Pepper Curry Leaves Gravy (மிளகு கருவேப்பிலை குழம்பு)

This is one of my very favorite preparation. Thanks to SanthaKumari aunty (a family friend, such a lovely and dear person to me and our family) for giving this recipe that I always love. This is a variation to the normal Tamarind Kuzhambu and more rich in taste and aroma.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Onion - 2 medium sized finely chopped
2. Tamarind extract - 200 ml
3. Garlic - 10 pods
4. Curry leaves - 5 for seasoning
5. Oil - 1-2 tablespoon
6. Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
7. Urad dal - 1 tablespoon
8. Butter - 1/2 tablespoon (optional)
To Powder
1. Pepper - 1 tablespoon
2. Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
3. Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tablespoon (make sure not to over fry as it will turn bitter)
4. Curry leaves - 30 - 35


Preparation:
1. Cook the garlic in little water and smash it into coarse pieces.
2. Add red chilly powder and salt to the tamarind extract and keep it aside.
3. Dry fry the ingredients given for powder, cool and grind it into fine powder.
4. Heat oil in a pan and season with Mustard seeds, urud dhal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add chopped onions and cooked garlic and saute until onion turns transparent. Pour the tamarind extract and one cup of water, cook in medium flame for 20-25 minutes until the raw tamarind smell goes off and the mixture reduces into half.
6. Now add the grounded masala powder. Set it in low flame and continue cooking for another 5 mins and switch off the stove. Finally add one tablespoon of butter (this is optional)

Appalam/Paruppu or thengai thuvayal with this rice will make an excellent meal.

Tomato Rice (Version 1)

Here is a very simple recipe for tomato rice which can serve as a quick lunch box item and serve as scrumptious meal.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1. Rice - 250 gms
2. Tomatoes - 3 large sized
3. Onions - 1 large sized
4. Green chillies - 3 vertically split
5. Mint leaves - 6-7
6. Turmeric powder - a pinch
7. Salt - to taste
8. Corn or peas -1/2 cup(Optional)
For Tempering:
1. Oil/Ghee - 2 tablespoon
2. Mustard seeds  - 1/2 tablespoon
3. Urad dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
4. Curry leaves - 4-5
5. Roasted Groundnuts - 20-25
6. Asafoetida - a pinch
7. Red chillies - 2 -3 
For Masala Powder:
1. Channa dhal - 2 tablespoon
2. Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
3. Urad dhal - 1 tablespoon
4. Red chillies - 3 (vary if according to your spice level)
5. Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
6. Fenugreek(Methi)seeds - 1/4 tablespoon
7. Sesame seeds - 1/4 tablespoon (optional)


Preparation:
1. Cook the Basmathi rice and set it aside to cool.
2. Dry fry the ingredients given for masala one by one, cool and grind into a coarse mixture.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add urad dhal, asafoetida, red chillies, curry leaves, roasted ground nut and fry for less than a minute.
4. Now add finely chopped onions, mint leaves and green chillies and saute until onion turns transparent.
5. Now add the tomatoes, and cook until it becomes tender (for around 5-6 minutes in medium flame). Add turmeric powder, masala powder and little salt and mix it well. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if it is too thick.
6. Cook in low flame for another 5 minutes. Add this cooked mixture little at a time to the cooked rice checking the spice and salt.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and roasted cashewnuts(optional).
Papad/Potato curry is an awesome companion for this rice.

Tips:
1. Spread the cooked rice in a sheet or plate and let it cool completely before you mix it.
2. You can roast little grated coconut and grind it with the masala powder for an additional rich taste.
3. Soak Basmathi rice for 5- 10 minutes, dry the water completely and roast it in 1 tablespoon of ghee/oil until it turns white and becomes non-sticky, then cook the rice. This will help the grains remain separate and look delicious.