The South Indian cuisine normally comprises of dishes from the 4 main Southern states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Though extremely different in taste and ingredients, these states have some distinct similarities as there are a large variety of vegetables which are not used in the northern part of the country.
This makes the food delicious as well as nourishing. Some of the main vegetables used in the South are lady fingers, eggplant, beans, raw banana, curry leaves, pumpkin, coconut and lots of leaf based greens. Here is one of the most popular and yet easy recipes to try, mixed vegetables in coconut milk. The preparation time is fairly quick and you can eat this with breads like dosa, iddiyapams, appams etc.
This is a more general, mild dish which would appeal to a large South Indian taste, rather than one particular State.
Potatoes – 2
Broad beans – 12-15
Green peas – ½ Cup shelled
Cauliflower -1/4 flower
Medium carrots -2
Red pumpkin -100 gms
Coconut(scraped) – 1 1/2 cups
Tamarind pulp -2 tablespoons
Groundnut Oil- 2 tablespoons or accordingly
Red Chillies – 4
Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
Coriander seeds– 1 tablespoon
Garlic Cloves- 8-10
Turmeric – – 1 tablespoon
Salt- to taste
Mustard seeds – 1 tablespoon
Black gram (split) – 1 tablespoon
Curry Leaves – 8-10
Step 1 – Cut all vegetables in a similar manner for good presentation. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. String the beans and halve them and then cut them into one inch pieces. Shell the peas. Wash cauliflower and separate the cauliflower florets. Peel and dice the carrots into 1 inch cubes. Peel and dice the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes.
Step 2 -Add warm water to one cup of scraped coconut and extract thick and thin milk. Keep this aside. Dissolve tamarind pulp in half cup of water.
Step 3 – Heat a little oil and fry the 2 whole red chillies, cumin, coriander, garlic and the remaining half cup of scraped coconut till a nice aroma fills the kitchen. Grind this into a fine paste. You can use a grinder or do it in a mortar for a more authentic field.
Step 4 – Boil the vegetables in the thin coconut milk with turmeric powder, tamarind extract and salt till three-fourth done. Add the ground spice concoction and cook for 10 minutes.
Step 5 -Heat a little oil separately and add the remaining red chillies broken into two, mustard seeds and the black gram. Add curry leaves and add this to the vegetables.
Step 6 – Continue cooking the vegetables till done. Then add the thick coconut milk and simmer for two to three minutes. Serve hot with boiled rice or breads.
Homestays offer fantastic home cooked cuisine for guests and hosts are happy to share recipes and even show you some of the cooking techniques. Pictured above is a vegetable curry made at Home away from home at Fort Kochi homestay in Cochin, Kerala.