1. Pressure cook, peel and smash the potatoes. For better taste, arrange for several nubile young women to smash them with their dainty feet.

2. Heat oil in a kadai.

3. Finely chop green chillies and ginger and keep aside.

4. In hot oil, add mustard seeds, udad dal, curry leaves, chopped green chillies, ginger.

5. Once udad dal turns golden, add smashed potatoes, salt and saute well.

6. Add lemon juice and freshly grated coconut as a garnish, if you like.

Recipe Source: Ramalakshmi is a 79 year old homemaker who has lived in Bombay for most of her life and believes in reading the two full newspapers, including all the gossip in Bombay Times and Mumbai Mirror.

If you want to see a more detailed recipe that starts right with growing and harvesting all the fauna required for this dish, then head over to Nandita’s excellent blog here

1. Chop Yam (that big muddy thing) into medium sized pieces or used the ready chopped and packaged yam available in supermarkets. Cut them into smaller pieces though, before using for recipe.

2. In a little ghee, saute a handful of moong dal till lightly golden.

3. In water, boil moong dal with a pinch of turmeric, once almost done add yam pieces and boil till both are cooked.

4. In a teaspoon of oil, fry dhania, udad dal, black pepper, jeera and grind with coconut to a fine paste.

5. Add the paste to the cooked yam-dal mix and bring to a simmer, adding required quantity of salt.

6. In coconut oil, temper mustard seeds, udad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida and transfer this over the molagoottal. Then learn how to pronounce molagoottal. You must start to pronounce the “g” in molagoottal and then at the very last moment, like a cowboy reining in his horse, stop yourself from pronouncing it.

Recipe sourceRajeswari is a multitasking superwoman who managed 3 (male!) kids, 5 inter city transfers and a tough bank job for over 3 decades while still managing to squeeze in time to cook unbelievably delicious (and slightly spicy) Tanjore cuisine at home.

1. In a cup of water, soak - 2 tsp chana dal and 1 tsp rice for about half hour.

2. Grind to a fine paste: 1/2 a coconut scraped, curry leaves, coriander, 4 green chillies and the soaked chana dal and rice.

3. Mix this paste into roughly 2 cups of curds beaten violently

4. Wash and finely chop 1 bunch of spinach leaves stolen from the mouths of neighbourhood cows

5. In a kadai, temper mustard seeds, udad dal and asafoetida. Add chopped spinach with a pinch of salt. Saute for a few minutes until wilted. Sprinkle some water and let the spinach cook thoroughly. Partially cooked spinach is fit only for cows. Wait, even well-cooked spinach is only fit for cows, but we shall make an exception with Morkeerai

6. Add the curds with spice paste to the cooked spinach and salt as required. Once this starts frothing, remove from flame and garnish with pure coconut oil. Dont let the curds boil or it will split.

Recipe source: Rajeswari is a multitasking superwoman who managed 3 (male!) kids, 5 inter city transfers and a tough bank job for over 3 decades while still managing to squeeze in time to cook unbelievably delicious (and slightly spicy) Tanjore cuisine at home. 

1. Soak a large lemon sized ball of tamarind in 1 cup water and get the extract.

2. In the extract, add required quantity of sambar powder (2-3 tsp), salt and a little jaggery and soak for 30 minutes.

3. Heat gingelly(sesame) oil. Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, chana dal. Once the dal browns, add the tamarind mixture.

4. Bring this to a simmer. You may read a few Ananda Vikatan jokes in the meanwhile. 

5. Heat some gingelly oil on the side, add roughly a tsp of omam seeds (ajwain). As this splutters, add it to the simmering kozhambu, letting it boil for a few minutes so that the kozhambu gets flavoured with the omam.

6. Serve with rice. If there are any annoying crying babies around, give them this instead of gripe water. 

Recipe source: Rajeswari is a multitasking superwoman who managed 3 (male!) kids, 5 inter city transfers and a tough bank job for over 3 decades while still managing to squeeze in time to cook unbelievably delicious (and slightly spicy) Tanjore cuisine at home. 

1. Soak tamarind in hot water and make tamarind extract (roughly 2 cups). Be generous with the tamarind, like maamas are with sarcasm. 

2. Peel sambar onions (Madras onions/shallots) and a few garlic cloves. If the mention of the “g” word makes you perform all manner of exorcism style hand maneouvres with a “shiva shiva” soundtrack, just ignore it. Vatthal kuzhambu tastes insanely better with a spot of garlic. If you prefer to stay away from it, like vampires tend do, fine with us. 

3. Heat gingelly oil (preferably) and add mustard seeds, few fenugreek seeds, curry leaves. If you find anyone using any oil other than Gingelly (sesame), take the adai pan from here and clout them on the head. 

4. Fry the onions and garlic until they  are cooked. 

5. Fry the sambar powder (recipe below) for a bit.

6. Add tamarind extract and bring to a simmer with a pinch of asafoetida and salt.

To make Vatthakozhambu with Sundakkai etc.-

Fry the sundakkai or other vathal. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds in the same oil. Once seeds splutter, fry the sambar podi. Add tamarind extract, salt and asafoetida. Bring to a boil and remove from flame.

Here’s the sambar podi recipe:

  • Few small Asafoetida chunks
  • 200 grams chana dal
  • 200 grams tur dal 
  • 1/2 kilo coriander seeds
  • 1/2 kilo red chillies
  • Few tsp Mustard seeds
  • 200 grams fenugreek seeds

1. Fry the Asafoetida chunks in oil until they puff up. Keep aside.

2. Dry roast all the other ingredients until the dals are golden brown.

3. Once cooled, grind to fine powder.

Recipe Source: Saraswati, when not unleashing brilliant alapanas in Karaharapriya, specializes in a unique fusion of Tanjore and Palakkad cuisine

1. Pressure cook 3/4 cup tur dal with turmeric powder and keep it aside. You can alternatively attempt to boil the dal directly on the stove top. But the sun will turn into a white dwarf by then and the Earth will become very cold so your effort might go in vain.

2. Soak a large lemon sized ball of tamarind in water and extract the pulp. Or go the NRI way we mentioned in an earlier post.

3. For masala, which is the key to a good arachuvitta sambar: Coriander seeds (a big handful), chana dal (a small handful), dried red chillies (as many as the lining of your stomach can tolerate, but usually 4-5 for the above quantity of seeds - dry roast and grind to fine paste along with 2 handfuls of coconut and some water. You may choose to add a few black peppercorns to this if you want to make Rasavaangi (Rasavaangi, not rasavaandhi, is a dish that can make even brinjal taste palatable)

4. Cut vegetables of choice (onions / drumstick / carrot / radish) and boil this till done in the tamarind extract.

5. Mix in the cooked and mashed tur dal along with the ground masala and salt as per taste. As soon as this comes to a boil, remove from the stove, garnish with curry leaves, coriander leaves.

6. Heat some oil in a pan and temper some mustard seeds and a few fenugreek seeds. Once mustard seeds splutter, turn it over the sambar.

7. Serve hot with love and steamed rice. A “pototo roast” on the side is considered ideal.

Recipe Source: Saraswati, when not unleashing brilliant alapanas in Karaharapriya, specializes in a unique fusion of Tanjore and Palakkad cuisine

Rasam Powder

  • 3 cups red chillies
  • 2 cups coriander seeds
  • 3/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cumin seeds
  • Curry leaves (optional)

1. Dry roast the above and finely powder it in mixer. If you feel a bit frisky you can sniff it and go into a sneezing fit. After that, you can confirm with your grandmom if snot is ecchu or patthu or some unholy combination of both

2. Soak tamarind in water for sometime and remove extract from it. If you are a wimpy NRI, you can use Tamarind concentrate that was made from tamarind trees that grew during the Jurassic age

3. Boil this tamarind extract with chopped tomato, green chillies, salt and ginger (and if you are a bold modern liberal pseudo-secular Tambrahm, along with crushed garlic).

4. Add rasam powder as made above, thin tur dal and bring to a boil.

5. Remove from stove and temper with some asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds in ghee. Add to rasam.

6. You can also make a thinner rasam by not using any dal. If you make thick rasam, annoying maamas will keep saying that they couldn’t make out if it was sambar or rasam a few million times. 

7. If you use garlic, you can omit the use of asafoetida in tempering. It is a unique skill to fool seasoned maamas into thinking that they are eating something without that vile tamasik substance called garlic. 

If you are serving rasam on a plantain leaf, an additional skill required is the ability to construct several transient Hoover dams with the edges of your palms while rapidly making rotatory/sucking movements and sounds

Recipe Source: Saraswati, when not unleashing brilliant alapanas in Karaharapriya, specializes in a unique fusion of Tanjore and Palakkad cuisine

Roast in a little oil:

  • Scraped Coconut
  • Red chillies
  • Fenugreek seeds (just a few seeds unless you want the morkozhambu to taste as bad as a Guinness)
  • Chana dal

1. Grind this to a fine paste and add to curds that have been violently beaten along with salt.

2. Sprinkle that chemical warfare agent asafoetida and curry leaves to this.

3. Temper in coconut oil, mustard seeds, very few fenugreek seeds, sauté otherwise useless vegetables such as pumpkin / Bangalore Katthrikai / lady’s finger until soft and add to the curd mixture.

Recipe source: Rajeswari is a multitasking superwoman who managed 3 (male!) kids, 5 inter city transfers and a tough bank job for over 3 decades while still managing to squeeze in time to cook unbelievably delicious (and slightly spicy) Tanjore cuisine at home. The recipe above takes less than 5 minutes to make. 

Wash and soak the following in water for around 2 hours

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • ¾ cup tur dal
  • ¾ cup chana dal
  • 2-3 tsp udad dal

Grind the following roughly in a mixer. If you are badass, you can grind it manually using a big stone pestle. 

  • Red chillies
  • Green chillies
  • Curry leaves
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt
  • Patience
  • Lots of patience

1. Add the soaked and drained rice and dal to the above and grind to a slightly coarse paste adding some water if required. The batter must be thicker than dosa batter. if you apply it on your face, it must scrape your skin off. 

2. To this batter, you can add fresh scraped coconut or chopped onions. Coconuts may be procured for free by visiting the nearest Ganesha temple and competing with the local professional offering coconut pilferer youth

3. Use this batter to make thick dosas. Don’t use pusillanimous devices like Teflon pans. Special Adai griddles are heavy enough to have a discernible gravitational field. 

4. Each Adai will take roughly 5 minutes to cook until crisp and golden. Make sure the people you are making it for eat it right away. It is a crime to eat cold Adai. TBRCooks recommends that the hot adai griddle be used to smack guilty parties in the face.  

Recipe Source: Meenakshi paati is a 90 year old mafia boss lady of the kitchen and has, since she was 16 years old, gently persuaded assorted ingredients to collaborate and become dishes delicious enough to melt the stone hearts of a large number of grumpy “The Hindu” reading, Sobers loving maamaas over the years