Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sorekaayi-AlasanDe KaaLu Palya(Bottlegourd-Blackeyed Bean Curry)
Rice is the staple diet in South Inida. And to eat along with rice are prepared curries in liquid form, curries like sambars, rasams, gojjus, kootu or yogurt based tambuLis, majjige saaru etc., for hot summer days. Stir fried vegetables in the form of palyas/poriyals/vepudu are eaten as accompaniments for the above rice-curry combinations. Breakfast mainly comprises of uppiTTu, dosay, iDli, paDDu, avalakki, poori, chapati, roTTi etc., The side dishes for poori, chapati, rotti etc., are usually vegetables in gravies based on coconut and tamarind, like saagu, brinjal curry, capsicum curry, etc., Where as the scene in North India is different in that, the staple food is Wheat. Wheat roti's are a must for lunch and dinner. Rice is barely eaten. A family of four will make do with 1/2 a cup of rice per day, which is unthinkable for a South Indian. To go with the roTis, at least 2 types of subzis are prepared, one dry(the stir fry kind) and another with gravy(rasedaar meaning juicy - as one of my friend from UP explained to me). So, North Indians have a comparatively greater variety of gravy based vegetables than South Indians. A friend once asked me, dont you get bored of eating sambar everyday??? Then, I had to explain to her that we make sambars of different vegetables or vegetable combinations everyday. She was surprised that there were different kinds of sambar too... Anyways, that was the scene probably some 15 years back. But now, what with Globalization and all... everyone is making all kinds of food. South Indians have started making phulkas for dinner and North Indians are preparing idlis and dosays for breakfast.
Now, why all this story???, you might wonder. Well, Srivalli, of Cooking 4 all Seasons , has launched a Curry Mela. While reading through the details, I sensed her dilemma that a staunch South Indian usually faces while wondering 'what to make that will go with the Rotis?' Cos, our parents or may be grand parents never made phulkas for dinner everyday. So, the knowledge of subzis was not handed down to us. The palyas/poriays/vepudus are too dry to eat with phulkas and the gravy ones are few and somewhat tedious to make. Some North Indians curries like, Cholae, Palak Paneer, Vegetable Korma, Dum Aaloo, Veg Jalfraize etc., are wonderful accompaniments, which have now become common in South India too...
This below, is a curry that is totally my creation. I just went about making it on the fly. I've used Coconut milk and tomato puree as the gravy base and the basic North Indian spice powders for aroma and taste. When I first made it, I started off thinking of making Lauki(sorekaayi/bottlegourd) subzi. When I was half way through, my dear hubby called me and said he is bringing along a friend for dinner. I had soaked black eyed beans lying on my kitchen counter top, and on a whim pressure cooked and added it to the lauki, just to increase the quantity. I found it to be too dry, so I added coconut milk to give it some thickness and texture. The overall effect was that, it saved my face that day and everyone liked it. So, here goes.... hope you all like it too..
1 medium sized Sorekaayi(bottlegourd), washed, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
1 cup alasanDe kaaLu(Black eyed beans), soaked overnight and pressure cooked with a little salt
1 teaspoon Jeerige(Cumin Seeds)
2-3 Green Chillies, slit lengthwise and cut in half
1 big clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped Onions
1 big Tomato, pureed (You can substitute this with 2 full teaspoons of tomato paste)
1/4 teaspoon each of Jeera powder, Dhania Powder, Garam Masala, Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder and sugar(optional)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk)
Chopped coriander leaves, for garnish
1. Heat oil in pan. When hot enough, add the Cumin seeds and let them splutter.
2. Add the Garlic and Green chillies and saute for a minute.
3. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
4. Next, add the chopped bottle gourd. Add 1/2 a cup of water and a little bit of salt and mix well. Cover a lid and let it cook, until the bottle gourd is tender.
5. Add the cooked beans and mix well.
6. Add the tomato puree/paste and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Adjust the consistency by adding water. The gravy should neither be too thick nor too thin.
7. Now, add all the spice powders and sugar, if using, and mix well and bring to a boil.
8. Take off heat, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis/roTis/paraThas.