Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chettinadu Mandi

This is a signature Chettinadu side dish and always takes an important place in our Vazhai-elai saapadu [banana-leaf lunch]. I am huge fan of this side dish and so is S. I could get away without making anything else for lunch when we have mandi. Curd rice, mandi and appalam is an awesome combination for a very satisfying lunch.

You would be surprised at what forms the base of this dish. Mandi/Arisi Mandi is the water collected when you wash idli rice. You could collect this water while making idli batter or dosai batter and refrigerate it for later use. This arisi mandi water is what makes the dish very tasty and quite unique. I would highly recommend you to try this dish , its a guaranteed hit. :-)



Serves - 2
Spice Level - Moderately Spicy
Prep Time - 20 min
Cook time - 15 min

Arisi Mandi - 3 cups
Shallots/sambar onion - 15 , peeled and chopped lengthwise.
Garlic - 15 , peeled , don't chop it.
Green chilli - 4, slit lengthwise and cut in half
Potato - 1, chopped into medium sized pieces
Radish - 1 , sliced into thin pieces
Beans - 5 , cut into medium sized pieces
Drumstick - 1 , cut into medium sized pieces
Ladies finger - 5, cut into medium sized pieces
Tamarind - size of a small lemon, extract juice from this and keep aside.
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard - 1 Tsp
Fennel - 1 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs

When you make idli batter or dosai batter, before soaking idli rice, wash 3 cups of this rice once very lightly and drain. Add 3 cups water to this rice and soak for 10 minutes. Now what you need to do is dip your hand into the bowl and wash the rice well so you get a foggy water. Try to wash as much as possible to get a thick arisi mandi. Now collect this water and refrigerate and use while making mandi. This water would stay good for about 2 days.

Its not necessary to use all the above veggies, you could use 3-4 from the list. Other vegetables like mochai, avarkai , keerai can be included. No English veggies like carrot/cauliflower/cabbage etc should be used.

How do you do it

Firstly mix bhindi/ladies finger with 1 tsp oil , 1/4 tsp salt and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Keep aside. This is to make sure the bhindi gets cooked easily without being slimy later.

Take 1 cup of Arisi Mandi and mix with the tamarind juice and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard, let it splutter. Add fennel,curry leaves now. Then add in the onions, garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add green chilli , saute till onions are translucent.Add in the bhindi now and make sure they are cooked well , it should not be gooey. Now add in all the other veggies except for potato and saute for 2 minutes. Add the 2 cups of arisi mandi now. When the mandi starts to boil, add in the potato pieces too. When the potatoes are half cooked, add the tamarind water mixed with mandi , salt and cook on medium-low flame until all veggies are cooked well. Let the curry boil at the end for about 2-3 more minutes before switching off flame. The consistency of the mandi is such that its neither too thick nor too watery. So if its too thick, add water , boil for few more minutes, if its too watery, continue simmering until curry thickens.

Serve with curd rice and appalam. 

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