Odiyal Kool

Decided to take a break this week and re-post a few recipes from the initial days of this blog.

This is a traditional recipe from the North of Sri Lanka made from a palmyrah product. My mother tells me her grandmother used to make this for them on special occasions. While this is typically a spicy sea-food dish, it can be a vegan dish if one omits the seafood.

So, I am sharing my great-grandmother’s odiyal kool recipe, as remembered by my mother.

The base for this kool is ‘Odiyal’, a healthy and nutritious root that is dried before making into a flour. One can purchase the ‘odiyal flour’ from Katpaham marketing outlets around Sri Lanka, run by the Palmyrah Development Board, and might be found at Sri Lankan stores outside of Sri Lanka. However, if ‘odiyal flour’ cannot be obtained, corn flour can be tried out as a substitute.

Odiyal Kool

Cooking time – 45 minutes

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients

  • Odiyal or Odiyal Flour – 1 cup
  • Chopped mixed vegetables (brinjal/ katharikkai, jackfruit seeds/ palakottai, yardlong beans/ paithangai, small green leaves/ pasali keerai or murungai ilai, manioc, ash plantain) – 100g each
  • Chopped mixed seafood (prawns, crab meat, squids etc.) – 100g each, omit if vegetarian
  • Boiled rice – ½ cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5- 10, depending on your desired level of hot spicy
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Pepper powder – 1tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – 2 litres

Method:

  1. Grind the odiyal into flour or use the ready-made odiyal flour.
  2. Dry grind the cumin seeds, red chillies and pepper and keep aside.
  3. Boil the vegetables in a pot with half litre water.
  4. Boil the seafood in a separate pot with half litre water.
  5. Then, mix the boiled vegetables and seafood and add another litre of water, along with the tamarind extract.
  6. As the water comes to a boil, slowly stir in the odiyal flour, avoiding lumps.
  7. Add the boiled rice to the pot.
  8. Add the ground spice mixture and the turmeric powder to the pot and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil.
  9. You can add a little water to adjust the consistency to your liking, e.g. if the water has dried up or you prefer a watery Kool.
  10. Serve hot in medium-sized bowls.

Recipe Source: Raji Thillainathan.

Paithangai Curry

Today is Aadi amaavasai or the New moon day during the month of Aadi, which generally falls between mid-July and mid-August of the global calendar. For Tamils, it is a remembrance day of fathers who have passed away. As both my grandfathers passed away at quite a young age, my parents have always observed this day for as long as I can remember. Lunch on this day is always kind of special – food that I associate with fasts and temples. One curry that is sure to be there on this day is Paithangai or yardlong beans.

Yardlong beans

I thought of posting the recipe for this dish today. My mother went one step ahead and not only did she give me the recipe for paithangai curry  across three generations of my family, she actually prepared it in the three different styles so that I could take photos of them. Each of the recipe below takes about 20 – 25 mins to cook and serves 3 – 4 people.

So, here goes…

(1) Paithangai curry (early to mid 20th century recipe)

This is my great grandmother’s recipe, as remembered and replicated by my mother. As this is a dry curry recipe, it can be refrigerated and used over a few days without spoiling as opposed to curries that are cooked in coconut milk.

Paithangai curry

Ingredients

  • Yardlong beans – 200g
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Onion – ½ medium sized, chopped
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Water – 2 cups

Method

  1. Wash and cut the beans into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Add the beans and chopped onions to a pot together with the curry leaves and curry powder. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium heat.
  3. When the water has almost dried up and the beans are cooked, add 2 tbsp of oil and mix well. Reduce heat and let the curry simmer for about 2 mins before removing from the heat.
  4. Serve hot with rice.

(2) Paithangai curry (mid to late 20th century recipe)

This is my grandmother’s recipe, as remembered and replicated by my mother.

Paithangai curry

Ingredients

  • Yardlong beans – 200g
  • Carrot – 1
  • Curry powder – 2 tsp
  • Onion – ½ medium sized, chopped
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  • Coconut milk – 2 cups of second milk and 2 tbsp of first milk
  • Salt to taste

Note: The first milk is the coconut milk obtained when blending freshly grated coconut with a little water. The second milk is the coconut milk obtained when blending the used grated coconut, after the first milk has been obtained, with about 2 cups of water. The second milk will be thinner in consistency to the first milk. My mother uses non-fat milk as a substitute for coconut milk for health reasons.

Method

  1. Wash and cut the beans and carrots into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Add the beans, carrots and chopped onions to a pot together with the curry leaves and curry powder. Add 2 cups of the second coconut milk. Cover and cook on medium heat.
  3. When the milk has almost dried up and the beans are cooked, add 2 tbsp of the first coconut milk and mix well. Reduce heat and let the curry simmer for around 5 – 10 mins before removing from the heat.
  4. Serve hot with rice.

(3) Paithangai curry – my mother’s recipe

Paithangai curry

Ingredients

  • Yardlong beans – 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Carrot – ½ cup, finely chopped
  • Cabbage and leeks – ½ cup, finely chopped
  • Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Green chilli – 2 or capsicum – 1, finely chopped
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Low fat Oil (Canola or Sunflower oil) – 2 tbsp
  • Water – ¼ cup

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the chopped garlic, onions and chillies.
  2. Then, add the beans. Mix and fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook for another 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Add ¼ cup of water, turmeric, pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the water dries up.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve hot with rice.

Do post your feedback below, if you do try one of these recipes.