They say" Every picture has a story", so does mine. I recall about the very first lunch invitation I had given to my friends. They had been longing to taste an authentic South Indian delicacy prepared by me. I always tried to evade their requests saying that I didn't have a proper kitchen set up and also didn't have enough utensils for serving 5-6 guests as I was a spinster. Once I got married and was settled with my husband my cooking skills started refining. I had even enough dishes for serving food, thanks to my relatives who gifted us an entire Borosil dinner set. I took a chance to invite guests over for lunch. My first lunch invite given to any guest.
What was on the menu then?? - Purely South Indian. A meal usually served for lunch in a Tam-Brahm family.
I have always been in love with colours and I somehow wanted all the bright colours in my food.
Main Course : Vatral kozambhu, Parupu Usali served with steamed basmati rice.
Add on : Curd, Papad, Garlic pickle.
Dessert : Mango Milk Shake
Vatral Kuzhambu is an authentic South Indian speciality. Vatrals are nothing but sun dried vegetables, which are added to this spicy, slightly sour lentil gravy. Also spelled as (Vatha Kuzhambu / Vathal Kulambu / Vatra Kuzhambu / Vatha Kulambu / Vatha kolambu / Vatha kolumbu). I decided to make this one with Shallots/small onions( It is called 'chinna vengayam' in tamil). This happens to be my favourite among all vegetables.
When you peel these onions they never make you cry. The taste is just intoxicating when cooked well. Vatral Kuzambhu has a riot of flavours in it. The tangy flavour of the tomato and tamarind juice, red chilly to spice it and the beautiful golden brown small onions that absorb in the dish.
The reddish brown colour seemed a perfect contrast and the look of the dish was enhanced when I served it in a Borsoil dish . The aroma of the cooked tamarind and the tomato pulp and the sambhar powder wafted in the air. I knew then that the dish looked and smelt exactly how my mom prepared it at home.
The garnishing with curry leaves and coconut added the soft touch to the dish. This was used as a side dish to be served along with steamed basmati rice.
I then made another curry dish as an accompaniment. It is a dry side dish that complements well with the tangy Vatral Kozambhu. I made ' Parupu usali' made with drumstick leaves and lentils( Pigeon Pea/Toor dal/Tavaram parupu in Tamil and Brown chickpea/ Chana dal/Kadalai parupu in Tamil).
The yellow colour imparted by the lentils and the green colour of the Moringa leaves/Drumstick leaves along with the left over skin of half ground red chillies made it look perfect for a combination with rice and vatral kozambhu. The pulses/ lentils were half ground, soft and steam cooked along with the drumstick leaves that are a rich source of Iron. The aroma of this dish was enhanced by asafoetida/hing/perungayam added as a seasoning along with whole dried red chillies. The dry yet soft texture of this curry doesn't mask the taste of the vatral kozambhu.
I served this curry in a white borosil wide mouth bowl which could be easy to serve . The spatula that was also available along with this set was perfectly suited to serve this dish.
I kept rice in a bowl and the meal was served to them on a white borosil plate. I used the small bowls for serving curd . I was missing a glass storage jar for serving pickle and also a plate to keep the rice papads/Appalam/crackers.
These dishes are best to have along with rice during summers as the shallots are known to provide a cooling effects to the body, the lentils and the drumstick leaves combination are rich in protein and essential minerals and micro nutrients. The curd rice at the end of the meal added a cooling effect for any kind of heat that was produced by the spices used in the entire meal.
My lunch table looked complete and I felt little confident about my culinary skills after looking at the outcome. It still had to be approved on its taste.
The add on's for the meal were curd, garlic pickle and papad. The meal looked and tasted heavenly. No wonder my friends felt sleepy after this meal. My lunch was enjoyed and appreciated by all.
My first attempt at the so called ' Kitchen Chronicles' was successful.
Before my friends left I served them Mango Milk shake as a dessert for this hot summer. The bright yellowish orange colour of the ripened mangoes and the creamy white milk blended so well. The faint yellow milkshake seemed smooth and frothy on the top and looked perfect when I served with cubes of ripe mangoes.
I only had ceramic coffee mugs for serving this. It would have looked better had I served in the beautiful and elegant Medallion Borsoil glasses. My dinner set didn't have the glasses in them so I had already made up my mind to buy glasses the next time to serve juice or milk shake.
I don't think the meal I cooked for my guests could have added such a positive impact had I not used the Borosil glass wares. http://www.myborosil.com/. Thanks to Borosil for manufacturing and creating such beautiful designs and range of glassware. I wish I had the INDIGO - NEUVO 35 PIECE from Melamine Dinner set.