Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pakoda Kuzhambu-Chettinad Style/Fried Lentil Dumplings in gravy

I am here again with another dumpling in the curry.  Now it is our South Indian style and it has unique combination of flavors from an array of spices and condiments. It’s a traditional recipe from Chettinad cuisine and I have done my best to maintain the authenticity but I can’t guarantee though. We generally make urundai kuzhambu which is another dumpling in a curry but that uses tamarind base gravy/kuzhambu.  Amma makes this once in a while and I make them often as I like those flavors. Here is the recipe, do try it and let me know how it turned out for you!
For Pakoda:
Channa dal/Kadalai Paruppu-1 cup
Dried long red chilies-4-6
Fennel seeds/Saunf-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt-as needed
Oil- For deep frying
For Kuzhambu:
Onion-2, finely chopped
Tomatoes-2, finely chopped
Ginger & Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Red chili powder-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt-as needed
To Grind:
Coconut-1/4 cup
Poppy seeds-1 tsp
Cashews-6 (I have used few almonds as well)
Cinnamon stick-1 inch stick
 Add a little water and grind to a smooth paste.
To Temper:
Bay leaf-1
Stone flower/Kal paasi-1
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Oil-2 tbsp
How It Happened:
Preparing Pakodas:
1. Wash and soak the channa dal for 2 hrs. Then drain the water and add dal to a blender along with red chilies & fennel seeds and grind to a coarse paste.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add salt and turmeric powder and mix well.

3. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. When the oil becomes hot, keep the flame in medium and drop in small portions of the coarse ground mixture. It doesn’t need to have a shape but the batter should hold together.
4. Let it cook for a minute then turn over the pakoras to cook on the other side and when it turns golden brown and when the oil stops sizzling, remove the pakodas from oil and rest them on a kitchen tissue.

5. Similarly fry the entire batch of pakoras and set aside.
Preparing Kuzhambu:
6. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the ingredients given under the ‘to temper’ list and when they pop, add the chopped onions and cook until transparent.
7. Add the ginger& garlic paste and cook until the raw smell goes off.
8. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook covered until they are completely soft and have dissolved.
9. Add in red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt and mix well. Let it cook for couple of minutes until the raw smell wades off. By now the gravy will starts leaving little oil on the sides.

10. Add the ground coconut paste and 1 & ½ cup of water and mix well and let it cook in medium flame and let it boil for 5 minutes.
11. Now simmer the flame and add the pakodas and let it cook for 2 minutes.
12. Switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.
13. Let it rest covered for 15-30 minutes for the flavors to meld in.
14. Serve reheated (if needed) with rice and papad.

* While grinding I didn’t add any water as the water in the dal was enough to make a coarse paste. If you couldn’t grind properly then sprinkle water just to facilitate grinding. Do not add kore water else the pakoras will absorb lot of oil while frying and will become soggy.
* While deep frying the oil shouldn’t be too hot else the outer portion will turn brown and the inside will remain uncooked.
* Keep regulating the flame so as to maintain the temperature and do not overcrowd the oil.
* Fry the G&G paste well else the raw smell will spoil the flavors.
* When you add water, it may seem to be very thin, but trust me when the gravy bubbles it will thicken because of the coconut paste and also the pakodas will absorb all the liquid and when you rest them for long, you will end up with no gravy/kuzhambu. So add the water mentioned and you ll have right consistency while serving and if you feel you need more volume you can add more water bu the gravy may be a little thin.
* The pakodas will be hard and will hold the shape well even after 2-3 hrs of soaking in the kuzhambu. But I recommend atleast 30 minutes resting time before serving, for the Pakoda to soak up a little gravy and lots of flavors.

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