Anchovies, crispy fried and hot straight from the frying pan is everyone’s favourite; but a healthier option is cooking it with grated coconut. The preparation is called Meen Peera (Fish and coconut). In addition to the fish and grated coconut, the ingredients for Meen Peera include onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves, kudam puli. Easy to make, it’s a one pot dish, a dash of coconut oil, salt and turmeric is all that the dish needs.
The two blackish pieces seen on the plate above is Kudam puli (pot tamarind), used in most of the fish preparations and is something we source when we go home to Kerala during the vacations.
Raw banana is an easily procured vegetable and when cooked with coconut, we get a tasty dish called Plantain (raw banana) thoran. Peel away the green skin, cut to small cubes and they are ready to cook.
The bananas are quite bland and tasteless by themselves, but add to this a mixture of coarsely grated coconut, onions, green chillies and garlic and its a match made in heaven.
If there are songs written on Indian cooking there will definitely be one describing the melody of mustard spluttering in oil and joining the medley are dry red chillies, shallots and curry leaves. The boiled plantain coconut mixture is then added to this and served hot.
Sambar is a dish that has intimidated me a lot. Maybe it’s the large number of ingredients that it requires – you need few varieties of vegetables, sambar powder (a spice mix), toor dal, tamarind (valan puli), asafoetida and the list goes on. But it is a staple and everyone loves it, including me. But I failed to see that there are others too who want to cut down on the number of ingredients that go into sambar and still come up with a brilliant dish. And I came across a simplified version of it on the net.
I make a sambar that has pumpkin and shallots as the main vegetables. Toor dal is an indispensible ingredient. I get the ready made sambar powder, the tamarind is of course sourced on our Kerala trips and it all suddenly becomes easy.
Rice and sambar is the perfect match. But considering that all the dishes are mushy, you need something with a crunch; pappadam instantly comes to mind, but instead these banana chips will do nicely.
And this completes the meal – Set #2 includes Rice, Sambar, Meen Peera, Plantain thoran and Banana chips.
Till next post, take care !!