How not to burn the house down!

“No, no left over right. NOW, right over left. Loop…loop…LOOOOP! NOOOO!! AIYOOO!!!

This was my right-handed grandmother trying to teach my left handed cousin Devi to knit! At the end of ten minutes, in the interests of BOTH of them NOT killing each other, her brother Naresh volunteered to learn and then teach his sister to do the knit-purl routine! He learnt and he tried. As far as i know, to this day, it is Naresh who still knows the knit – purl stuff and Devi who never picked it up!

Devi has had many hilarious adventures in cooking – including once, in a fit of pique, putting several pieces of ‘aavakai’ (fiery hot Andhra mango pickle)  in a cake because her dad asked her why she couldn’t bake a ‘savoury’ cake!

So, when i asked Devi for a guest post, i was pretty sure that something funny would come up – given her penchant for burning things up or generally making them upside down!!

Here’s Devi’s contribution:

“Funny you should ak for food stories. Just this weekend i had promised Sandeep Bajjila koora and this capsicum koora recipe from Appamma. I had dug up the original she sent me 31 years ago! so here’s the story. Edit at will :)) Hurriedly took a pic of the capsicum, not sure if you can use it.

“Aren’t houses made of wood in America? She can burn the house down while cooking, she’s so absent-minded” Appamma says to my mother-in-law 30 plus years ago as i was preparing to come to the US. Accompanied by her inimitable chortle and that flashing dimple.

While I was known to burn every pan i touched, I’ve never burnt down a house so far. Appamma used to make this koora with Kakarkaya that had an amazing gravy. I hate kakarkaya so she modified it for capsicum. She sent me the recipe in Telugu so I would not forget to read in Telugu. A much loved recipe that went with me to various wooden houses!

Appamma’s Capsicum Koora (curry)

Capsicum/Bell Pepper – 4 big/6 small

To be roasted in a bit of oil and powdered

Chana dal – 2 tbsp

Urad dal – 2tbsp

red chilis – 5/6


Methi seeds – 1/4 tsp

White sesame seeds – 1tsp

Dry coconut grated – 1tbsp

Dhaniya seeds – 1tbsp

Tamarind – lime sized ball soaked and pindufied

Jaggery – 2 tbsp

karepaku (curry leaves, salt and kothmir (fresh coriander)

Cut capsicum into 1 inch pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan and put tadka of rai, jeera, urad dal, 2 red chilis and karepak. add capsicum and cook till softened. Add the powder, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Cover and cook on medium for 10 min, stirring often.

It is truly yum!”

(Phot courtesy of the curry : internet. Photo courtesy of my grandmom’s recipe written in Telugu – grandmom and Devika!)

One Reply to “How not to burn the house down!”

  1. Lovely ti see Amma’s handwriting. Just add til seeds roasted and extra jeera and a little pepper. You have a gojju.! And no burnt down houses.

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