Another basic thing I have around me is the versatile Coconut Paste or the Kobari Mudda. For any South Indian Nonvegetarian dishes, coconut paste is a must. It adds flavour, thickness, and taste to the meat cooked in the dish. As with the Ginger Garlic paste, we mostly grind this fresh for the meat dishes, but it does help to have some on hand. The way you grind it and the amount of water added or if you have touched, everything matters. There are two ways you can go about doing this, either by chopping the coconut meat into small pieces or by grating and then making a paste of it.
Grating the coconut using the traditional Indian instruments, is quite daunting. At least till you know the technique. Many dishes require grated coconut for garnishing or to be added along with it. So preparing such dishes makes one slog on a coconut grater. Grated coconut on Idiappam is yummy! I love this dish and devour it at every chance I get, the only part being I don't end up grating the coconut. When I got my wet grinder sometime back, I was excited to know it had an add-on to grate coconut. But unfortunately, it wasn't available.
On my recent trip to get my Murukku achu, I was finally able to lay my hands on this add-on gadget. The next coconut grating session happened using the new instrument. All I had to do, was to fix it on the grinder and switch on. The rest happened automatically. Thinking of the many handhelds, nonelectrical coconut grater, and the many other incidents spent frustrated with grating, came to mind. I am happy my kids will have more modern instruments to help them cook Indian food much easier!
This is the blade that gets fitted on the grinder. Just hold the half coconut over the blade and ensure you keep your hands safe. Switch on and keep tight for it to move around and the grated meat falls down to the base.
This can be stored as such, as many of our stir-fries require grated coconut for garnishing. Else make a paste without water and store it in an airtight container.
For making the paste, take enough quantity and grind to a smooth paste. You should not add water, if required, just add a teaspoon for it to run. Scoop out with a spoon and do not use a hand. Using hand usually spoils the paste.
Another important factor is, when you run it in the food processor or the mixie, make sure you just run it the recommended time frame. Running it straight for more than 2 mins will heat up the paste. This will again result in spoiling the Coconut paste.
I store my ready to use Coconut paste for about a week. It's a great help while making gravies. I use about a tablespoon or so, to make the curry thick and tastier. Most of our side dishes for Chapatis have little of this added.
This is part of the series featuring Basics in Indian cooking. These form the basics in my kitchen and help me to have a more organized way of cooking healthy and fast, in this hurried and hectic lifestyle we have. I welcome feedback and suggestions on this. Thanks!