Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vegetarian Saraswath Cooking

Saraswath community has a very interesting migratory history moving from the river Saraswati plains of the Northern India to various parts of India. For people who are curious, jump to this link This migratory origin of their history is reflected well in their cooking style and choices. I have always been fascinated by their style when I have eaten at friend’s places who hail from this region.

In addition, I recently bought Chandra Padmanabhan’s new book called Sourhter Flavors. I overwhemly recommend this book to any fan of South Indian Cuisine.  The book can be bought at

Chandra does a masterful job of delving into all the southern regions and picking recipes that are unique to that region. Given that I picked two recipes to make from this book,

 Ghashhi – Chickpea curry
 Kairas – Capsicum and Peanut curry

The recipes have the same basic formulae – Make a spice paste using coconut and a variety of spices, lightly fry/steam the vegetables and add the spice paste to the vegetables and you have your final recipe. Since the devil is in the details,

For Ghashhi , the spice paste includes 1 tsp oil, 4 red chillies, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 cup grated coconut, small marble-sized tamarind ball. Pressure cook the chickpeas and boil the potatoes and mix them with the spice paste and add tempering at the end.  The full recipe can be reviewed at page 39.

For Kairas, the spice paste includes grinding 2tsp oil, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp white sesame seeds, 4 dried red chillies, 1 tsp split Bengal gram, 3 tbsp grated coconut, small marble-sized tamarind ball. You add capsicums after pressure cooking the peanuts. Add the spice paste to this base and let it simmer till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears. The full recipe can be reviewed from the book on page 77.

We served it with plain roti and all the recipes were divine. 

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