Today is my first blog post for Vegan MoFo 2011, a very awesome collective vegan blogging event. So for the month of October, I’ll be blogging a lot about vegan food and discovering tons of new stuff from 650+ other blogs.
I’d spent quite a bit of time about what the first post would be and fantasized about making something complex and time consuming, or kicking off with a sweet dish like any self-respecting Indian would do. But the week came and went and soon it was a Friday evening (after a long day at work) and I had to make a quick and nourishing meal in under an hour for couple of friends who were joining me for dinner.
As much as I’d love to throw a fabulous spread, the reality is that I am (like most others) starved for time and need something that is healthy, tasty and quick. It’s no wonder that the humble south indian kootu has a permanent place in my recipe repertoire. And to think I used to turn my nose up at this dish when I was young! Poritha means fried in Tamil and kootu is a general-purpose name for a stew that contains vegetables and lentils/beans seasoned with spices. I really don’t know what is fried here, as I certainly did no such thing. There really are innumerable combinations, and this is definitely not the first or last time a kootu will feature on this blog.
But the real icing on the cake is: it is extremely rare that I come across a poricha kootu recipe that is not vegan – even the omnis make this vegan! To me, that is alone worth extolling its virtues.
- Split mung dal, skinned – ½ cup
- Green beans, chopped – 2 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Turmeric – a generous pinch
- Water – enough to cover the vegetables and dal in the pot
Frozen green beans to the rescue:
- Poppy seeds – 1 heaped tsp
- Grated coconut (I used frozen) – 2 tbsps, packed
- Green chilies – 4 (use less if you like less heat)
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Asafetida – a pinch, optional
- Curry leaves – optional – 3-4 leaves. [I like it chopped using a pair of scissors]
- Cilantro, chopped – a small handful
- In a pot or pressure cooker, semi-cook the split mung dal with salt and turmeric with enough water to
- When it’s about 70% cooked, add the green beans to the cooking dal
- In a coffee grinder, grind poppy seeds, green chilies and coconut to form a smooth paste. [Smell it now and it’ll be divine]
- Add this paste to the dal-green beans mixture and stir well.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a small pan/skillet.
- When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafetida.
- Add curry leaves if using.
- Wait until the mustard crackles and remove from heat.
- Add this mixture to the kootu.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and enjoy.
I had this with brown rice and a mixed vegetable stir fry: