Mor Kuzhambu, Paruppu Usili and Keerai

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Mor Kuzhambu – A variety of kuzhambu made with buttermilk (mor means buttermilk) or can be called butter milk kuzhambu or South Indian Kadi.

Paruppu Usili – Paruppu means dal ; Usili means crumble. Paruppu Usili means dal crumble.

Keerai – means spinach.

This is my husband favourite combination. I devote this recipe to him.

Once we went to Jaipur – on the way back – as we were driving down – we went to Dasaprakash (Jaipur) – bought some packed lunch for the way.

I was sitting in the car with my son and my husband went to buy something.

He bought Mor Kuzhambu rice and curd rice. I was not very happy with the option of mor kuzhambu rice – as I was wondering – this would be my last option to buy. Anyway, I didn’t say anything.

To my surprise, it was a divine taste mor kuzhambu – till then, I never knew; even in restaurants they make such lovely more kuzhambu.

From then, I was experimenting to match with that taste.

Ingredients :

Sour curd – 1 – 2  cups. Depending on your sourness. Mine was not very very sour – so I used 2 cups. If it is really sour use only 1 cup. ( sour curd is very important for a perfect mor kuzhambu – you can never achieve the perfection with fresh curd).

Grated coconut – 5 tbsp

Jeera – 1 tsp.

Dhaniya whole – 1 tsp.

One small piece of ginger.

Raw rice – 1 tsp.

Toor dal  – 1 tbsp.

Red chilli – 2 nos for grinding and 2 nos for seasoning.

Green chilli – 3 nos.

Coconut oil – 1 tsp.

Methi Seeds – 6 nos.

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.

Curry leaves – few.

Hing – 3 pinches.

Turmeric – 2 big pinches or 1/4 tsp.

Salt – 1 1/2 tsp

Method :

  • Chop and cook the vegetables of your choice. The best for mor kuzhambu is white pumpkin or bindi. Bottle guard is a very good substitute for white pumpkin. We can also use drumstick or any variety of spinach.
  • If you are using white pumpkin cook it a vessel with some water. It will take less time to cook. If you are using bindi (ladies finger) – you need to fry it in oil and cover it and cook it. Use washed and dried bindi.
  • Beat the curd very well or pour it in the mixie and just switch it on and immediately off. Do it once or twice.This will blend the curd well. This is important – otherwise the more kuzhambu will have some small pieces of curd.
  • Soak – jeera, dhaniya, raw rice, ginger, toor dal, green chilli and red chilli – for 1 hour.
  • Grind these spices with the grated coconut. Be patient – grind it to a smooth paste.
  • Add this to sour curd.
  • Also add the turmeric and hing.
  • Add the seasoning – coconut oil – add methi (allow it to brown nicely) – add mustard and red chilli.
  • Add the seasoning and the cooked vegetable – to the curd and masala mixture.
  • Keep it in a low flame and allow it to boil well.As it has dal and it has to cook well.
  • When it starts to froth – just keep stirring and again allow it to froth till it comes to a boil.
  • Once boiled add salt and keep it for 1 minute and remove from gas.
  • Adding salt in the end will help in getting a non cuddled mor kuzhambu.

Note :

  • Normally, people use only green chillies. Combination of green chilli and red chilli gives a very nice taste to mor kuzhambu.
  • Sourness and spiciness is important.
  • The above recipe is the way in which it is made in my in laws house.
  • In my mothers house – 3/4 cup of coconut is grinded with red chillies and green chillies. The spices are not added. If the spices are not added – then we need to use more coconut. Mix the coconut masala and curd and the same seasoning – allow it to just froth. No need to boil. I love this version too. I normally, alternate both the methods. [ No turmeric – No Hing ]. Only coconut and chillies with curd and seasoning.
  • In my mothers house recipe – replace the chillies with black pepper – then it is called millagu mor kuzhambu.
  • If we have fresh curd – then add the puree of a ripe mango – then it is called mango mor kuzhambu. This recipe works only for my mother’s version. This is done in kerala.
  • In the above picture – I have shown 4 redchillies – i have tried to show the option between dried red chilli and green chilli turned red. USE ONLY 2 RED CHILLI FOR GRINDING.
  • In case you don’t have the time to soak the dal and rice etc. Try this, grind coconut with 1/2 tsp jeera powder (raw), 1 tsp – dhaniya powder, turmeric – 1/4 tsp, roasted channa dal or pottukadalai – 3 tbsp, ginger, green chilli and red chilli. Even this tastes fabulous.

Beans Paruppu Usili

Ingredients :

  • Beans –  1/2 kg -light green flat ones are preferable for paruppu usili and the dark green round ones are used for beans kari (subzi)

 Light green for paruppu usili.

 Dark green for beans kari (subzi)

  • Chana dal – 1/ 2 cup.
  • Toor dal – 1/2 cup.
  • Red chilli – 4 nos (mine is a less spicy version).
  • Green chilli – 2 nos ( mine is a less spicy version).
  • Oil – 5 tbsp.
  • Mustard – 1 tsp
  • Hing – 6 pinches.
  • Curry leaves – few.
  • Turmeric – one big pinch.
  • Salt – 1 1/2 tsp.

Method :

  • Soak the dal for 2 hours.
  • Drain the water. This is important.
  • Grind it. Just on and off the mixie. Don’t keep on grinding continuously.
  • Steam it in a pressure cooker.
  • Chop beans – add water and half teaspoon salt. Add about 1/3 cup of water.
  • Allow it to cook well.
  • Cook in medium flame to retain the green colour.
  • Add oil.
  • Add mustard allow it to splutter.
  • Add hing and curry leaves.
  • Add the beans and turmeic.
  • Dry all the water in the beans by cooking in medium flame for few minutes.
  • Once dried – add the paruppu usili. If we add it to wet beans – the paruppu will become soggy. We cannot dry later. Dal will  become a paste.
  • Mix well and cook in low flame for 5 minutes. Keep mixing.
  • The light yellow colour of the dal should become dark yellow. Not because of turmeric but because of oil. That much of oil is required. (My sister gave this tip to me). Only with oil we get a very good taste (5 tbsp MUST).

Note : 

  • Some people use only toor dal. I recommend – to use chana dal as it gives nice flavour and texture.
  • In the traditional method, the grinded dal mixture is not steamed but roasted in 8 tbsp of oil for atleast 45 minutes. It will look very crispy. Frankly, I don’t like the taste of this traditional method. This vegetable also feels heavy on the tummy. The steamed method is easily digestable and the paruppu usili is very tasty and soft.
  • Use good amount of chillies – as we are steaming – it will not be spicy.
  • We can make this paruppu usili with cluster beans, vazhai poo (raw banana flower), capsicum, onion,cabbage, carrot. My mother makes even with beet root. I love the taste of beetroot paruppu usili.

Keerai  (Spinach):

  • Just cook the chopped keerai ( 1 /2 kg ) with salt and 4 pinches of hing.
  • Cook the keerai very well. This gives good taste. I always cook the keerai in an open pot. Never cover it.
  • Mash it or grind it.
  • Add the seasoning – oil – 2 tsp, mustard – 1 tsp, red chilli whole 3 to 4 nos, urad dal (dulli)  – 2 tsp. curry leaves.
  • Add the seasoning to the cooked keerai and give it a boil.
  • Don’t ignore this simple looking keerai – it is very tasty.
  • If you prefer use coconut oil for seasoning.
  • If by chance – you have used more water – drain the water and add it to some rice or dal Or add 1 to 2 tsp of rice flour (depending on the water content) mixed with water for thickening. We need to boil well after adding the rice flour paste. Don’t use too little water while cooking the spinach. Add good amount of water and cook it well – only then the taste of the spinach will be good.
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