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South Indian

Tamil Ven Pongal - Peasant but Divine :)

Tamil Ven  Pongal - Peasant but Divine :)

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and dedicated to the Sun God. Intrinsically pagan, it is a four day festival that marks the celebration of everything related to agriculture. The day celebrating the harvest itself is celebrated throughout the country but the other days are unique to the Tamils. The word ‘pongal’ means boiling over and many of the offerings of this festival involve just that - from milk to new rice.

We typically make sweet and savory offerings to our Gods and on this day, it is typically two different rice dishes, akin to sweet and savory puddings/porridge - chakkarai pongal (jaggery-rice pudding) and ven pongal (white pongal or rice-lentil porridge. The savory version, I love!

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Cool as a Tamarind...

Cool as a Tamarind...

Tamarind is a common spice you see in Indian and Asian cuisine, especially those closer to the Equinox. In the right amount, it lends a subtle sourness that instantly makes your mouth water and want to eat more. I took that more-ish tanginess and balanced with sweetened syrup, soothing lemon balm and refreshing citrus to make this Summer Cooler that would be great with a barbeque, sitting under the shade of a tree reading a book or just served from a big pitcher whilst sitting on the porch/stoop and seeing the world pass by....

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Progressive Indian: Beyond Curries - Red Greens with Split Pea Saute

Progressive Indian: Beyond Curries - Red Greens with Split Pea Saute

In this post, I talk about typical South Indian meals, the flavors and preparations, and how I have come back to these simpler flavors - the reason why I started this series.

I reflected a lot about what to title this post/series; Calling it another Indian recipe did not seem sufficient, since my intent with this post was to break away from the stereotype of Indian cuisine often seen, well, outside India, viz. curries and spices. In the end, I decided to call it neither 'everyday' nor 'real' or 'regular' because, well, it is none of those in my present context. I decided to go with 'Progressive' because whether you are an Indian living abroad or a non-Indian falling in love with the cuisine, cooking the simpler dishes is actually more a labor of love and courage than the standard issue curries. 

Today's recipe is a throwback to the nostalgic memories of uncountable varieties of leafy greens that we consumed on a daily basis in various simple preparations. Recently, I found a bunch of red veined and red leafed greens at the neighborhood Indian store. Understandably, I got super excited. I remembered this type; it was one of my favorites. It was called Mulaikeerai, Amaranth Greens. So, I made a Poriyal of it with boiled chana dal.

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