Friday, July 8, 2011

Back in Action with Mom's Fiery Hot 'Korivi Kaaram'

What is it about Birthday months? I know it’s not just me… there are blogs, groups on Facebook and many gazillion articles/posts dedicated to people who hate their Birthdays. Ok, I just stumbled across a website for people with Schizoaffective Disorder and guess what? A lot of them seem to hate their Birthdays! Hmmm… So without further drama, I just hope this Birthday comes and goes by in a rush without me having the time to sit and sulk and agonize over all that I have and haven’t done in the last year. I do enough agonizing on a daily basis anyway. So please God, cut me some slack here. I don’t want a birthday trip to Goa, or new clothes, or a birthday cake or any expensive gift. I just want to have a good day. A normal, simple, good day. Not an anti-climactic Birthday. I’m not saying this for my sake; oh I positively revel in depression and love wallowing in self-pity and crying copious amounts of tears… Nothing like a good weep to make you feel better. But I so don’t want the people I love trying hard to make this day special and then discovering all their efforts to cheer me up have been in vain… That’s not fair.

So God? One good uneventful day? Please?

Ok, so these Birthday Blues aren’t the only reason I haven’t posted anything here in ages… I have the usual list of reasons to justify this long hiatus. Travelling, visiting friends and family (which I seem to have done a LOT of in the past year!), sheer laziness, and of course the biggest reason of all – I have finally got back to work. Yup, after all those moments of self-doubt and thinking I’m done with TV and media, and considering psychology as an alternate career (Yeah, I know… I give introspection a new definition), I have sold out and am back to doing the job I love to hate…erm… hate to love. Whatever. I mean this is what I’m trained to do, this is what I know best, and maybe, after all, 30 is not the right age to think of going down another path altogether. Unless its writing a book. Which everyone seems to be doing. Or writing a film script. Which even more people seem to be busy doing!
So anyhow, work means I’m back to being a “Weekend” Epicurean. I haven’t cooked much in the past few weeks, and when I did stir something up, was too tired or busy to actually click a picture for the blog. Therefore, I’m breaking the long silence with this fiery Red Chilli chutney made by Mom on my visit home last month…
(Pics courtesy - my cousin Neha)
Dried Red Chillies – 15
Tamarind – One fist sized ball, deseeded
Garlic cloves – 1/2 cup
Curry Leaves – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Firstly, there is no cooking involved. Just a lot of work-out for your arms!
Remove the stalks of the dried red chillies, peel the garlic cloves, wash and clean the curry leaves with a soft cloth, and check the tamarind for seeds or pieces of skin/ fibre.
This chutney is best made in a traditional stone mortar and pestle. Just keep adding all the ingredients in small quantities and keep pounding into a paste. Don’t add any water or oil. Keep on pounding till all the ingredients are in the mortar and the ensuing chutney resembles a coarse paste. This could take a good 20min! Scoop it out and store in a glass jar and refrigerate. This stays for a couple of months at least.
Kitchen Tips:
Since a large quantity of garlic is required for this, my mom has a secret method to peel them quickly and easily. Rub the garlic cloves with turmeric powder/haldi and keep them in the sun for a few hours. Then just rub them between your hands and watch the dried peels just fall off! This version of Korivi Karam is a specialty of our house. Most people make this with fresh red chillies and lots of oil! It is called Mirapapala Patchadi and is more like a pickle that can be stored for a couple of years at least.
The way I like it:
Tastes best when mixed with some hot steaming rice and a spoonful of ghee or oil. But beware! Heat Alert! This Chutney can burn the roof of your mouth and make a hole in your intestines! So go easy... or mix it with some beaten curd when accompanied by rotis, idlis or dosas.
Since this chutney was actually made in a mortar & pestle, I am super glad to be sending this off to Srav's Roti Patchadi/Chutney Round Up.