Monday, January 6, 2014

Vengaya Kosu .....(Chettinad Special)

It had been a long time since I posted anything.I had  been busy at fixing things after a long vacation.I always admire at the way nagarathars cook and also plan things..One of my friend had been asking me to post some information regarding the nagarathars..I happened to get in more information about them from a TV show .And I am happy too to share a few before getting into the recipe.
Nagarathars(which means city dwellers) are the people from the chettinad region(Sivagangai and Pudukottai districts) who are known for their Philanthropy,building styles,trading and of course exotic cooking style ..They are also referred as Nattukottai Chettiyars (which means people with palatial houses in the countryside).I always adore at the big palaces of Chettinad and their craftmanship at building houses.It is said that during king's period they had very close relationship with kings and that is the reason why their houses are as large and as beautiful as a palace.
They are the one who introduced banking system too.Indian Bank,IOB were all established by Nagarathars.They have close association with Burma and that is why most of the houses have doors made of Burma teak.It is said that long back a sector of people got settled in Burma and they were the backbone for the civil administration of the Burmese society.They became more powerful money lenders and prominent businessman.Over the years the native Burmese developed a hostile attirude towards them and Nagarathars were forced to leave Burma.So those nagarathars left Burma and settled around places which is now called Chettinad..They used thick teak (Which will not get destroyed in salt water ) as a mode to travel from Ceylon and Burma and  showed their craftsmanship in  teak at making attractive doors..
Chola king had encouraged them to travel a lot and they travelled Srilanka,Burma,Vietnam,Malaysia  and Indonesia to spread their business.So in most of the palatial houses you can find burma teak,chinese porcelain things,vietnam glass etc.
A nagarathar lady is addressed as Aachi and Nagarathar lord as Chettiar with respect.
Nagarathars belong to one of the 9 temples (Vairavan koil,Ilayathakudi,mathur,Iraniyur,Pillayarpatti,Soorakudi,Iluppaikudi,Nemam,
People within the same temple are considered as siblings.The marriage of the Chettinad people is celebrated in a majestic way.They always prefer the marriage to happen only in their native town.Some of their marriage formalities include Pen Paarthal,Pesi mudithu kolludhal,Muhurtha kaal unrudhal,podhu padaippu,mapillai azhaipu,pen edukki kattuthal,Thirupootuthal,Vaevu Irakkuthal,mamiyar Sadangu,Poo manam Choridhal,Manjal Neeru Aduthal,Saman Parapudhal,kumbuttu kattikolluthal,Mana pen solli kolluthal,Kattu soaru unnuthal,Pen azhaipu,nathanar Sadangu..
Coming to the Chettinad cuisine..they are just mouth watering delicious food.As they had gained business contacts throughout the world they used different types of spices.The kavuniarisi dish is the one which they learnt from Burma..They basically use marati Mokku(Dried flower pods) ,Anasi poo (Star Aniseed)and Kalpasi in their dishes.
Coming to the dish Vengaya Kosu..It tastes like Kurma and it is a perfect sidedish for Idlies and Dosas.This is a gravy made with lots of onions,potato and coconut
Recipe reference:Thenu's Kitchen
2 Nos of Big onion,roughly chopped
1 No. of big tomato,chopped
1 No. of medium sized Potato,cut into small size
Salt to taste
Finelly chopped coriander leaves (For garnishing)
For Grinding:
6 Nos of Red Chillies
5-6 Tbsp of grated coconut
1 Tsp of fennel seeds (Saunf)
1 Tsp of Cumin seeds (Jeera)
5 Nos. of Whole black pepper
1 Tbsp of Fried gram /Pottu kadalai /varuKadalai
2 Pods of garlic (peel off the skin)
2 Nos of Shallots/Small Onion
For Tempering:
1/2 Tbsp of Oil
1 Tsp of Mustard seeds
1 Tsp of Urad Dhal
1 No. of Clove
1/4 Tsp of fennel seeds
Few curry leaves
First do the grinding part.Grind all the ingredients mentioned in " For grinding" .Add little water and make them into a nice smooth paste
Chop onion,potato and tomato and keep it ready.Chop the potatoes little small so that they get cooked easier.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add items mentioned in " For Tempering " list (Mustard,urad dhal,clove,fennel ,curry leaves.
Then add chopped onions and saute it till it becomes translucent/Pink in colour.
Add tomatoes and saute it.
Add chopped potatoes and saute it till it gets cooked three fourth.After adding coconut gravy potato will not cook easier.So see to it that the potatoes get cooked before adding the gravy.
After the potatoes get cooked add the grinded gravy and saute it well for few minutes.
Do all these in low flame and see to it that they don't get burned.
Add water according to the consistency you require and allow it to boil in low flame for 5 minutes.
Add salt and mix well.Switch off the flame when the gravy had attained the consistency you require.
Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve it hot with steaming hot Idlies or dosa.
  • You can adjust the water level according to the thickness you require.
  • The gravy turns little thick after some time.
  • Instead of red chillies you can use green chillies too.
  • You can fry the items before grinding .This gives another taste to the dish.
  • You can also use a pressure cooker to cook this dish
  • Add the coconut gravy only after the potatoes get cooked.Or else the potatoes will not get cooked easier after the addition of coconut.