Wednesday, January 16, 2008
They make my eyes water...onions and bygone days!!!
She is a great story teller, my grand mother. Our summer holidays were filled with fairy tales she weaved for us, grand children. I remember the magic in her voice when she used to transport us into a world of dreams and imagination , our eyes , ears and mouth wide open. Every day of summer holidays was a feast for us. Our favorite dishes spread for each meal , our grand mother was always planning what to cook for the next meal.On days when we were exhausted from stuffing our tiny bellies with the home cooked delicacies and we convinced her to not make dinner , she squatted beside us with her eyes filled with affection holding a large plate heaped with afternoon's left over rice. And we would know what would follow. She always had and still has a way to get things done, with out ever uttering a word. She would chop the baby onions and green chillies and mix it together with salt. Pour spoonfuls of oil ( oil which was used for frying papad) onto the rice and mix in the onions and chillies! The faint aroma would force itself into our nostrils and without any coaxing we six grand children would surround her with open mouths! Our Uncle too would pop in from nowhere , and would get his share. This would be accompanied by some interesting story...and in no time the plate would be clean.
Baby onions were always my favorite. It always enhanced the taste of any dish! though my favorite still is my grandmother's balls of rice enriched with the flavors of baby onions and green chillies...
An onion dish which is a family favorite is "ulli theeyal" It is a dish of god's own country , Kerala. Kerala is home to me ! though I am not a Malayalee. Malayalam , is a language close to my heart though its not my mother tongue! Born and brought up in Kerala, we imbibed kerala culture and language and of course food . so here goes my favorite "ulli theeyal" .ulli meaning baby onions or shallots... and theeyal meaning a burnt dish.
What you need
baby onions 250 gms
tamarind lemon size
grated coconut 1 cup
red chillies 5( according to your spice level)
coriander seeds 5 tbsps
fenugreek seeds 1tsp
cumin seeds 1tsp
urud dal 1tsp
oil for seasoning
mustard seeds 1tsp
curry leaves a few sprigs
salt to taste
Heat a pan and add fenugreek seeds, urad dal , cumin seeds, grated coconut , coriander seeds , red chillies 3-4 onions 1 sprig curry leaves. keep on mild heat and keep stirring until the while coconut turns brown and the aroma fills the whole kitchen.Allow this to cool and grind to a smooth paste. Mean while soak the tamarind in warm water to take the extract. Heat oil in a pan , splutter mustard seeds and add in curry leaves and diced baby onions. stir in till translucent . Add the tamarind extract and let it boil. Mix in the ground paste , add salt . let it cook for one minute and your ulli theeyal is ready to eat!
I submit this to RCI kerala cuisine hosted by curry bazar. and JFI Onions hosted by radhi's kitchen.