For the first week of Blogging marathon, I chose to do regional cuisine from a specific state. I am from Tamil Nadu, but have never ventured deep into the marvelous Tamil cuisine. I saw this as the opportunity to learn more about the regional Tamil cuisine. For the first day, I chose this famous kurma from the Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad cuisine is a very famous for its use of spices and their aromatic masala mixes.
Chettinad is the home of the famous Nattukottai Chettiars who are known for the banking and business community. The cuisine is known to be very spicy and aromatic. There is a large variety of non vegetarian specialty from the region and few well known vegetarian recipes. I have made the vellai paniyaram with the spicy kara chutney before and it is one of the most sinful meals I have ever tasted. It was so delicious that I got drawn into the cuisine even more.
We love the kurma that is served in the restaurant and have always wanted to try that out. When I saw this recipe in Solai’s True Chettinad recipe, I wanted to make this right away. The recipe is very easy to make with whatever vegetables you have in hand. It is preferred that we stay away from colored vegetables like beetroot for this kurma since it changes the color of the dish.
When making the masala, make sure that you do not fry the ingredients too dark. This also alters the color of the kurma. This is the mistake I did in the recipe and I ended up having a darker color kurma. This does not alter the flavor of the dish by any means.
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients to make Chettinad Vegetable Kurma – Serves 4-6
- Onion – 1 (sliced thinly)
- Tomato – 1 (chopped)
- Mixed vegetables (Finely chopped) – about 3 cups (I used potatoes, peas, cabbage, bell pepper and carrot)
- Oil/ghee – 1 tbsp
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Cinnamon – a small piece
- Cloves – 2
- Cardamom – 2
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp (optional)
For the masala paste to make Chettinad Vegetable Kurma –
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
- Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
- Cardamom – 2
- Cloves – 4
- Ginger – 1 tsp (grated)
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Pottukadalai / Roasted gram – 1 tbsp
- Green chilies – 3 or 4 (based on spiciness level)
- Cashew nuts – 10
- Coconut (grated) – ¼ cup
Procedure to make Chettinad Vegetable Kurma –
To make the masala paste –
- In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and fry the dry spices. Now add the rest of the ingredients and fry them for 2-3 minutes in low flame. Turn off the heat and let it cool down for few minutes.
- Grind the mixture to a smooth paste and keep it aside.
To make the Kurma –
- In the same pan in which you fried the masala, heat 1 tbsp of oil or ghee or a combination of both. Now add the fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and fry it for a minute. Add the thinly sliced onions and fry until the onions are translucent. Do not fry until golden brown or else the kurma will change color (been there, done that).
- Now add the tomatoes and fry for a minute. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and mix well. Add salt needed, red chili powder (if using) and about half a cup of water and cook the vegetables. Make sure that the vegetables do not get mushy.
- Add the ground masala paste and a cup of water to the cooked vegetables and mix well. Make sure that the kurma is on the runny side as it thickens upon cooling. Cook further for 5 minutes and then turn off the flame.
- Serve hot with parotta or vellai paniyaram.