The men in my family have not shied away from cooking. I have always seen my dad make a cup of tea, chop vegetables, have the best combination of vegetables to make some recipes. My husband making the crispiest godhambu dosa, fragrant rasam and sambhar and of course tempting us with a colourful tri capsicum dahi chutney. Both of them have happily taught their better-halves the tips the trick and all the know-how. So that part of the partnership is fine. It is one of these recipes which my dad taught amma and she passed it on to me that I am writing about today.
Recipes from appa- Porichakozhambu
Appa had a difficult childhood. Losing his father early on and generally, poor war times did not make it easy for him. Hence the recipes that he talks about using the absolute local ingredients yet made tasty. There is one thing about Appa’s recipes, they turn me into a fire breathing dragon. He likes them spicy and tangy. He manages to take that spice level even today.
When monsoon starts outside appa will come home with some of his favourite veggies like snake gourd, winter melon, elephant yam, bitter gourd and long beans. Then he will tell mum that we will make poricha kozhambu. He will help her clean and cut most of the vegetables except the elephant yam (that is itchy). Mum will work her magic and a huge portion of the curry will be there for dinner.
This poricha kozhambu
While having this spicy, peppery tangy gravy he will tell us about his time at Mancombu and how each little thing was precious. I have heard this pretty much every monsoon. I enjoyed these stories as those torrential rains tore through the state and with the first wind the power went off ( that is quite a regular thing in Kerala).
The recent rainy winter days made me miss this recipe a lot. My family has never had this before and were happy to try it for Father’s day. My version is, however, quite different from amma’s one, it is much toned down ( check the recipe notes for the hotter addition) Unlike the popular poricha kozhambu recipes that you will commonly encounter, this recipe has no added coconut. The fiery gravy is a blend of black pepper and lentils. Together with the tamarind, they make this vegetable curry a unique combination.
Here are two more Indian curries that are unique
- Rosep Aon – Naga curry
- Dudh shukto – Bengali curry
Try this poricha kozhambu with red rice or with spinach bread, especially on a cold winter day. The recipe does keep well for a week in the fridge and frozen for 3 months. So make it in a huge batch and enjoy the lip-smacking pepper gravy from my father’s collection.
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Stay safe and see you soon.