Thursday, 21 April 2016

Celebrating the Curry Leaf Comeback!

South Indian food is a firm favourite in our house. Though we are Bengalis, our roots being in West Bengal where fish curry and rice are staple foods, we tend to think of South Indian food as our 'specials'. There is great excitement in the house when I announce there will be dosas or idlis for dinner! Though the preparation of dosas is a long process, the fermentation of the batter taking up to a couple of days, here's a version I've adapted from my French friend, Stephanie, who had made some awesome buckwheat pancakes on Pancake Day!

Buckwheat Dosa:

For the batter, I've added water and some salt to about a cup of gluten-free buckwheat flour to make a runny batter. If you want to be more adventurous, you could add a teaspoon of finely grated ginger and chopped chillies. I haven't for this one, but might try it the next time round.
Now cook the dosas exactly how you would make pancakes. I added little drops of oil onto the hot pan before pouring the batter in, and then dotted the sides with oil so it's easier to flip.

Potato or Sukhi Aloo Bhaji

This is a sure accompaniment of the dosa. Either on the side or as a filling for the dosa. Boil the potatoes, then chop. Chop onions and coriander leaves. In a pan, add a tsp of mustard seeds and curry leaves and chopped chillies to  2 -3 tsp of hot oil. When the seeds start to splutter, add the onions and fry a bit. Then add a teaspoon of turmeric and stir it around. Quickly add the chopped potatoes and coat it with the onion mixture. Add seasoning, and garnish with coriander leaves and some lemon juice if you like. Remove from pan. 

Curry leaves are/were banned in the UK recently, so when I found some in the local Indian store last week, I danced a jig. South Indian food without curry leaves is like fish and chips without vinegar. You can eat it, but it's not the same. 

So this meal was all to celebrate the return of the curry leaves!

Sambhar Daal

You will get all the ingredients in the Indian store. Boil a cup of red lentils with a tsp of turmeric, salt with 2 cups of water. Add vegetables of your choice in the daal, usually aubergine, okra, carrots, courgettes, pumpkin work well. But you can get creative. Add sambhar masala to the daal.When the daal is soft and cooked, take it aside. In a frying pan, heat some oil. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves, chillies and some grated ginger, when they splutter, tip the pan of hot oil into the sambhar daal. be careful because the hot oil will sizzle and leap out, usually in your direction! Check seasoning.

That's it then! A variation on dosa and a big success! And binge on the curry leaves while you can! Enjoy!


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