(Curries With Coconut, Coconut Based Gravies, Kurmas With Coconut)
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We recently hosted a dinner for my husband’s college friends with their families. Two of them had been married to a Punjabi and Maharashtrian and all the others were south Indians. To cater all of their taste buds equally, my dinner menu comprised of Phulka, jeera rice, gravy, dal, baby corn tikka, raita and rawa kesari. As you all know, I like to innovate my gravies used as side dishes for rice and roti with a variety of ingredients. Sometimes, I make gravies with tomato-onion base, sometimes with ground nut mixture and sometimes using coconut as the main ingredient for gravy. Coconut based gravies are the most conventional way of making a gravy in the south Indian and goan cuisine. Not only the south Indian cuisine, the Southeast Asian cuisine like Malaysian, Thai, Singapore and Philippine cuisine also use coconut in many of their side dishes.
Coconut is used either as the coconut milk or coconut pulp which is ground with other ingredients like fried onion or dry spices to impart a combined unique flavor. Adding coconut in gravies imparts richness and a hint of sweetness along with a wonderful aroma and flavor. The coconut based gravies can be cooked well with many vegetables and lentils including brinjal, potato, and cauliflower to white peas (or vellai pattani), sprouts, soya and channa. Apart from adding flavor and creamy texture to the gravies, coconut has an array of nutritional properties.
Coconut is believed to speed up the metabolism by providing an immediate source of energy with fewer calories than other fats. In addition coconut is high in ascorbic acid, B vitamins, proteins and various other vitamins and minerals. The pulp of the coconut rejuvenates tissues, provides dietary fiber, helps build immune system and provides many more amazing benefits. Coconut pulp is rich in vitamin A, E and polyphenols which are one of the key players that work together to decrease the LDL cholesterol. In Ayurveda, coconut is considered to be a nourishing and nutritive source for the mind which in turn helps in lubricating the brain. Coconut also contains a good amount fat that is mostly medium chain saturated fatty acid. These help to remove the excess fat in the body. It burns more energy in obese people and helps them in achieving a slim waist line. Because of these many health benefits, coconut has replaced butter and cream in many dishes.
Well!!! Coming back to my dinner party, I made the famous chettinad vellai kurma, which was well enjoyed by all our guests. I have lined up some other coconut based gravies for all of you to try. Please do try and share us your experience and feedback. Cheers!!!
Gravies With Fresh Coconut Base
Gravies With Roasted Coconut Paste
Gravies With Coconut Milk