Turmeric otherwise known as Manjal [மஞ்சள்] in Tamil is very well known all over the world for its culinary and medicinal uses. As well all know it is widely used in its powder form but we hardly use it in its original form in cooking.
Erode, a small agricultural/industrial place in Tamil Nadu is known as the "Turmeric City" as it is one of the largest producers of turmeric. During Pongal festival, fresh turmeric bulbs that are harvested is offered to to the Sun God and disposed off in the flowing river water [probably to clean the river water]. The rest of the produce is boiled, dried and powdered. It keeps very well in its powder form and used widely.
In India, turmeric is linked to our everyday life from prayers to cooking to disinfecting the house.
Recently there has been a research launch to analyse wether Curcumin can improve the drug response of bowel cancer patients. Often I do wonder how our ancestors knew about these plants and their uses even when there was no research facilities available.... it is surely a mystery..:))
Now coming to the recipe, I found some fresh turmeric bulbs in my local Indian store and I could not believe my eyes. I didn't know what to do with it but somehow wanted to incorporate this fresh bulb into our diet. Now a days there is always a question of adulteration of almost all cooking powders, so fresh produce is always the best.
Good old idlis came to my rescue. Idlis forms a wonderful base to which different ingredients can be added and a completely new dish comes out of it ... so here it is..
For the turmeric mix:
Fresh turmeric [peeled and grated]: 175 gms.
Small onions : a handful.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig.
Mustard seeds / cumin : each 1 tsp.
Fennel powder: 1 tsp.
Cardamom powder: 1 pinch.
Ginger powder: 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Asafoetida powder: 1 pinch.
Jaggery : 3 tsp.
Gingelly oil: 2 tbsp.
1. Heat the oil in a small non stick vessel and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.
2. Add the chopped onions and curry leaves. Saute for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
3.Add the grated fresh turmeric and all the powders. Mix well.
4. Add a splash of water and reduce the flame to a simmer.
5.Close the lid and cook for 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally.
6.The colour of the mix would have turned into a dark brownish yellow.
7.Check salt and add the jaggery. Mix well and remove from heat.
Store in a clean container and keep in the refrigerator. Use when necessary.
For the idlis: makes around 10-12 idlis
Idli batter: 3 cups or around 750 mls.
Fresh turmeric mix: 3 tbsp.
Fresh coriander: 2-3 tbsp.
Salt : to taste.
1.Place the idli pan on medium flame and pour water in the pan.
2.Heat the water to a simmer. Oil the idli plates.
3.Meanwhile combine the turmeric mix, chopped coriander leaves and the idli batter thoroughly.
4.Check salt. Pour the batter onto the oiled idli plates and place it in the pan.
5.Cover the idli cooker and cook for 12-15 minutes until the idlis are springy to touch.
Transfer the idlis into a seperate container and keep warm until serving time.
I tasted this chutney in one of doctor colleague's house. It is a very simple chutney with just 3 ingredients. Usually it is made very spicy by adding 5-6 chillies but I have used only 2 chillies according to my taste. You can make it as spicy as you want.
For the raw tomato chutney:
Large ripe tomatoes: 3.
Red chillies: 2.
Garlic pods: 2.
Salt: to taste.
Gingelly oil: 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig.
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Asafoetida powder: 1/4 tsp.
1.Wash the tomatoes and chop into fine pieces. Grind the chillies, garlic and chopped tomatoes to a very smooth paste.
2.Transfer the contents into a bowl. Add the required amount of salt to taste and mix well.
3.Heat the oil in a small pan and splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the asafoetida powder.
4.Add to the chutney and mix well.
Serve with warm turmeric idlis.
Notes: You can use this mix to make rice mix or serve it aside curd rice. You can also make dosas with the batter mix.
Substitute ginger powder with fresh grated ginger. You can also add cubed potatoes [2 medium] and convert the whole dish into potato tumeric poriyal.
The tomato chutney can be kept for upto 2 days in the fridge. The spicier it is the more tastier the flavour of the chutney.