a great accompaniment with rotis and or daal rice. 

 

Carrot Kosambari/ Carrot Lentil Salad


Kosambari is a traditional salad in Karnataka. It is prepared during major festivals, auspicious occasions, and marriages and even offered as ‘prasada’ in temples. This is also called as Koshimbir in Konkani and Maharashtra and is very easy to prepare.

Kosambari does not involve any cooking, it is basically a mix of soaked lentils and vegetable of choice (cucumber or carrot or both) with right seasoning.  It is healthy, high in protein and also has a cooling effect on the body. This is one salad, we love to have during summers.

I have already posted the Cucumber Kosambari recipe here. The procedure is exactly the same, but this has grated carrots instead of chopped cucumber.

Off this goes to the talented Desi Soccer Mom who is hosting MLLA -34 at her blog. This event is a brain child of Susan at “The Well Seasoned Cook”.

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup moong daal
  • 2-3 carrots peeled (grated finely)
  • 2-3 green chillies (slit)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut 

Seasoning

  • Oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • Asafetida (a pinch)
  • 2-3 red chillies broken
  • 2-3 Curry leaves

Method: 

  • Wash the moong daal in enough water and soak it for about 1-2 hours. After that drain the water completely.
  • Add the grated carrot, cut green chillies, lemon juice, coconut, salt and mix well.
  • Now prepare the seasoning (tadka) of oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies, and asafetida and pour this over the lentil, carrot mixture. Mix again.

This serves as a great accompaniment with rasam/sambhar rice