It all started here. In one of the recently bought kid’s rhymes CD, I came to know that “Nungu” or Toddy Palm seeds is called as “Ice Apple”. But I could not google and get enough info. To my surprise I was lead to a recipe called “Nungu Kuzhambu”. The ingredients, method of cooking, the spice mix and my all-time-favorite coconut milk made me try it out the next day.
But I first wanted to check the flavoring with a vegetable. So “adapting” will not be a nice word for my trial but I totally replaced the base ingredients and still it was so forgiving. I am sold for the end result.
My favorite vegetable is Peerkangai (Ridge gourd) and I thought the fleshy palm fruit can be replaced by a similar looking/tasting veggie. And the stupid me understood that aniseed is star anise but hurray this discovery of the variation gave me wonderful flavoring spice powder which I would definitely use it in many more recipes! The rest were almost the same.
Here comes my recipe!
Peerkangai / Ridge courd (peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces) – 3 cups
Thick coconut milk – 1 cup
The second coconut milk – 2 cups
Star anise – 4
Coriander seeds – 2 T spoon
Green chillies slit vertically – 3
Onion chopped – 1/2 cup
Cinnamon sticks broken into 1/4 cm length – 4/5 pieces
Peanut oil – 1 T spoon
Coriander and Curry leaves for garnish
How to make?
If you are using fresh coconut to extract milk do it with required water twice and collect the milk separately. The first milk would be very thick. The second one would be diluted.
In the thick bottom vessel dry roast the coriander seeds and star anise till you get a nice aroma or till the coriander seeds start poping. Let it cook and grind it to a fine powder in a spice/stone grinder. I ground it in a chutney jar in an Indian style mixie and I have fallen for the divine aroma when I opened the lid. Believe me, it was really wonderful. I think I can use it in almost all coocnut milk based veggie kootu herein after.
In the thick bottomed kadai add the oil and let it heat up. Add the cinnamon and fry till you get a nice aroma. Then add the chopped onions and saute till they turn pink. Add the green chillies and saute for another minute. Add the chopped peerkangai. Add half of the second coconut milk. Add required salt and let it cook covered for few minutes in high flame. After 5 minutes add the ground spice powder and the remaining second coconut milk and mix well. Let it cook thoroughly till the gravy thickens. Now add the first coconut milk and count 20 stirring continously. This will prevent the thick coconut milk from curdling and will give a creamy texture to the gravy. Switch off the stove and add the coriander and curry leaves and cover the vessel. Leave it for 15 minutes for all the belnding of favors. Serve it with appam or steamed rice.
We had it with a spicy tawa fried Brinjal slices and piping hot rice. It was simply divine.