Category: Sesame (Nuvvulu)

Brinjal Sesame Kura

Bigger isn’t better always. You always know that for making delicious dishes, what is needed is not a big house, even bigger multiple kitchens. Sometimes, bigger things bring bitter results. All you’d need is a tender heart that responds to love and affection to make food that touches the other hearts. I have come to know that this applies to brinjal harvest as well. When you grow your own brinjals, pick as soon as they are just big enough to eat, when their skin still has high gloss finish and inside is tender. When you slice open and find brown flesh and dark seeds, you have waited too long. Bitterness claimed the brinjal soul, and it isn’t a culinary friend any more. The younger ones with angelic pulp and barely developed seeds taste better than bigger and bulky brinjals.

Here is traditional brinjal recipe with sesame I made last weekend for Janmastami with my brinjal harvest. Brinjal and sesame are a good combination and it is just not Bharath, many other world’s cuisines favor this endearing combination. The soul is the same, the dress-up and names are different from country to country. If you have never tried brinjal sesame combination before, try it once. It’s good and tasty, worthy of festival feast.

Homegrown Brinjal from the Backyard Garden
Homegrown Brinjal

Brinjal Sesame Kura
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meals)

Brinjals: Pick 8 to 10 small, fresh looking brinjals. Wash and remove the end. Take water in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cut brinjal into bite sized pieces and drop the pieces into salted water.
Slice one red onion or shallot thinly lengthwise.

Sesame: Place a stainless steel pot on stovetop and heat. When the pot is hot, add 6 dried red chilli, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, half teaspoon black peppercorn, quarter teaspoon cumin, 6 cloves, one-inch piece of cinnamon stick in listed order and at the end 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Constantly stirring, roast the spices to fragrance. Remove them to a plate and cool. Take them in a blender. Add a garlic clove, a tablespoon each – , chopped fresh ginger, tamarind pulp and jaggery pieces, and half cup of water. Blend the ingredients to superfine paste.

Brinjal Sesame Kura: Heat the stainless steel pot again. This time, add a tablespoon of sesame or peanut oil and when oil is hot, do the curry leaf tadka. Add and saute onions to soft. Remove the brinjal pieces from water and add them in the pot. Sprinkle half teaspoon of salt and pinch of turmeric. Cover and cook on medium heat until the brinjal pieces are tender, for about five to eight minutes. Stir in the sesame-spice paste and half cup of water. Adjust salt, sour(tamarind) and sweet(jaggery) levels according to your taste. Mix well and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.

Serve immediately and politely accept the applause from your guests. Sesame brinjal kura tastes great with Pongal rice and sorghum roti with some ghee and pickle on the side.

Sesame Brinjal Kura with Pongal
Brinjal Sesame Kura with Pongal and Red Chilli Pickle ~ Good Meal for a Hungry Soul

Pleasant Pull of The Past ~ Curry Leaf Podi

We went to a friend’s home last weekend. Our conversations these days invariably lead to gardening and plants. She has this beautiful and big curry leaf plant of 7 years old in her backyard which is almost a tree now. I guess it was amusing to see my admiration, she cut few branches on the spot for me. Such fearlessness! I am so old, I can remember the scarce days when I used to actually count the curry leaves before adding them to a recipe. Thanks to the generous friend, I finally made the beloved karivepaaku podi (curry leaf podi) at home today.

Curry leaf podi is a cherished Andhra tradition. This spicy seasoning with intense curry leaf aroma will taste great when mixed with rice or sprinkled over lightly cooked vegetables or even on salads. Curry leaf podi can be prepared in many ways. The following recipe is from my amma.

Fresh Curry Leaves
Fresh Curry Leaves ~ dried under Gentle Autumn Sun

Karivepaaku Podi (Curry Leaf Podi)

4 cups of tightly packed fresh curry leaves
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
12 red chillies, Indian variety, about ring-finger length each
1 teaspoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, skin peeled, slivered
1 teaspoon sea salt

Curry Leaves: Rinse curry leaves under water and gently pat them dry with a towel. Spread them on a cotton cloth to sun-dry under afternoon sun. The leaves will loose moisture and become dry but still retain green color. Do not sun-burn the leaves to black.

Gently fry the curry leaves on low heat in a cast-iron pan. Take care not to black or burn the leaves. Remove them to a plate to cool. The purpose of sun-drying and roasting is to let the leaves lose the moisture so that when powdered, they will remain dry and healthy to consume. Even after all this process, the leaves have to retain green color.

Roast: In the same skillet, add and roast dried chillies, garlic to brown. Remove. Add cumin and sesame seeds and roast until the sesame seeds are a few shades darker and emit a toasted aroma. Some seeds will actually start to pop out of the pan. Empty the contents of the skillet onto a plate and cool.

Powder: Add the cooled and roasted ingredients to a Sumeet style mixer or coffee grinder. Grind to fine powder. Cool completely and store in a clean jar with tight lid. It remains fresh and flavorful up to 3 months.

The tasty curry leaf podi can be enjoyed in many ways. Mix it with hot cooked rice and ghee, or rice and dal. Sprinkle the podi on warm chapati, idly, dosa or pesarattu. Great last minute seasoning to skillet-sautéed curries, like roasted potatoes, carrots, beans etc. Curry leaf podi is a wonderful thing to have in the kitchen.

Curry Leaf Podi (Karivepaaku Podi)
Curry Leaf Podi (Karivepaaku Podi)

Podi (Telugu) = Powder (E)
© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.

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