Monday, February 1, 2016

Puliarai Keerai Chutney - Creeping Wood Sorrel Chutney/ Relish

Creeping Wood Sorrel (Indian Sorrel) Relish
Herbs rich in nutritional and medicinal properties flourished in home gardens long time ago. Some were made into chutneys, some other keerais were cooked along with lentils. Some were used in the making of hair oil and bath powders at home. Be it cough, cold, digestive upsets, skin rashes, bumps, swellings, open wounds or any other malady  there was always a herb in the garden which came in handy to alleviate the symptom. All these wonderful herbs / weeds are vanishing gradually from our urban spaces, thanks to the vertical growth of residential spaces. Useful medicinal weeds do not have a place in the modern landscapes where the focus is mostly on green lawns and  ornamental plants. On the other hand it is heartening to know that many youngsters have taken to growing herbs organically in pots.Gardens of medicinal plants (Moolikai Vanams) have sprung up in many urban areas to conserve the treasure of endemic plants and  herbs. An interest to learn about grandma's medicine using native herbs is also gradually catching up.
Various medicinal properties and health benefits are attributed to the garden weed called  Puliarai Keerai /Huli Soppu. Here is a recipe for a lip smacking chutney using Puliarai Keerai (Huli Soppu in Kannada).


Puliyrai Keerai/Huli Soppu - 2 cups
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 2 tbsps 
Red chillies - 6 or more to balance the sourness of the keerai.
Salt -  1 tsp 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Gingelly oil - 1 tsp
1. Wash the Puliarai Keerai/Huli Soppu thoroughly and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds crackle add the split black gram dal and roast till the colour changes to golden brown.
4. Add the red chillies and asafoetida and roast till chillies turn crisp.
5. Stir in the Puliarai Keerai/Huli Soppu into the seasoning and immediately switch off flame.
6. Allow to cool and grind all the ingredients together with salt into a slightly coarse chutney adding little water.

A small piece of jaggery can be added while grinding to tone down the very sour taste of Puliarai Keerai / Huli Soppu.
Relish  PULIARAI KEERAI CHUTNEY  with hot rice and a dollop of ghee. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Karida Avare / Fried Field Beans - A Savoury Snack

Karida Avare or Fried Beans is a popular winter savoury snack prepared during the Kaalu or Bean season.The indulgence of the people of Bengalooru is such that the prices of all other vegetables crash during the Avare Kaalu / Field Bean season. Avare Kaalu is used in almost all dishes as they are, or in the squeezed form through out the season.The  beans are soaked overnight.Then they are pinched or squeezed ( This process is called as Hitukodu in Kannada) one bean at a time enabling the bele / lentil to jump out of its skin. The bele / lentil thus obtained is known as Hituku Bele or Squeezed out lentil. Hituku Bele is now readily available in the market which saves a lot of time and labour for the connoisseur. This squeezed out lentil or Hituku Bele is used to prepare the savoury snack known as Karida Avare.

Hituku Bele / Squeezed Bean  - 1/2 Kg
Oil for frying
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Broken Red Chillies - 4
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Ghee or Coconut oil - 2 tsps
Sambar Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/2 tsp
1. Spread the Hituku Bele on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and fry one fistful of Bele at a time on medium flame.
3. Remove when the oil stops bubbling vigorously and till the lentils become crisp.
4. Drain the fried lentils on a paper towel. 
5. Spread the fried lentils on a shallow plate and add sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt on the top.
6. Heat ghee/coconut oil and add mustard seeds.
7. When the mustard seeds splutter add the broken red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
8. Pour the seasoning over the spice powders.
9. Mix in the seasoning with the fried Bele /lentil using a clean and dry hand.
Store in an air tight  container after the Karida Avare cools down. 
Enjoy the crunchy Karida Avare  any where, any time, with hot coffee!