Navaratna Sundal Curry ~ South Indian Meal Dishes

We are starting the second week of BM#42 and this week I am going to share some delicious South Indian Thali Meal Dishes. The idea was to showcase those typical dishes that are part of the thali meal. As most of you might know, I have a penchant for Thalis and I ardently try to make different combinations of a Thali meal for our weekend lunches.

Thali Meal is an integral part of all Indian Cuisines. I think every state boasts of it's own kind, with each dish symbolizing the local speciality and produce. It's only natural that one would find these vegetables being featured more in the thalis. 

I can't really decide which thali I love best. Be it the Vindu Bhojanam from Andhra or Onam Sadya from Kerala or from Tamil Nadu. This reminds me that I am yet to make one proper Tamilian Thali for the blog! Anyway I have tasted such similar assembly of dishes in Agra and in culcutta, and I have read that other states have such similar dishes, served for lunch. Each dish referring to something special.

While rice is the staple food in many Indian States, some states are predominantly represented by the wheat dishes. So the dishes that are served as part of thali meal are more like a side dish for rotis and not for rice. Whereas in south, there are many dishes that are dry sautes. 

I am not very fond of rice and when we eat out, I will be the only person ordering chapatis or parottas, when everybody else will be ordering meals. The meals always arrive early as it's easy to serve, and everybody gets their food early while I will be waiting for mine. Previous to blogging, I was never interested to even know what was served. I would even decline any offer to taste. 

Post blogging scene everything changed. Not that I started eating meals, but I started noticing the dishes. Right from the etymology to the anatomy of a dish, everything was discussed right there on the table. We have had waiters giving us looks, our folks giving us glares. Nothing persuaded us from analysing a dish to our heart's content. When I say us, I refer to the combination of Amma and myself or Athamma and myself. Imagine how stranger it would have been when all three of us eat out together and we were so deeply involved in studying a dish. 

We would start right at the beginning, trying to understand what's gone into a dish. Like we have eaten dishes like raw plantain thoran with fresh peas and it tasted awesome. There have been many different combinations of vegetables and forms. Everything excited us.

Back home, we would eagerly want to recreate the magic. Sometimes it worked, sometimes didn't, however the feeling of elation never left us. So we always do it no matter what.

So when I thought of this theme, I essentially wanted to showcase those different dishes one might find in a typical Tamilian Thali or an Andhra thali served in hotels. I sadly don't remember eating out or observing much in Karnataka or Kerala. My experience in North Indian states have been different.

The dishes you will see for the next three days will be those dry sautes that are typically served in both these states. It's really very hard for me to differentiate the two states, however these dishes have been tasted and tried from our different thali experiences. I hope you enjoy!

Thali Meals is always about balanced food. So you will find dishes with greens, lentils, dals, vegetables. some dry and some liquid, some bland, some sour and some very tangy too. When you talk about Andhra thali, you will find very spicy food as well. All the dishes are served to be either eaten as such or as side dish along with sambar or rasam. The side dishes in an unlimited meals is unlimited!

Enjoy this protein packed Navaratna Curry. Curry in Tamil refers to side dish, mostly dry sautes.
Navaratna Sundal Curry

Ingredients Needed:

Navaratna Sundal - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Curry leaves
Mustard Seeds, Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup

How to make the curry

Wash and soak the mixed lentils in plenty of water overnight. Change the water couple of times, then with fresh water, add a pinch of salt and thrice the amount of water, pressure cook till soft.

Heat a non stick pan with oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves. Then saute the chopped onions, when they turn colour, add tomatoes and simmer till the tomatoes are soft.

Then add the cooked lentils, add in red chili powder, coriander powder, salt, turmeric powder. Mix everything well and simmer after adding 1/2 cup water.

Cook till the curry becomes thick curry. 

Serve as side dish with your Rice and Sambar in a thali
Notes:

As I have said the curry has to be cooked till it's almost dry. This is mostly served on the side to be eaten with sambar rice or any other course of meal. Most times one can simply eat it as such as it's not so spicy.

In this thali, I had served a Methi Rice (Mixed Rice variety), with Masoor Dal, with Baigan Bajji on the side. Along with these there was plain rice to be mixed with Rasam. The dry sautes were Karela Subzi, Greens Subzi and Navaratna Suzbi, catering to all the different tastes.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 42

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