I soaked urad dal and rice to make Kanchipuram dosa from Aayi's Recipes. A crisp dosa needs a good dunking in some tasty stew, and instead of the usual sambar, I decided to make coconut-based kurma/sagu that I have been on so many blogs. With not many vegetables on hand, I used pantry staples like potatoes, onion, carrot and a half-bag of Surti lilva beans (these are similar to lima beans) lurking in the freezer.
Whenever I find small 5.7 oz cans of Chaokoh brand coconut milk in the international store (half the size of normal cans), I stock up on them. It is so convenient to use an entire small can of coconut milk for a recipe instead of opening the big one, saving half of it in a glass jar, then having to scramble and use it within a couple of days before it goes rancid.
This recipe is an example of how much I love off-label applications of spice mixes. In this case, I spiked the kurma with rasam powder. This particular powder was a gift from Manasi of A Cook @ Heart and I swear it makes everything taste fantastic. I use it often for tomato dal. If I remember correctly, her recipe for the rasam powder is in this post.
1. Heat 2 tsp. oil and temper it with
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 pinch asafetida
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
2. Add 1 chopped onion and saute until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the following and stir for a few seconds
1⁄2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1⁄2 tsp. turmeric
1⁄2 tsp. red chilli powder
1 tsp. rasam powder
1 tsp. cumin-coriander powder
4. Add the vegetables
2 medium potatoes, cut into medium dice
1 carrot, cut into medium dice
1 cup frozen Surti lilva beans or baby lima beans
Salt to taste
5. Add a cup of water and simmer until the vegetables are almost cooked.
6. Stir in 5.7 oz coconut milk (1 small can) or half a regular can or 1 cup fresh coconut milk. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Let the kurma sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This stew would be wonderful with plenty of cilantro if you have some on hand (I did not). Another variation would be to add tomatoes along with the other vegetables.
I don't know how to explain it, but the cooking aroma of this stew was so "authentic" somehow even though the recipe clearly is not. With no grinding and only about 5 minutes of chopping involved, it is the perfect choice for busy weeknights. This stew was fantastic with dosas, but would be equally at home with some bread, rotis or rice.
What about you- do you like freestyle cooking or do you like to follow recipes word for word?