Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thakkali Kai kootu / Raw tomato curry

My mother used to make this kootu with raw" nattu thakkali". We used to eat with hot rice, ghee and puli inji. A simple and satisfying meal. When I saw tomatillos in the supermarkets here,I bought them home thinking they were thakkali kai. I was all excited to make the same kootu.

It was an epic fail, i have to admit!

a) they were unbelievably tart and
b) it became so mushy! But the nerd in me did not want to accept that failure!

I learnt later that the tomatillos are not the same as raw tomatoes that we get in India. They are widely used in Mexican cooking for making salsas and other sauces which need the tartness! You learn something every day!

Recently, we visited a farm in sunny southernArizona, where there wide fields with okra, bell peppers, black eyed peas, beans etc. I hand picked some regular green tomatoes fresh from the plants. I wanted to try the same tomato kootu this and it was delicious.

So, here is the recipe.

Get ready

  • 4 green tomatoes/ thakkali Kai
  • 1/3 cup dry moong dal, washed and  pressure cooked with a little turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu
  • Couple of squirts of asafetida
  • Curry leaves few
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste

To grind

  •  2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 green chili ( more as per your taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds


  • Wash & chop green tomatoes into medium sized chunks
  • Cook and mash dal and keep aside
  • Grind everything under grind with little water
  • In a pan, add oil and do tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and asafetida.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for few seconds.

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  • Add a little salt, reduce flame and cook the tomatoes covered till soft.

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  • Add the mashed dal and little water.
  • Adjust salt to taste and let the tomatoes and dal come to a boil.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and cook for 3-4 secs.

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  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with rice, rasam or chapathi!

What's  your experience cooking  with tomatillos?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vegetarian Enchilada

During my trip to the grocery store, I picked up a bag of Corn tortillas by mistake! I usually make a simple cheese quesadilla for my kids and was wondering what else to do these guys. Turns out there are lots of options including cutting them in strips or triangles and making tortilla chips, enchiladas etc. I decided to make enchilada's!

These babies are so hearty and filling with black beans, spinach and corn. I used the store bought enchilada sauce. Las Palmas is what I used, but if you want to make your own enchilada sauce, there are wonderful recipes available all over the net!

Get Ready ( Serves 2-3)

  • 1 can of black beans ( 15 oz ) washed and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium sized onion chopped
  • 1 tso cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • a pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 green chili ( optional)
  • 1 can eenchiladasauce
  • Corn tortillas ( i used small)
  • Blend of mexican cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Cilantro/ black olives/ green onions for garnishing


  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • In a skillet add olive oil and saute the onions till translucent. 
  • Add the green chillies for heat if you choose to use it
  • Add the chopped spinach and saute for few secs.

  • Add the back beans, corn, spice powders and salt to taste

  • Add a little water and then cook, stirring in between till the mixture is dry and come without sticking to the pan.Turn the heat off. Our tortilla stuffing is ready.

  • Take 7-8 corn tortillas and wrap them in a wet paper towel. Microwave them for 30 sec . This will make them soft and easy to roll with the stuffing.

  • Sprak your baking dish lightly with cooking spray or brush with some olive oil.
  • Spread couple of table spoons of the enchilada sauce at the bottom.

  • Spoon a small portion of your black bean, corn and spinach mixture in the centr of the soft corn tortilla. Roll them carefully and keep the seam side down into the baking dish. Do not over stuff them.  Use all the stuffing and the tortillas to fill your pan. You can see some of my tortillas got ripped, but it's OK!

  • Generously pour the enchilada sauce on the mixture.
  • Sprinkle cheese all over the sauce and bake till golden and bubbling. It roughly takes 25 -30 mins.

  • Make slices and serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole. I had only sour cream on hand to indulge!
  • Garnish with cilantro or sliced green onions and balck olives. It is pretty obvious that i did not have any of those on hand:))

Enjoy Enchillada and play with your creativity for what you roll those tortillas with. I did not want mine to be too cheesy and did not add cheese in the stuffing.