Thursday, April 27, 2006

a side dish not to be sidelined

A ball of rice with cabbage, now another with split mung dal and then a big ball with carrots and beans

Varavu/ upperi/ thoran
are simple, no-fuss side dishes made with a variety of vegetables. A typical kerala lunch will include one or two varavu along with the main curries. Carrot, cabbage, beans, beetroot, spinach, raw plaintain, radish, drumstick goes the list of vegetables that can be cooked into a varavu. The spices vary depending upon the vegetable you are using; the basic cooking method remains the same. The most difficult part of this dish is in chopping the vegetables, and so cabbage easily wins the popularity contests of varavu.

Cabbage varavu

Cabbage, chopped: 1 cup
One or two slices of red onion
Green chilli/ dry red chilli : 1
Mustard seeds: ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds: ¼ tsp
Oil : 2 t

Oil-mustard seeds- cumin seeds – dry red chili- cabbage-salt-stir-cover-cook on low heat for 5 minutes- done!
Variants :
A pinch of turmeric will get you a nice sunny varavu. You can also add a little urad dal or nuts to the tadka for an extra crunch. Some like to add a little, about 1 T, of fresh coconut to this varavu just before taking off heat.

Carrot-beans duet
This is one of my favorites.

Carrots and beans , cut into thin strips: 1 cup
Red onion, coarsely ground : 2 T
Garlic , minced: 1 clove
Fennel seeds , crushed : a pinch
Mustard seeds: 1/ 4 tsp
Dry red chilli: 1
Oil: 2 tsp

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, let splutter tim tim timtimtim. Add the onion paste minced garlic, and dry red chili: cook until it turns slightly brown in color.
Now let the carrot-bean strips tumble down into the pan, mix well to coat the strips with onion-garlic paste. Sprinkle salt, and cook uncovered on low flame for about 5 minutes, or till desired tenderness. I like to add a dash of crushed fennel seed at the end, to lift up the flavors.


archana said...

Hi Reshma,
I make "beans-carrot duet " all the time, and it is my favorite too. Only difference i see now is that i add cumin instead of Fennel seeds. I will try next time with Fennel seeds too.

Ashwini said...

Reshma remember I had posted about Konkani style gherkin cashew upkari and you had said Kerala upperis were similar? They are. These are almost exactly the combinations we use too. Though fennel seeds is new to me and I'd like to give that a try. The mung dal one sounds like our kosumbari. Can you post that recipe too please? Lovely photo....the rice balls are the cutest things :-)

Lakshmi said...

Hi Reshma,
Thanks for droping by my site.and thanks for your comment.
I haven't tried this recipe, shall give it a try.

Lera said...

hmmm....that's a neat presentation, A complete meal with different veggies..Am I invited.?

RP said...

That is a healthy meal. Looks pretty too.

Revathi said...

Hi Reshma
Thanks for dropping by. I have been visiting your blog for a while now. I guess I am going to do the beans-carrot duet. I love kerala dishes especially puttu. My used to make it. Do you have the recipe for that. And can you let me know the from the scratch recipe. I dont want to use store bought flour.

Revathi said...

Ok Silly me. I checked your puttu recipe after I wrote the comment. But that looks white. The one my mom makes used to look red ?? What flour would that be ??

Anonymous said...

Hi Reshma,

A warm invitation to my
Green Blog Project

BDSN said...

very simple recipes!!! well kerala dishes in my home next time!!!

Anonymous said...

hey reshma
coming to your site is such a pleasure..thanks 4 all the authentic recipes..cant thank u enough..Dont know what i would have done if it werent for all the food blogs.. like gonna try your recipes..
decided to try your mutton stew..
got a doubt though...u have mentioned to put it in pressure cooker, wait 4 the whistles& then again cook it for another hour... i guess that is alright 4 the needs all that time to get cooked.. but what about the potatoes, that gets added with the mutton in the beginning.. wont it get overcooked& get all mushy? Isnt it better if potatoe is added in the last 30 minutes?

Am a novice in cooking.. so these trivial qns..

Keep blogging, mate..u bring such happiness to your blog readers

Anonymous said...

nice food photography !

Reshma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reshma said...

Anonymous friend,
you are absolutely right! leave the potatoes for an hour in a fuming cooker and you will get potato soup. Do rescue them after the first two whistles on high heat, and add them later to the cooked curry. Thanks a lot for pointing that out, another novice like you;)

Thulasi, good to see you here. Coming from you, that's high praise! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Reshma

Very neat presentation - would make the kids immediately eat it without fussing. Looks inviting and do chk up some more Kerala preparations for thorans: