South Indian cooking involves a larger number of spices!! So if your planning to make a Southy today, be prepared to do some extra spice shopping.
- Oil/Ghee- 1tsp
- Mustard- 1 tsp
- Channa dal- 1 tsp
- Curry leaves- 2 twigs
- Garlic cloves- 1 or 2 cloves
- Dried Red chillies- to taste
- Grounded Coconut (Optional)- to taste
Heat oil/ghee and season mustard (let it splutter) and add white gram dal, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Add the grounded coconut. Sauté for 5 minutes.This is the very basic south Indian base. The south Indian dishes have more variety and quite a few addition and subtractions but using these basic ingredients can be helpful in developing a strong mystic south Indian flavour to your dishes.
The trick is in heating ghee (clarified butter) for 2 minutes and then adding the garlic and the curry leaves. In some dishes black pepper is also used. This brings in a very strange spicy but soothing effect to your dishes. Try it out!! I have not yet found a substitute for this base recipe for the foreigners. If anyone has found, do let me know.