Poricha Kootu – Cabbage stew with shredded coconut and lentils mildly tempered with spices

Background:

Speaking to my aunt yesterday I asked her what she was having for lunch and she said “Porichu Kootu”. Now, visions of heavenly smelling, steaming hot kootu appeared before me. I knew I would be making it before a day passed. This morning as I stood steaming the cabbage, I decided to make it poricha kootu style. Literally translated it means “Fried” kootu. It is a misnomer though since all that is being fried is the seasoning.

Stuff you will need:

1 – 2 lb snake gourd or any kind of squash or cabbage
1/2 cup – Thuvar dhal (pigeon peas) cooked and mashed
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1+1/2 tsp
Coconut – 1/4 cup shredded or four medium sized pieces chopped
Urad dhal – 2 tsp
Bengal gram dhal (chenna dhal) – 2 tsp
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Green chillies – 2 small chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs chopped
Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard – 1 tsp

How to make it?

In a covered pan or small cooker, cook the vegetable with water, salt, turmeric and asafoetida. While this is being done, pressure cook thuvar dhal, mash and keep aside. Toast the urad dhal, bengal gram dhal, cumin, black pepper, curry leaves, red chillies and coconut till reddish brown. Grind using little water and the green chillies into a smooth paste.

When the vegetable is done cooking, add mashed dhal and the ground paste and simmer on low medium heat till it all comes together nicely. Temper mustard and cumin in ghee and garnish on top.

Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Serves four

Special notes: This is a variation of the regular kootu that dry toasts the spices before grinding then. The mix of toasted black pepper, red chillies and green chillies gives this dish a nice aroma. Absolutely comfort food.

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