Recreating dishes my Patti lovingly prepared for us is therapeutic. Not a day passes by without Amma or I reminiscing about the joyous moments we shared with Patti. I have had the privilege of tasting the worst tasting yam dish of all seasons and centuries while pursuing my Masters, not once or twice, but every week for an entire two years. The Poricha Kuzhambu with Yam that my Patti prepared offers a study in contrast. The sourness of tamarind perfectly combines with the yam, rendering it itch free (post consumption that is) with a sweet ,earthy, creamy taste. The yam was left to dry for several days before use to avoid the infamous itch, especially while cutting.
Poricha Kuzhambu was usually prepared on Amavasai (new moon) when lentil based dishes (with the exception of moong dal) were avoided. Amavasai Tarpanam, ritual of water oblations, was performed. Food prepared was offered to ancestors and their blessings were sought. Traditional meal planning always included holidays for consumption of specific categories of food, including avoidance of all grains on certain days.
I made Poricha Kuzhambu for the morning’s breakfast to go with some mor paniyarams. Since I din’t have yam on hand, I used Colacasia (Seppankizhangu) which works as delightfully with this dish.
tbsp=tablespoon, tsp=teaspoon, cup= standard metric cup measuring 250ml
- Yam/ Colacacia (Seppankizhangu) – 11/2 cup (steamed and diced)
- Black Chick Peas (Kala Channa) – 4 tbsp
- Tamarind – lemon sized ball
- Hing – a pinch
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 twig
- Sesame Oil – 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
- Channa dal – 1 tbsp
- Urad dal – 1 tsp
- Black peppercorns – 1 tsp
- Red Chilli – 1
- Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
- Sesame Oil – 1 tsp
- Soak the Black chickpeas overnight.
- Wash and pressure cook the Yam/Colacasia and the Black Chickpeas (with water and a pinch of salt). Peel and dice the yam/colacasia into big pieces.
- Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and squeeze pulp with 2 cups of water.
- Heat sesame oil and roast all ingredients for the paste, except coconut, until golden.
- Take off flame and grind to a paste.
- Heat sesame oil in a pan, add mustard seeds.
- When the mustard starts to splutter, add curry leaves, and on a low flame add the tamarind extract, turmeric, hing and salt.
- Bring to a boil and add the steamed yam/colacacia and the black chickpeas. Simmer for three minutes.
- Add the ground paste and simmer for three more minutes.