KAEMBU (COLOCASIA) CURRY

Editor’s note:

Colocasia, known as Kaymbu in the Kodava language, it is one of the most useful food plants, with its edible corms (kaymbu kandé) stems and leaves. There are several types of Kaymbu that are commonly eaten. The two main ones are the green stemmed and red stemmed (chondé kaymbu) varieties. There is another thicker leafed variety, known as mara (tree ) kaymbu, that grows on the sheltered branches of large trees. 

Kaymbu in all its forms – tubers, stems and leaves, needs to be cooked thoroughly to help neutralize the calcium oxalate crystals  (known as raphides) present in it. The needle-like crystals can cause severe irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth and throat.

 In Southern India, colocasia is almost always cooked using some tamarind in the recipe. While this might seem counter intuitive, to add something sour to the already tart leaves and stems, it may have an effect in further neutralizing some of the calcium oxalate. Some people experience skin irritation while handling the raw plant parts. This can usually be prevented by applying oil to the hands before proceeding to prepare the dish.

Here are two recipes from Cavadichanda Pooja Muthamma, who is an Assistant Professor at an Engineering college. Her hobbies include baking and painting.

KAEMBU (COLOCASIA) CURRY

Preparation time – 30-35 minutes

Kaembu curry – Recipe 1

What you need:

Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Kachampuli(Garcinia vinegar) – 1 ¼ tsp

Water – ½ cup

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Grated coconut – ½ cup

Onion -1 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25 nos.

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Jeera – 1 tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3 tsp

Curry leaves (optional) – 7-8 leaves

What you do:

Finely chop Colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, kachampuli, salt, water. Cook it on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Blend coconut, jeera, turmeric powder, coriander powder, bird’s eye chilli, and 4 cloves of garlic to a fine paste and add to mashed colocasia.

Mix well, cover and cook it for 5-10 minutes on medium flame. Keep it aside.

Tempering:

Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add curry leaves, chopped onion, 8- 10 garlic cloves and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry. 

KAEMBU CURRY – RECIPE 2

 What you need:

 Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Lemon juice– 3 -4 tsp

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Onion -2 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25, ground to a paste

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Water – ¼ cup

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3-5 tsp

 What you do:

 Finely chop colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

 To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, water and let it cook on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Add bird’s eye chilli paste, and lemon juice to mashed colocasia and cook it for another 5-6 minutes.

Tempering:

 Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and as they crackle, add finely chopped onions, 8 -10 cloves of garlic and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry to enhance its flavour.

 Enjoy the Kaembu curry with akki otti (rice chapathi)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDEAL COORG MONSOON DISHES

By P.T.Bopanna

The Coorg month of Kakkada starts from mid-July. It is the time when the monsoon is at its peak in Kodagu district (Coorg) in Karnataka. To fortify themselves from the harsh monsoon, certain foods are preferred. They include, mudre kanni (horse gram gravy), kembu kari, a curry made from colocasia leaf, and baimbale (bamboo shoot) curry.  

Among all the dishes, partaking of Kakkada Koli or chicken tops the menu. The chicken should be the home-grown naati variety which tastes the best in this season.

When it comes to keeping the body warm, there is nothing to beat mudre kanni, a dish from a bygone era when horse-gram was boiled in large quantities for bullocks and the water in which it was boiled was made into horse gram sauce.

If you ask me what my favourite monsoon dish is, then it is bamboo shoot curry, eaten with akki ottis (rice chapathi), with a touch of ghee. Ideal for both breakfast and dinner.

Another popular dish is wild mushroom (kumm) curry made out of several varieties of wild mushrooms which spring up on the ground during monsoon.

Even international cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey has shared the recipe of wild Kodava mushroom curry with coconut in her book North By Northwest.

She says the recipe comes from the Kodava people of Kodagu in Karnataka, a region in south-western India that has tropical forests, and grows coffee beans, cardamom and black pepper.  

During the peak of the monsoon, in most of the Kodava homes, curry is prepared from freshly caught crabs from paddy fields.

NALI’S CHAKKULI (MURUKU)

Fry up some chakkulies for a rainy evening snack! Cheranda Nali Appayya shares her recipe.

Chakkuli (Muruku)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fried Bengal gram
  • ½ cup black gram
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • ½ cup thick coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon jeera
  • ¼ teaspoon of gingelly (sesame seed)
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

Method:

  • Roast fried Bengal gram and black gram, then grind to a powder.
  • Boil the water.
  • Add coconut milk, salt, rice flour and fried bengal gram flour and black gram flour.
  • Cook it until it is thick.
  • Remove from fire and pour the mixture into a plate.
  • Add salt, jeera and sesame.
  • Knead the mixture.
  • Press portions of the dough through a chakkuli press onto a paper covered surface.
  • Fry them to a golden brown.
  • When cool, store them in an air tight container.

 

LIKITHA’S HORLICKS BURFI

Likitha Nanaiah Kuttanda’s mother, Shambavi Konganda was a great cook. Following in her footsteps, homemaker Likitha’s hobbies also include reading, travelling, and a little bit of gardening. She shares her Horlick’s burfi recipe.

Horlicks Burfi

Ingredients:

 

  • ¾ cup gram flour/ besan 
  • ¼ cup Horlicks 
  • ¼ cup ghee 
  • ½ cup oil 
  • ¾ cup sugar 
  • ¼ cup water 

Method:

Heat I tsp ghee in a non-stick pan. When it is hot, add in gram flour and roast it for two minutes.

Once it is roasted, remove from the heat and sieve it. Now add in Horlicks and mix well.

 

In the same pan, add the sugar and water, and mix well so the sugar is dissolved. Bring this to a boil and cook till one string consistency is reached.

Once it reaches one string consistency, add in besan and Horlicks mixture slowly so no lumps are formed.

Next, add the ghee and oil slowly and keep mixing on medium heat. Cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Pour this into a greased tray and let it cool down.

Once cooled, cut it into squares.

 

 

 

Mamatha’s Baalé Nurk

Kodandera Mamatha Subbaiah says Baale Nurk is the favourite tea time snack of Kodagu. Baalé nurk is made out of ripened bananas.

Baalé Nurk

Ingredients:

 

  • 10 ripe bananas (preferably Kodagu varieties like mara baalé or poov baalé)
  • Sugar to taste 
  • 5 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Oil to fry 

Method:

Mash the bananas, adding salt and sugar.

Add all the other mentioned ingredients and mix well.

Heat oil, make small balls from the dough and fry until they are golden brown. 

Serve hot with coffee or tea.

 

 

ANKITA’S MANGO PACHADI AND COFFEE PUDDING

Kelettira Ankita Poovaiah is an IT professional working in Bangalore. Her hobbies include baking and cooking, especially non-vegetarian Kodava cuisine. Ankita is proud to have inherited these interests from her grandmother Balliamanda Kammavva. She shares two recipes – a mango pachadi, and a coffee pudding.

Mango Pachadi

Ingredients:

1 fully ripe mango

½ coconut

½ tsp mustard

5 cloves garlic

½ inch ginger

5 green chillis

1 tomato

1 onion

1 strand curry leaves

3 strands coriander leaves

3 tablespoons curd

For tempering:

 

1 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp mustard

Method:

Grind coconut and mustard to a coarse paste.

Then add green chilli, onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and coriander leaves. Grind this mixture for a minute

Add ripe mango pieces and grind for 7-8 seconds

For tempering , heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry for one to two minutes.

Turn off the flame, then add the above ground mixture.

Add curd and garnish with ripe mango pieces.

 

 

 

COFFEE PUDDING 

Ingredients:

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp coffee powder

5 tsp sugar

1 tsp butter

 

For caramel:

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp water

Method :

Heat milk and sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then add the coffee powder.

Beat the eggs.

Mix the milk mixture (after it is cool) and eggs, and whisk for a while.

For caramel, heat a pan, add sugar and stir till golden in colour. Add water and stir.

To set the pudding, grease a bowl with butter and add the caramel. Pour in the milk and egg mixture.

Cover with foil and steam for 15 -20 minutes.

With a knife, release the sides of the pudding and remove to a pudding plate. Garnish with coffee powder if required. Keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes  before serving.

 

 

NALI’S COCONUT AND ALMOND PUDDING

Summer holidays or lockdown, Cheranda Nali Appayya shares a simple and delicious way to keep children busy! They will definitely love to make and eat this pudding.

Coconut and Almond Pudding

Ingredients: 

 2 cups thick coconut milk

1 tin condensed milk

1 tbsp gelatin

A few almonds

A bar of chocolate

Method:

Mix the gelatin in ¼ cup of water and melt it over gentle heat until dissolved.

Combine all the ingredients and blend in a mixie.

Pour it into a dish and refrigerate for 6 hours, or until set.

Roast the almonds on low heat.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the almonds in the melted chocolate and cool.

Arrange the chocolate coated almonds over the coconut pudding.

Enjoy!

 

 

NAMITHA LIVES IN THE US, BUT HER HEART BEATS FOR COORG

Namitha Achandira, who grew up in Muscat and lives in the United States, is rooted in Kodagu culture. Daughter of Dr Uday Achandira, Namitha has a Master of Fine Arts degree and works for an art and design institute. She is already popular in social media for her cookery and dance videos.

She has fond memories of her childhood vacations in India, and time spent with her grandmother, Kaiblira Muthamma. Spending time alongside her in the kitchen was a way to bond and learn more about Kodava cuisine and culture. Namitha shares a recipe for an all time favourite sweet, chiroti.

Chiroti

 

Ingredients:

For dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsps clarified butter or ghee

A pinch of salt

Water

For layering:

Butter

2-3 tbsps cornflour/ rice flour

For dusting:

Powdered sugar

Ground cardamom

 

Oil for deep frying

Method:

Combine the ingredients to make the dough. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 balls of equal sizes and roll each one out into even sized discs.

Whisk the butter and flour until you achieve a creamy spread. Keep it aside.

Layer the rolled dough, using a generous smearing of the creamed butter and flour mixture between. You can also do this with 3 layers. More layers will lead to flakier and crispier chirotis.

Once the layers are all stacked, roll it up into a tight log . Slice into even sized portions and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the butter to harden.


Next, take each portion and flatten it out. Be gentle with it so that the layers are all intact. Fry in hot oil, drain and dust with powdered sugar and cardamom.


Crispy, flaky, and yummy chirotis will taste great with badam milk as well!

APPLE CHUTNEY WITH CAPSICUM AND TOMATO

Cheranda Nali Appayya shares this unusual hot and sweet chutney recipe.

 Apple Chutney with Capsicum and Tomato

 

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 apple
  • ½ capsicum
  • 3 big ripe tomatoes
  • 4 green chilies
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 big onion
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 block of white jaggery (100gms)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp jeera
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup of refined oil

Method:

Cut the apple, capsicum and 2 tomatoes into cubes and set aside.

Chop the onion, garlic, green chilies into small pieces.

Boil the remaining tomato in ¼ cup of water. Strain the cooked tomato  and reserve the purée.

Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add jeera and curry leaves.

Add tomato purée, apple, onion, garlic, green chilies, jaggery, salt, vinegar,    capsicum, tomato sauce and red chilli powder.

Cook on a slow fire for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before bottling the chutney.

 

NALI’S KAIMA UNDE BARTHAD (DRY FRIED MEATBALLS)

Cheranda Nali Appayya says her love of cooking and sharing of recipes was inculcated in her by her paternal grandmother, Cheppudira Kaveramma Muthanna.

Nali shares her recipe for a hot favourite in Kodagu, Kaima Unde Barthad.

Dry Fried Meatballs

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 kg minced meat
  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece ginger
  • 6 green chillies
  • A small bunch of coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Juice of 1 small lime 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves
  • 1” piece of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp ghee

 

Method:

Wash the meat carefully.

Grind ginger and garlic.

Chop onions, coriander leaves and green chillies finely.

 Put the minced meat in a mixie and give it one pulse. Do not grind it too much.

 To the meat, add the fresh lime juice, turmeric, pepper, and salt to taste.

 Add the chopped ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

 Make even sized balls of the mixture and arrange them in a wide pan.

 Put in the cinnamon and cloves, then pour the ghee over the meatballs.

 Cover and cook it on low heat, without adding water.

 Stir the meatballs occasionally.

 When cooked through, uncover and fry meatballs to a golden brown.

 Remove the cloves and cinnamon before serving.