Venjanam (Venchanam) Recipe

 This is a traditional dish, typically prepared by the farmers and eaten with green beans. A traditional recipe from the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu, a typical kongunadu recipe which was taught to me by my grandma, who is from that region.


Tamarind: Size of a lemon
Chillies: 10 to 12 (depending on desired spiciness)
Coriander Seeds (Taniya): 2 tbsp
Bengal gram dal- 1 tbsp
Pepper: 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp
Toor Dal: 1/2 cup or Avarai paruppu which is also called as Thattai paruppu locally
Coconut: 1, finely grated
Small Onions: 1/4 kg
Big Onions: 2
Eggplant: 1/4 to 1/2 kg (you can also use banana, cluster beans, or other vegetables)
Karamani - 1/2 cup optional


Fry the coriander seeds, pepper, bengal gram, red chillies and cumin seeds in gingely oil. Can add 1 tsp of ghee too. Chop the onions to a reasonably sized pieces and add the along with the roasted spices. Once cool, grind it together with grated coconut to a coarse paste. 

Pressure cook the toor dal (thuvaram paruppu) for almost 8 whistles, it should be cooked to a mushy consistency. If you are adding Lobia (Karamani) pressure cook that too seperately. 

The speciality of this dish (which acts as both side dish and also as a main dish for rice) is the shallots. The shallots are to be cut into 2 and then fried in ghee untill they turn golden brown. 

Soak the tamarind and get thick tamarind pulp from it. Transfer the tamarind paste to a hard bottom vessel and add salt to it and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil add the sauteed shallots and finely chopped brinjals and or any other  vegetables to the tamarind water. When all the vegetables are cooked 3/4th add the cooked Karamani if you are adding it. Let everything boil in low flame. Add the ground paste and let it boil till the raw smell of the paste goes off. Then add the cooked toor dal. Ensure that it is mushy, cooked well and there are no lumps. Mix all and bring it to a boil. Remove from flame and add springs of curry leaves just as it is done for aviyal. 

Temper mustard seeds and 1/2 a spoon of methi in gingely oil and pour it on the curry leaves and cover it to infuse the flavours. Mix all before serving.

Other dals like moong dal or avarai paruppu can be added for a different taste.
Onions need to be halved or quartered and brinjals need to be chopped into small cubes.


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