SIHI KUMBALAKAI TOVVAE
Tovvae is basically cooked and mashed dal with a light seasoning and a squeeze of lime juice. Sihi kumbalakai tovvae which my mother prepared often, is a tovvae without the basic ingredient - dal! To be precise it is a 'dal' without dal! I have argued with my mother several times regarding the inappropriate name whenever she prepared sihi kumbalakai tovvae. The flavour and taste of this tovvae is something out of the world and the argumentative mind is shut down the moment the taste buds start approving of it!
Sihi Kumbalakai / Prangi kottai /Pumpkin - 1 small
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Tamarind - 1 small marble size
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 2tsps
Bengalgram dal - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 4 + 1 for seasoning
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Cinnamon - 1'' piece
Dry coconut gratings / Copra - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Cashew nuts - a few
1. Peel and chop the pumpkin into big cubes.( Roughly four cups of cubes )
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
3. Add turmeric powder and cook the pumpkin cubes in tamarind juice on medium flame. Add little more water if necessary to cover the vegetable.
4. In the mean while heat 1/4 tsp of oil and add cinnamon, bengal gram dal, coriander seeds and red chillies. Roast till it becomes golden in colour giving out a pleasant aroma.
5. Add asafoetida and switch off flame.
6. Grind the roasted ingredients into a fairly smooth powder adding copra in the end.
7. When the pumpkin is thoroughly cooked add salt and mash well using the back of the ladle.
8. Add the ground powder and cook for one more minute till the spice blends well with the pumpkin and switch off flame. The consistency should be thick like a gravy.
9. Heat the remaining oil in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
10.When the mustard seeds splutter add the cashew nuts and fry till they become golden in colour.
11. Add one broken red chilly and the curry leaves and pour the seasoning on the tovvae.
(If you still want the name Tovvae to be justified, add one scoop of cooked and mashed dal while mashing the cooked pumpkin cubes.)
Enjoy the delicious Sihi Kumbalakai Tovvae with hot rice. It tastes best with Raagi Muddae topped with a liberal helping of fresh ghee.