I was asked to make a light curry of mixed vegetables for a close friend who is on a very limited diet. I wanted to stay away from the heavier North Indian jalfrezi style curries due to their richness, but was unwilling to compromise on flavor or quality. This was the dish that popped out of my library. It may look like it is long, but the recipe is really quite simple and takes less that 30 minutes to make.
A light, fragrant recipe that is quite versatile and loaded with any vegetables you can imagine. Although I have used a few here, you can consider eggplants, drumsticks, cauliflower, okra, peas, or any vegetable that you love. The light rice broth curry is delicate and gently spiced for those with gentle stomachs, you can of course reduce the spices further to suit your dietary needs. Each vegetable adds its own nuance to the flavor profile, and the tartness from the tamarind is light adding a wonderful tanginess to the curry. Also, check out the wonderful Chettinad spinach mandi (Keerai mandi) on this blog.
This is a recently acquired cookbook, one that I am cooking from quite regularly. This bible of Chettinad cuisine is spectacular, one that is a must for anyone that wants to cook this cuisine.
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2-3 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
A pinch of asafoetida
12-15 curry leaves
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, minced
3-6 green chiles, minced, or to taste
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 raw plantain, peeled and sliced in half moons
1 potato, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
1 carrot, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, de-seeded and cut into strips
1 green mango, diced without seed and seed shell (optional)
2 cups arsi mandi, see note after recipe
2 tablespoons tamarind extract
Water, as needed
Salt, to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan large enough for all the ingredients to fit comfortably. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal and sauté on low heat till the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the asafortida, and curry leaves and stir for 20 seconds more.
Add the shallots, garlic and green chilies and sauté till the onions are translucent and beginning to start becoming a pale gold. Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are broken down and you have a sauce, about 10 minutes.
Add all the vegetables and toss them in the mix to coat them evenly with the spices. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the arsi mandi, tamarind and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or till the potatoes are cooked. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
Serve immediately with rice.
Note: For the mandi, soak 1-2 cups rice in 3 cups water (after the initial rinse) for 30 minutes. The light milky liquid is the mandi that is used.