Hurrah! my boy is going to be 2 next month. Although I am very happy to see him grow and shine, I am also secretly wishing for him to stay a little boy forever. Little boys should never grow.Yep, I am going to be biased here. There is something very very very nice about having a boy. Perhaps, he is the only one who thinks I am so beautiful even on my bad hair days which is almost very often. And he is the only one who loves me despite giving him the same ol’ carrots and lentils for three days in a row.
My husband always wanted a boy more than me. He knows me too well to have wished for one because I am having way too much fun now. I kind of hoped for a girl as I love being one and thought it would’ve been easier to raise one too. Plus, I also feared having to look at too many cars and trains and all that. I couldn’t have been more stupid really. Because one fine day, this boy entered into my world and blew me away. So much so that I don’t mind raising a dozen of boys. I love the way he helps me see the world through his tiny little eyes. I now think fire trucks and magnetic trains are the coolest things ever. I enjoy seeing digger trucks and car transporters on road. I get excited when I spot the bus before he does. I love dinosaurs and fast cars. Enough said!
Onto a lovely recipe passed onto me from my mother. It is a very spicy black pepper based gravy. South indian at its best. Perfect to have with bread or rice . For a non vegetarian version, just add chicken.
Melagu Kuzhambu or Black pepper gravy
Here is what you will need:
Black peppercorns/Melagu in Tamil – A handful
Cumin seeds- One heaped teaspoon
Dried Red chilli – 2
Chana dal/Yellow Split peas- 3/4th quantity of black pepper
Urad dal – Half the amount of Chana dal
Tamarind – size of golf ball soaked in lukewarm water or use 2 spoons of paste
Shallot onions- atleast 6
Garlic pods- according to your preference (we add around 10 bulbs as we are a little partial to garlic)
To season: Curry leaves, Mustard seeds and Gingelly oil
In a wide pan, dry roast black pepper, cumin seeds, red chilli and the dals individually. yes, its a bit time taking but worth it. Lightly roast them till you can fill the entire house with a wonderful aroma.
Once a bit cooled, grind all of the above with the tamarind water/paste till it forms a nice smooth paste.
Heat a kadai/gravy pot, add gingelly oil and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add onions and garlic now. Saute till translucent.
Now add the ground paste and add little water to loosen it up to a gravy like consistency. Also, once boiled, the gravy does tend to reduce so add a little extra water if you wish to.
Let it boil well for 8-9 minutes in a rather low flame. Keep stirring as and when required. This delicious concoction is ready to be served hot with a bowl of rice and a dollop of ghee. Pure bliss! Perfect for those wintry nights!