The depth of flavour that the tamarind sauce adds to the plain plantain is to be best tried in vazhakai pulikuthi upperi. This vegan, gluten-free, fibre-rich recipe is a perfect pair for lunch or dinner.
Growing up in my grandmother’s kitchen as a toddler, the bonding with food is more about down-to-earth cooking that feeds the huge joint family. There was no room for frills, as there were too many to cater to. With instructions to prep the veggies for the day, I have seen my grandmother tackle the huge pots and pans with the ease of a kungfu warrior. Slim tall woman against that huge wok looked like an impossible task, but from her came my base for that classic tamil brahmin cooking.
I am thankful I don’t tackle that huge wok but still love to mimic the actions with the hope that it creates the same flavour she had for her recipes. I can’t remember if I have seen her make pulikuthi upperi but each time I have a bit it is a flood of her memories. So here is my version of vazhakkai pulikuthi upperi.
Understanding tamil brahmin cooking style
The migratory wave brought Tamil brahmins over to the Kerala border. Concentrating around a few areas like Palakkad and Trivandrum, the tamil brahmins (tambrahms) adapted their recipes to what was available around the new local area. This developed into a unique style of cooking that we love to call tambrahm cooking. The uniqueness of this cuisine comes from the expert incorporation of coconut and coconut-based products. Along with the mangoes, bananas, squashes, yams and tubers, this cooking style developed as a unique no onion no garlic one.
On this blog, we do have a few of these recipes.
What is pulikuthi upperi?
Upperis comes in many forms the stir-fries that add variety to the meal. Served on the side these upperis pair well with spicy curries. However, there are many other mild Indian curries that need a lovely pairing. The pulikuthi upperi is one such that adds flavour to the kootu and molagutals. Pulikuthi upperi is made with starchier vegetables. The tamarind and the masala powder added to the upperi make the combination perfect. Roasted to perfection the starchy veggies have a soft centre and crispy exterior.
What vegetables work well with pulikuthi upperi?
Predominantly you will find pulikuthi upperi made with yams, raw banana or plantain, okra or a combination of these vegetables. This is because the sauce is absorbed well and the coating sticks perfectly to the vegetable. You can use banana stem, colocasia, taro root, pumpkin, potato and sweet potato too to make this upperi.
Gather the ingredients for this vazhakkai upperi.
Today’s version of pulikuthi upperi is made with raw bananas and small brown chickpeas. The flavour comes from the podi that is sprinkled to roast the veggies and the tang from the tamarind.
Here is the step-by-step recipe that you can save and follow when you are making this. Let us know in the comments what improvements you will like to see so we can make changes too. By the way, you can pin this recipe directly to your pinboards from here.
Vazhakkai pulikuthi upperi
- 1 Kadai or thick bottomed frying pan
- 2 medium raw banana
- 1 cup chickpea cooked brown chickpea.
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 pinch Asafoetida
- 1 gooseberry sized tamarind
- 1/4 cup drinking water
- 1 tbsp raw rice
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 mustard seeds
- 4 curry leaves
- 1 dry red chillies
- 1/4 tsp Urad Dal
- 1/4 tsp Channa Dal
- Dry roast the ingredients for upperi podi.
- Cool the mic and grind into a coarse mix.
- Set this mix aside till needed.
- Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes. Crush the pulp and extract a thick paste
- Set this paste aside till needed for the upperi.
- Into the khadai add the oil and ingredients for seasoning.
- Set on medium heat and let these ingredients roast to a golden brown.
- Add the chopped raw banana and cooked chickpeas.
- Add salt, turmeric powder and mix well.
- Add the prepared tamarind paste and a bit of water. Cover and cook this mix.
- Once the raw banana is fork tender, add the upperi podi and mix well.
- Stir and cook this till the banana gets coated well and gently roasted.
- Once roasted, the pulikuthi upperi is ready to serve.
- Serve with rice and curry of choice.
Serving ideas for the pulikuthi upperi
Pulikuthi upperi is served as a side to a South Indian meal. However, it is preferred to be served with curries like kootu and molagutal and cooked matta rice. Paired with payaru kanji, this side is a delicious light meal. Since my kids are used to a diverse kitchen, they think this is perfect when wrapped in Lebanese flatbread with some micro greens or salad leaves. You could also press it down into a sandwich with some feta, that sauce will not fail you.
The Tamil brahmin cooking and its combinations are one that you should give a go in your kitchen. They transform your vegetarian meals in a very different way. If you have tested our molagutal recipe or this pulikuthi upperi, let us know in the comments and rate the recipe. We would love for you to stay and subscribe. Also, hop on to our youtube channel and take a look. Stay safe and keep in touch.