Dill-icious South Indian Lamb and Potato Fry (Varuval)

Varuval is a Tamil word that conjures up a whole genre of scrumptious fried food both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Sunday lunches at my parents home often featured a varuval – Yera (Prawn) Varuval, Swara (Shark) Varuval, Meen (Fish) Varuval and Kari (lamb) Varuval were staples. Even vegetarian fare is way more fun as a Varuval (pronounced Vuroovul) than a Poriyal  which  typically involves sauteed and steamed food. The memory of mom’s unforgettable Karnakezhangu (Yam) Varuval will send me into deep depression knowing I have to fly half way around the world to taste it again.

This dill, lamb and potato varuval is a particular favorite of my father’s and Sammie lists it in his top 5 lamb dishes. Having heard that it’s on my father’s fave list might have biased him just a little bit. There’s a vegetarian  version that simply skips the lamb.

This lamb varuval is cooked in two stages, first the lamb is pressure cooked until it is close to being done then we bring the dill and potato in for the final frying session. A wide, thick bottomed pan with an air tight light is a good substitute although the cooking time is a bit longer than in a pressure cooker.

Never leave a Varuval unattended especially during the latter half of the final frying. Patience is a virtue with a varuval, the lower the heat and the longer you can stand all that stirring every few minutes the better your varuval.

Prep time: 5 min | Total time: 45 min (with a pressure cooker)| Servings: 4 – 6

South Indian Dill, Lamb and Potato Fry (Jay)

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When the basil whispered to the tomato, it said soup.

Work continues to have first dibs on my energy.  I haven’t been spending as much time as I’d like, on my blog, Facebook or the internet in general and when I have time to chill I’ve gratefully opted to do absolutely nothing. Translation, I turn on the telly. It’s a lot less work than cranking up the laptop to hop on the internet. As a result, I’ve recently acquired a new addiction. I’ve been binging on this TV show I had never heard of until a few weeks ago called Ghost Whisperer. It’s about a woman who “has a gift” namely she can see and talk to ghosts or earthbound spirits as she calls them. She helps them resolve issues that keep them hanging’ around and gets them to “cross over” and “go into the light” and each ghost’s issue is a mystery. Some more than others. I love the episodes that really keep me guessing, it’s a bummer when I figure out the ghost’s angle or mystery in under ten minutes but I still can’t quit watching. Ion Television (didn’t know that existed either!) is running back to back episodes of all the past seasons and I’ve been watching them in marathon sessions. I think my DVR is ready to explode. Another fallout of my addiction has been that when we aren’t doing take out I very cleverly cook something that requires minimal kitchen time like this yummy but simple tomato soup and a sandwich.

Can’t wait to catch up on more episodes and find out more about these two new sets of critters that are not ghosts but “shadows” and “shinies” as Melinda’s son calls them. There’s also a prophetic book that has put in an appearance. It writes itself, updates itself and even revises itself. The one ghost whisperer mystery that will likely remain unsolved is how Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) who owns an antique store in a small town, manages to be perfectly made up and look like she stepped out of Vogue in every single scene. Where does she shop? And perfectly blended rust orange and pink eyeshadow when she wakes up?! That’s a different kind of gift she’s not telling us about. But I digress, getting back to the subject at hand, I’m dedicating this tomato soup post to my soupiest TV addiction in a very long time. Do you have a soupy TV addiction?

Roasted Tomato Soup (Jay)

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Show-but-don’t tell gumbo

Gumbo with snow crab, king crab, chicken, shrimp & sausage (Jay & Sammie)

My astrological prediction for January 2011 could have been summed up in a sentence. “Busy until interrupted by a snowstorm before returning to hectic.” The trend continues in February and  my backlog of “intended” posts from over the holidays is piling up like the cold white stuff piling up further North. Good Gumbo eating weather if you have the foresight to stock up on your grocery and seafood well before the storm hits. Read more of this post