Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bellam Pulusu

A lot of new couples and families have recently come to our city, some have moved into my apartment complex and I've had a good time meeting the new girls and inviting them over for a cuppa. The new group is mostly from Hyderabad and this sparked my enthusiasm for learning more about their cuisine.
M has always liked and favored Andhra food and I have tried some dishes from what I call my favorite,' Andhra Special', blogs. But there is always something different getting the perspective of a person who does not blog but the food still has the finger lickin' goodness!
My friend Madhavi moved to the apartment a few months ago, a quiet and gentle girl with a very friendly attitude and a huge plus in her favor was, my son liked her!
She has been my constant companion after my in-laws went back to India and has also cooked for me on days when I was tired chasing my active 1 year old all over the house!
One one of those days she came home with a steaming bowl of a hearty looking stew and told me to just mix with hot rice and enjoy! I enjoyed every morsel of this WONDERFUL stew and longed for more. What followed was an instant sit-down-here-and-tell-me-how-you-made-it session and I had it on my notepad.
I made this on a Thursday late night dinner when M comes home, tired after his long day at work and a short but exhausting flight.
This different, simple yet amazingly tasty stew was perfect after a long, long day. M usually prefers a simple Varan-bhaat meal, but this he claimed, was amazing!
I like the fact that it uses a variety of vegetables and I need not make anything else!

I have made this so many times that I eyeballed the ingredients ( you really cannot go wrong, feel free to experiment)

1- 11/2 Cup mixed vegetables ( carrot, squash, bottle gourd,yam, sweet potato) cubed
1-2 Green Chiles
1 Tomato chopped
1/2 tsp Conc. Tamarind pulp ( optional, if tomato is not sour), alternatively soak a small marble size ball of tamarind in hot water for 10-15 min, extract pulp and discard solids
*Jaggery a lime size ball
Salt to taste
2 T oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
Pinch Asafetida
1/4 tsp Turmeric
Few Curry Leaves
1-2 Dry Red Chile
2T Rice Flour mixed in water to form a batter
Cilantro to garnish

Wash, peel and cube all the vegetables.
Place all the vegetables in a saucepan, cover with adequate water and bring to a boil. Cook the vegetables till they are tender (but not all mushy)
Add the green chile, turmeric, salt, tamarind pulp and jaggery
You can add the green chile when boiling the vegetables if you want it to be very hot.
Add the rice flour paste and boil, this will thicken up the pulusu
Prepare the tadka/ seasoning:
Heat oil, add mustard seeds, after they pop, add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, red chile and curry leaves.
Pour the seasoning over the pulusu. Mix well.
Garnish with Cilantro and serve with steaming hot rice

*The pulusu is supposed to have a sweetish taste, the selection of vegetables is therefore as mentioned above and Jaggery, which is roughly double the quantity than tamarind, enhances the taste. The chiles balance the taste with their heat.

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