Dal Kootu (Poritha Kootu)
4 tablespoons of split mung beans, well rinsed
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of green beans, chopped into small bits
1 carrot, finely diced
1 potato, diced
1/2 cup of shelled peas (or defrosted frozen peas)
sea salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 - 2 cups of water to cook vegetables
For the Paste:
1 teaspoon of oil
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
2 red chillies, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida powder
4 tablespoons of coconut
a few teaspoons of water
2 teaspoons of ghee, or a mixture of oil and butter
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of urad dal, washed
3 dried red chillies, broken into bits
a few curry leaves
Place the split mung beans in a heavy pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, stirring often. Remove from heat, do not drain and set aside.
To make the paste, heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, red chilies and asafoetida powder. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add the coconut and a few teaspoons of water. Process until you have a paste. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring the vegetables to a boil with enough water to just cover. Add the salt and turmeric, the cooked dal and the cooking liquid, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are just tender, adding more water if necessary. If you are using frozen peas, add them now. Pour the paste into the pot and cook for another few minutes.
For tempering, heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, red chili and a few curry leaves. Cook, stirring often, until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to pop. Transfer this to the cooked vegetables, cover and let sit for a few minutes.
Serve over hot rice and garnish with a few curry leaves.
Kootus are a moist, but not too saucy, vegetable, lentil dish popular in South India, commonly served with rice or Indian flat breads. This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from a new to me cookbook featuring traditional South Indian dishes that I learned about from Zlamushka. I borrowed it from the library and promptly ordered a copy.