Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chembu Asthram (Taro/ Colacasia in ground Coconut Gravy)

Recipe No: 194
This is one of the best combination for Kanji/ Conjee/ Rice Porridge/ Rice Gruel and happened to be my Paternal Grandfathers favorite dish for dinner. As he used to say...
Rathriyil kanjiyum asthravum kudichittu kidannal enthoru sughama’ (It feels so good to sleep in the night after having Kanji and Asthram)
And so this used to be one of the common dinner item for us whenever he came over. And as he went for his eternal rest, my Mother reduced making this as most of us are in favor of eating Chappathis for dinner… but still, now and then it makes its appearance on the dinner table especially when I am there, as I am really crazy about Taro. Even though this can be made with most of the tubers this is my favorite…
Ingredients                                  Serves 4
  • Taro root/ Chembu………………..6 small (quartered; cut into big pieces)
  • Salt to taste
To grind into a smooth paste
  • Whole Dry Red Chilly…………….3-4
  • Shallots…………………………….….2
  • Garlic……………………………….….1 clove
  • Grated Coconut…………………....1/3 Cup
  • Cumin Powder………………….….1/4 Teaspoon (substitute with Cumin seeds also)
  • Turmeric Powder……………….…1/2 Teaspoon
For tempering
  • Coconut Oil………………………....1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds……………………..1/2 Teaspoon
  • Shallot sliced………………………..1 big
  • Curry Leaves………………………..1 Sprig
Method of Preparation
  1. Add the Dry Red Chilly to a blender and pulse it two times. Stop and remove the big  Chilly skins and keep it aside for tempering.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to grind into the blender together with the rest of the dry Red Chilly and grind into a smooth paste. Keep it aside till ready to be used.
  3. Wash the cubed Taro root till the Water runs clear. Add 1 cup Water and boil it on high heat. Once boiled, reduce the heat and let it cook.
  4. Once the pieces are almost cooked, add Salt and let it boil once more.
  5. Add the ground paste and mix well. Let it boil for another minute.
  6. With a spoon or the spatula, mash two or three taro pieces. This will make the curry thick.
  7. Switch off the heat and keep it covered.
  8. In another pan, heat Oil on medium high heat and splutter the Mustard Seeds.
  9. Add the Dry Red Chilly skins that we have reserved while grinding, followed by Shallots and Curry Leaves. Saute till brown.
  10. Add this tempering on top of the prepared Asthram and close the vessel.
  11. Let it sit for 30 minutes before stirring and serving warm with Kanji.
Notes:
  • Use Water at room temperature (not hot/ warm) while cooking Taro to ensure even cooking.
  • There are chances for the Water to boil over while cooking Taro. So once boiled, keep the lid half open through the rest of the cooking.
  • To test whether the Taro roots are cooked, just pierce it with a toothpick or a pointed knife. If it goes through, it is cooked.
  • Taro root won’t take too long to cook. After boiling, 3-5 minutes is enough.
  • Take care not to overcook the Taro root as it loses its texture.
  • Don't make this dish too watery. But take into consideration that since we are mashing some of the pieces, it will thicken as it sits.
  • This can be made with other type of Yams too… like Chena (Elephant Yam), Kaachil etc:
 




Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

2 comments:

Vimitha Anand said...

Easy to make.. and looks tasty too...

Priya said...

YUmm, thats a delicious chembu curry...

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