Kulith Kadgi Ambat/ Horse Gram raw Jackfruit coconut curry

For folks here in the United States hope you had a wonderful Thanks Giving weekend. We had a relaxing time where in we spent most of the time indoors along with family and friends, thanks in part to the weather. The weather has now changed and we are inching closer to those dreaded cold snowy, winter days. 

Like I said we spent most of the days at home, cooking some feel good food, comforting food, apt for cold weather. Luckily we get most (if not all) ingredients that we grew up eating and it is not difficult to re-create the taste in the kitchen. Food is a part and parcel of our lives, be it a celebration or not and it is a wonderful way to bring back memories and re-live those treasured moments. 

In Konkani cuisine, it is quite common to find a seasoned coconut curry with the combination of bean/legume and or vegetable. The ground coconut paste is called ‘Maasolu’ and depending on the type of seasoning that is done (mustard, garlic, onion), the curry is referred to as that (Ambat/koddel/ghashi) At home we love the tempering of onion, garlic and curry leaves and so I have made this ‘Ambat’( curry) that way.

We use Horse Gram (called as Kulith) and raw Jackfruit in our cooking. For people not familiar with raw or young Jackfruit it is a smaller version of ripe jackfruit. It is called as ‘Kadgi/Chakko’ in Konkani and has mild flavor, with unique thick green texture and unlike the ripe fruit does not have a sweet taste and goes well in making curries. We found this in the frozen section at an Indian grocery. You can see how it looks here and some other recipes here and here

This spicy coconut curry is a delight to have during cold days, the pungent flavor of the chillies along with the sweetness of onions and garlic is sure to drive away those winter blues. 

It has been a long time since I have participated in Food related event. But I could not let this go as Lisa’s blog is one of my favorites and being a vegetarian her cooking style is close to my heart. This recipe is my contribution to the event “A celebration of Indian food” at Lisa’s kitchen.

 

Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup chopped Unripe Green jackfruit (fresh frozen) [optional or substitute with chopped potato or chopped raw banana or yam]
  • ½ cup kulith/ huruli/ Horse Gram (soak it in enough water for 6-8 hours)
  • salt 

Grinding

  • ¾ cup coconut (shredded) [fresh or frozen]
  • 4-5 red chillies ( I use byadgi variety) [roast this in 1 tsp of oil]
  • Tamarind juice – 2 tablespoon
  • Salt
  • Water (as required to make fine paste)

For seasoning/tadka/tempering

  • 4-5 garlic pods (peeled and crushed)
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Oil (coconut or regular vegetable)

Method:

  • Pressure cook the horse gram in enough water for about 8-10 whistles. (yes, mine takes a long time). Keep aside to cool.
  • If using fresh jackfruit then peel the skin and chop it into small pieces. (You can see how it looks here). Boil along with salt till jackfruit gets cooked completely. If using frozen then defrost and heat it in little water for 5 minutes.
  • Roast the red chilies in little oil till they are crispy.
  • Grind the roasted chillies along with coconut, tamarind to a smooth paste. Add water as required.
  • Heat a container and add the paste, salt, add the cooked horse gram along with the water, boiled jackfruit and continue to boil. Simmer on medium for the next 15-20 minutes until the gravy thickens a bit and then switch off.
  • In another small pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and then add the onions until it turns pale and then fry garlic, curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the boiled horse gram curry and mix well.
  • Serve hot as a side dish with rice along with Aloo Raita and some pappads.

Capsicum Masala Recipe

capsicum masala bellpepper curry

While there are many ways of cooking capsicum, this way of cooking capsicum/bell pepper is my all time favorite. For starters the pungent capsicum is cooked in a coconut masala which has a balanced combination of the essential 4 S. The four S’s being sweet, spicy, salty and sour. So when the bell pepper gets cooked in this masala it forms an enticing combination. 

I may be a little biased here, because I enjoy vegetables cooked in a spicy coconut masala/sauce. That is how I grew up eating and this dish transports me back home giving me that warm, comfortable feeling. 

Apart from its taste, the other aspect I like about this Capsicum Masala is that it is easy to cook. After coming back from work, all I long for is to make something easy, healthy yet delicious and this one fits the bill. While the onion, capsicums are cooking in the pan, I grind the masala and add it to the pan. Since everything cooks fast, this dish gets done in a jiffy. Make some daal like “Daali thoy” and you have a wonderful lunch/dinner. Life could not get any better than that!

 The coconut masala is very versatile and you can customize based on your own taste. Also you can substitute bell pepper (referred to as capsicum in India) with okra (lady’s finger), brinjal (eggplant) or even potatoes.
bell pepper masala

Ingredients 

  • 2 big capsicum/ bell peppers [substitute with okra, brinjal, Tindora, potato]
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp  tamarind paste
  • Little jaggery (for taste)
  • Coriander leaves (garnish)
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Asafetida (a pinch)
  • Salt
  •  oil 

Ingredients to roast 

  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • ½  tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi seeds
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup peanuts/ground nuts
  • 3-4 red chillies

Preparation: 

  • Wash all the capsicum/bell pepper thoroughly, chop into bite size pieces and keep aside. (not too small)
  • Peel the onion and chop it into small pieces. Chop the coriander leaves and keep aside.
  • Roast all the ingredients in little oil on low flame one by one and keep them aside to cool.
  • Grind the coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind paste and water.
  • Half way through add the roasted ingredients and grind it to a smooth paste. Add water as required. The paste should be a little thick and not too watery.

Method:

  • Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Next add the asaferida and mix.
  • Add the diced onions and sauté until it is semi cooked.
  • Increase the heat and at this point add the chopped capsicum. Stir well.
  • After the capsicum is cooked, add the ground masala, salt, jiggery and mix well. Sprinkle water in between and keep mixing as required.
  • Cover with a lid, stirring in between. Once the masala is cooked, stream in little bit oil. Mix and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This can be served as a wonderful accompaniment with rice or rotis.

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.