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)

Read more of this post


Back-to-Basics Herb Roasted Potatoes

As I’ve said before I’ll roast and bake before I will even consider poached or steamed vegetables. It has to do with the three months I spent, as a  7-year-old, recovering from a bout of illness and being practically force-fed steamed vegetables. Eww! It felt like three years.

One of my favorite things to do with this under rated, recently demonized, starchy star is to toss it in herbs and pop it in the oven before Sammie starts insisting that he wants mashed potatoes, again! If he does hem and haw I whip out my practiced and most sincere “Aw shucks” face and tell him he should have told me sooner. (Grin!)

Like potato sides from just about any cuisine I am familiar with, it fits right in with any kind of dinner or lunch menu.

Prep time: 5 min |  Total time: 25 min | Servings: 4

Read more of this post

Kwik Roasted Spicy Potato and Cauliflower

Almost every Indian family I know has a variation on this basic Alu-Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower) side. On this week night when I had about 5 other things to do, I’d just popped wings in the oven and wasn’t thrilled about having to spend another 10 minutes cooking my veggies on the stove top so I decided to pop it in the oven with the wings. I’ve never gone back to making it on the stove top.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4

Read more of this post