Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chena Kadi - Yam Stew with Lentils and Roasted Coconut

Chena Kadi is a dish that invokes memories of my childhood. It is a dish my mom used to make often and we used to love it. The food prepared in my home was a wonderful mix of all the cultures we have been part of. Tamil food from our origins, Kerala food from the land we lived in, North Indian food cause my dad liked it and then many others that my mom learned from friends and family. This is probably a recipe she learned from a friend cause it is not a common dish among Malayalees nor is it a Tamil dish. This is a dish prepared by the Varma Community in Kerala. 

As I have told you before, I was not too much into cooking when I was younger. So I lost the recipe for this dish with my mom. I have been craving to make this for a long time and finally got a chance to see it being made in a TV show. I was really excited and noted the recipe. When I made it today and tasted the first spoonful, it literally brought tears to my eyes. It was exactly as I remember it. 

The Main ingredient ofcourse is Yam. The gravy also has toor dal (thuvaran parippu) and coconut in it. The taste that will linger in your mouth is that of the roasted coconut and the chopped ginger/green chillies and the final tempering with curry leaves. It is a treat to your senses. Try it and let me know what you think. 


Yam 600 gms cubed
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder 1 tsp

Toor Dal 1/2 cup

Green Chillies 2
Ginger 1" piece
Tamarind Paste 1/2 tsp

Salt and oil

Make a paste
Coconut 2/3 cup
Green Chillies 2
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp

To Dry Roast
Coconut 1/3 cup

Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Split Urad Dal 1 tsp
Red Chilli broken 2
Curry Leaves few

Method of Preparation

1. Pressure cook the toor dal with enough water till it is well cooked. Otherwise, cook in a pan till it is well done. 

2. In a pan add the chopped Yam along with the turmeric powder, chilli powder and some salt. Add some water and boil till it is cooked and still retains its shape. 

3. Add the cooked toor dal, finely chopped green chillies, ginger and tamarind paste. Boil again. 

4. Make a paste of the coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds by adding very little water. Add that to the boiling curry. 

5. In another pan (preferrably non stick), roast the rest of the coconut till it is deep red in colour. Add that as well to the curry and mix well. 

6. At this stage the curry will come nice and thick. Switch off. 

7. Heat a tsp of oil (coconut oil if you have) and add the mustard seeds. When it sputters, add the urad dal. When that starts to brown, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Let it sputter and then add to the curry. 

Serve with some rice as a gravy or side dish. 

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