I learned most of my cooking from cook books and seeing friends cook. Thanks to friend G who taught me how to cook sambhar and rasam, once I learned those the rest came easy. Back home I hardly stepped in the kitchen even after repeated appeals from my mom to learn cooking to which I hardly paid any attention or just plain ignored them. I had to learn it the hard way. But now whenever I see my mom, grandmom or for that matter anybody cook I pay a lot more attention. So it is really astonishing and also a source of pride when my daughter tells me that she wants to help in the kitchen. There are certain dishes you can learn from cookbooks but there are certain others that can be learned by watching someone else. Thattapayir Kuzhambu is one such, I have never come across this recipe in any cookbook. I learned it by watching my mom make it. Thattapayir is also one thing that I never forget to bring back with me from India. It is roasted a little bit so it won't get any bugs.
When I mentioned about the Little Chefs In the Kitchen event hosted by TRS of The Spice Who Loved me (what a neat idea!) daughter was mightly pleased. She loves to cook the Chappathis as I am rolling them. She draws a stool close to the stove and helps me cook chappathis all the time yakking away, you know how eight years olds are. Everything has to be analyzed to the last detail. My fond hope is to teach her as much of Indian cooking as possible so she can enjoy cooking good food.
Thattapayir Kathrikkai Kuzhambu
1. 3/4 Cups Thattapayir (cowpeas) cooked to one whistle in a pressure cooker and drained (should not be mushy)
2. 6-8 small purple brinjals slit in 4 but ends intact
3. 1/2 onion chopped
4. 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
5. seasonings curry leaves, mustard and cumin
6. Oil and salt
1. 1/2 red onion + 20 pearl onions
2. 1 1/2 tbsp Corriander powder (Original recipe use corriander seeds and cumin)
3. 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
4. 3-4 red chillies
Saute the onions in a little bit of oil and when they are brown add the red chillies let them brown add corriander and cumin powder mix well turn off the heat cool and make a paste.
1. Heat oil in a pan, add the seasonings, cumin, curry leaves and mustard and when the mustard starts to pop add the onions and saute till translucent
2. Add the brinjals and saute till the skin starts to blacken,
3. Add the thattai payir and mix well.
4. Add the Paste and the tamarind water and salt, check for salt cover the lid and cook till the brinjal turns soft. Should not be too watery or too thick so adjust water accordingly
Serve with rice and a little bit of ghee. The ghee brings out the taste like no other.