… alias Lentil and Vegetable Curry alias Molagootal alias Molakooshyam.
This dish is from J’s native state of Tamil Nadu. A Kootu is somewhere between parippu (plain dal/lentils) and sambar. Spicier than plain dal, less spicy than sambar, thick, often eaten as a side dish with rice or rotis. “Kootu” means mingling or a combination – in this case of lentils and some vegetable, though there is also a More Kootu with buttermilk and veggies.
Tamil-speaking Palghat Iyers in Kerala have a similar dish called Molagootal – which means a “kootu” with “molagu” or chillies. Basically the same thing, with coconut oil used for the seasoning.
The difference between Tamil Iyers and Kerala’s Tamil-speaking Palghat Iyers here.
Keralites (who speak Malayalam) have a variant called Molakooshyam.
Keralites, atleast in Bee’s family, don’t subscribe to the “podi” (pre-made spice mix) business. The exception is the red hot idli podi which was a must with breakfast. As mentioned elsewhere, she has never seen chefs in the immediate or extended family use rasam powder or sambar powder. Each time these dishes are prepared, as also with Molagootal and Molakooshyam, fresh ingredients are ground to a paste.
Tamilians, on the other hand, are nuts about podis. Rasam podi, sambar podi, ellu podi, karuveppilai podi, parippu podi, thogayal podi, kootu podi, that podi, this podi – a lot of kitchen (and refrigerator) real estate is devoted to pre-roasted spice mixes.
Though our freezer space is limited, we always make room for kootu podi, and an extra batch of cooked dal.
Kootu podi + cooked dal + any veggie + some microwave action + some tadka fireworks
= a yummy dish within minutes.
Traditionally we use peanuts in our kootu. This time we used toasted pumpkin seeds. A nice variation.
(adapted from this recipe)
1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
3 cups any fresh or frozen veggie of choice cut into small pieces (we used red chard)
½ cup fresh or dry dessicated coconut
2 tbsp. roasted peanuts (we used pumpkin seeds) – this is optional
about 2 tbsps. kootu podi (recipe below)
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. jaggery/sugar (optional)
10-12 curry leaves
For seasoning (tadka)
1 tsp oil
½ tsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. urad dal
1. Cook the toor dal with 2.5 cups of water and the turmeric until soft and keep aside.
2. Grind the coconut into a smooth paste.
3. Boil or steam the veggies with 1/4 cup water and a bit of salt until half done. Add the cooked dal, coconut paste, kootu podi, curry leaves and jaggery.
4. Bring to a boil and cook until the veggies are done.
5. Adjust the water and salt, add the peanuts and take it off the stove.
6. Heat the oil, add the seasoning ingredients. When the mustard seeds pop, add it to the kootu.
1 tsp. bengal gram (chana dal)
2 tsp. split black lentils (urad dal)
1 tsp. coriander seeds
4 dry red chillies
½ tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsps. ghee (or oil)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Fry all the ingredients except cumin seeds until light brown in ghee. Let it cool, add the cumin, and powder it in a spice grinder.
We usually quadruple this batch and store it in the freezer.
Chard: Nutritional profile.
Tamil Nadu in pictures here and here.
The first Tamil cookbook (1891).
Dakshin: A Cookbook on Tamil Cuisine.
As you know, we like to spam Nupur’s inbox once a week. (All J’s fault. Every Sunday he goes, “What are we sending Nupur this week?”.)
Also sending this to Lakshmi at Veggie Cuisine for her Regional Cuisine of India event. April’s theme is Tamil Nadu Cuisine.