Today's Menu

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Arachu Kalaki

Famous among sides is this very typical, traditional side dish served as a savory accompaniment to kutan and rice. It is very hard to classify this dish - it falls into the general category of pacchadi - a semi-liquid concontion served as a side.
in south Indian cooking, the sides are as important as the main dish - there is a wide variety of these relishes that is served to give an additional tang and kick to the kutan.
Today I make 'Keerai Kutan' or spinach stew served with rice. Since by nature Keerai Kutan is sort of mild with coconut, spinach and lentils, it needs a certain something on the side to rev it up a bit. Enter the pacchadi or the Arachu Kalaki!!
There are a cumber of options here but the rule of thumb is- something sour.
So This is my recipe for today - Arachi Kalaki.

Ingredients
3 ripe Amla ( nellikai) - I'm afraid i dont know the English name for this
1/2 inch piece ginger
3-4 green chillies
1/2 cup sour curds - the more sour the better
2 table spoons grated or dessicated coconut.
Seasonings - mustard seeds, methi seeds and curry leaves

Deseed the amla and grind it along with the coconut, chillies, ginger and a little water so that the result is a smooth paste. Pour the paste into a bowl, add the curds and salt and beat well till it is well mixed.
Heat oil, add mustard seeds and methi seeds. When the seeds splutter, switch off the flame, add the curry leaves and pour this sizzling mix into bowl with the arachu kalaki. Mix well and serve with kutan and rice

On a different note, I happened to come across this really great article on the magic of the 'family meal' in time magazine.

Family Meal

This is all about how the family meal helps in bonding and bringing the family and the kids together.
As a born-again foodie I feel that food not just about eating but also about experiencing life and family ties and spiritual revival.
Sometimes when I come home tired from work and put together something indifferent for dinner, I feel a tinge of regret that an important ritual in my day has been trivialized. The act of planning and preparing a special meal everyday really defines the quality of your family life.

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