Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Potlakaya Kootu - snake gourd with toor dal

Dear foodies,

Last weekend I went to the Indian store and got home some fresh veggies, but I was so lazy to do the prep work on a weeknight and took the easier route. I had a frozen pack of snake gourd or potlakaya that I was saving to share with you a special recipe that my roomie used to make. But I realized if I kept saving it for that one day when I finally make the dish, the pack would have outlived its shelf life! So out came the pack and along with it a portion of cooked toor dal. This one is really a lifesaver, everytime I use the pressure cooker to make dal, I make extra of it and freeze it in single serving amounts in a ziploc bag. So the next 3-4 times I can just thaw the dal and have dal, sambar or rasam ready in half the time and have no cooker to clean either. I made a kootu with these two ingredients, one cos I did not want the usual tomato dal and two, I was out of tomatoes :)

This is most definitely not the authentic kootu recipe, my mom would have to give me that. As far as I remember she use's moong dal for kootu, no onions and the spices in it would be crushed cumin and pepper seeds along with coconut and yogurt cured chilies/ mor molaga/uppu mirapakaya. Here is my version, which is still delicious and very close to the original in taste.

Ingredients:
  • 11/2 cup - Toor dal, cooked (with a pinch on turmeric and a few methi seeds)
  • 1 cup - diced, Snake gourd (potlakaya)
  • 1 tsp - black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp - Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 2 Tbsp - grated coconut (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp - mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup - sliced Onions
  • 2 tsp - Oil
  • 2-3 nos - salted chillies/mor milagai, fried
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves/cilantro for garnish
Method:
  1. If you need to cook the dal, then get that going in the cooker, else place the frozen dal by the stove to thaw. Heat a pan with the oil and splutter the mustard seeds, add the onions and let them soften, about 3-4mins on medium heat. Microwave the snake gourd in the meanwhile and then add it to the pan.
  2. Saute for a minute and add 1/2 cup of water, salt, cover and cook for 5-6mins. Using a mortar and pestle crush the peppercorns and jeera together while the gourd softens up.
  3. Add the dal with another 1/2 cup of water, coconut, crushed powders and simmer for an additional 10-12 mins. During the last 2 mins, add the crushed, fried chillies and check for seasonings.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with rice/chapatis or bread.
The coconut and pepper/jeera combo are the highlight in this dal. They combine so well with dal giving a smooth, subtle flavor that is very comforting. And the chillies add all the oomph it needs. The onions are here only because I had chopped them even before figuring out what I was going to cook, so skip them if you please ;) Instead of snake gourd you could use broad beans, potatoes, peas, carrots, cabbage, ridge gourd, and well let me know if I missed any :)

Its been 20 days already, phew!! 20 posts in 20 days!! Can you believe that, the calender on the left sidebar has me stumped, I've never seen it so pink before :) So go ahead and cheer me on, please! :P

6 thoughts:

Nirmala said...

Oh dear! Congrats and lot of clapping sound....could u hear! I wish u more emnerygy to keep it up till the month end...and why not for as long as you live :)

Priya said...

Congrats for 20posts in 20days...yummy snakegourd dal...

Manisha said...

Yay, you!! Congrats!

This kootu looks so good, I tell you! Comfort food at its best. So what if it isn't authentic. As long as it tastes good and warms you up from inside. We're so not into food these past couple of days - we need something to bring us out of our misery slowly. And that it was cold, gloomy and rainy did not help. Maybe this will. But I have no veggies. :-(

Pavani said...

That is a bowl full of comfort food. I love potlakaya, but my husband is not a potlakaya, sorakaya, beerakaya person. I always have frozen potlakaya, but don't make it 'cos of my DH. I think this will be a great way to get him to eat it. Thanks for the easy recipe.
I'm loving your every day posts.. Keep going.. only 10 more days to go.. I think I'm running out of gas with my vegan mofoing :-)

Anonymous said...

hi im not able to read any of your posts on TOI

Divya Vikram said...

this looks like comfort food.

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