Saturday, May 28, 2011
Vendaikkai mandi in microwave
Chettinad cooking is one of the unique South Indian cuisines. Most dishes are hot, pungent and spicy with generous amounts of spices added to the ingredients. Most often the spices are freshly ground. Garlic and onion are integral part of many dishes.
Most dishes are usually eaten with cooked rice. Vendaikkai mandi is one such gravy dish that complements and compliments steamed rice.
Mandi is the starch rich water that is obtained while rinsing the rice to cleanse the rice prior to cooking. The vendaikkai (okra/ladies' fingers) is cooked in this starch water along with spices and onions in a tamrind based gravy. The 'arisi mandi' makes this dish tasting unique and delectable.
You may need quite an amount of this arisi mandi. Hence you may choose to prepare this dish on days that you soak rice for idlis or dosais, when you will be soaking about two or more cups of rice.
10-12 numbers okras
15 shallots peeled and sliced in strips (keep aside about 5 whole for tempering)
12 pods garlic peeled and chopped
4 green chillis slit lengthwise (reduce if you cannot take the heat)
1 large tomato
1 big gooseberry size tamarind
1 large cup 'arisi mandi' (see below how to prepare arisi mandi)
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt as required
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
few fresh curry leaves
5 shallots that were kept aside in the list of ingredients
How to prepare arisi mandi:
Take 2 cups of rice in a bowl. Rinse lightly once in running water. Drain and add a cup of water to the rice.
Using your fingers give the rice a thorough rinse with this water, pressing hard to extract the starch. Transfer the starch rich water to another bowl. Repeat once again with about 1/2 a cup of fresh water. Add this to the earlier extract.
This is arisi mandi. This will be later added to the gravy while cooking.
Wash and pat the okras dry. Cut them in 1" long pieces.
Soak the tamarind in a little amount of the arisi mandi. Extract the pulp and keep aside.
Chop the tomato and keep aside.
Place oil in a microwave proof bowl. Add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Heat on 100% power for 2 minutes without lid on. Allow the mustard seeds to crackle.
Add the whole and sliced shallots, garlic, green chillis, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Cook again on 100% power for 1 minute until the shallots are shining.
Now add the okra pieces. Toss them in the oil well and add the tamarind pulp. cover and cook on 80% microwave for 4 minutes. It is alright if this may result in the okras being cooked slightly dry.
Add the salt, tomatoes and the arisi mandi. Cook covered on 80% power for 6 minutes. By this time the tomatoes would have cooked in a pulp and the gravy would have thickened slightly.
This gravy has to be medium thick. If it is watery, return to microwave on 100% power for a further minute.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
Usually mochchai kottai, which is tamil name for field beans and potatoes can be added to this mandi.
Typically in Nagaraththar homes manga vaththal (sun dried raw mango pieces) will be available through the year. They soak some of those mango pieces and reduce the quantity of tamarind for variety.
Adding tomatoes is not a must though it adds colour and body to the mandi.
Okras are very rich in calcium, about 40 grams stirfry has a good amount of calcium in it. Thus, this microwave cooked mandi is being sent to Srivalli's Microwave Easy Cooking Event being hosted by Lakshmi of Kitchen Chronicles asking for Calcium Rich dishes.