Carrot – Chow chow kootu

BM #105: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

This is yet another of my mother in law’s recipe. Again I took stepwise pictures when she was cooking to make my life easier :-). Kootu is one of the regular dishes our households. My grandma used to make it and my in laws also make it regularly. It’s one of those dishes I used to hate as a kid, but have developed a taste as an adult.

Kootu for most part, uses up leftover bits and pieces of veggies, but for this particular kootu, we bought veggies specifically for it. Amma had prepared it recently when we were visiting our brother in law at Texas. She had prepared it for a crowd of 12 plus people. It was really delicious and I asked her to prepare it again when she was visiting us in Jersey.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 chow chow/ chayote, diced
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • Water as needed
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal

Method:

In a thick bottom saucepan, add the diced carrots, chow chow, moong dal, turmeric powder and salt.

Add enough water so that it is just a little short of covering the veggies. Mix everything well. Turn on the heat.

Let the veggies and dal cook.

Meanwhile, grind a teaspoon of jeera/cumin seeds, 3 red chilies (or adjust per taste) and half cup shredded coconut.

Grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked and the dal is also done, add the ground coconut paste.

Let the kootu boil for 5 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds and once it stops popping, add a spoon of broken urad dal. Wait for the dal to turn golden brown.

Add the tadka to the kootu. Serve with rice and papad.

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Cabbage Moongdal curry

BM #105: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

This is a new recipe for me and I learnt it from my mother in law. I clicked the step wise pictures when she was cooking to make it’s easier for me to try it later when she is not around. I have already made this multiple times after she left and this has become an alternate way to prepare cabbage. My go to recipe has always been coconut based cabbage Thoran.

I have seen recipes where moong dal is cooked first and then the veggies are added. Here, everything is added together and yet the dal cooks to perfection. It needs to be stirred in between, but it’s mostly a handsfree kind of recipe. You don’t have to babysit it continuously.

Turmeric is usually not added to cabbage. But it’s my father in law’s way of preparing and my husband loved (and still loves) the bright color. So my mother in law adds it whenever she prepares it too. You can skip it if you want.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon broken urad dal
  • 2-3 green chilies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup moongdal
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 of a small cabbage, chopped (about 2-2.5 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and once it’s done popping, add the urad dal. Mix a little so that it turns a little golden.

Add chopped green chilies. Sauté for a minute until it is fried a bit.

Add moongdal and water. You needn’t to wash the dal.Add cabbage in a heap in the middle and add the turmeric powder on top.

Cover and cook until the dal is done, stirring in between. You may have to sprinkle some more water if the cabbage seems to stick to the bottom of the pan before the dal is cooked. Remove from the heat and serve with rice and gravy of your choice.

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Beans porial with fennel seeds

BM #105: Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

Rice is the staple dish for South Indians. We serve it everyday for lunch and even for dinner some days. Rice is served along with a gravy like sambar and a vegetable on the side. The sambar and the prepared vegetable are different everyday to keep the food interesting.

Beans is usually prepared once a week. I usually stir fry the beans and once cooked add shredded coconut on top and call it a day. But I was served this version which had ground fennel seeds and I loved the flavor. So now I have a small batch of ground fennel seeds at home, just to make this particular dish. This also starts off with sautéed onions and tomatoes as the base, again a deviation from normal for me. You can replace green beans with the yardlong beans/ karamani beans too.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend Purnima

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups of cut green beans (about 1/2″ long pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Method:
    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and once it has stopped popping, add the onions. Sauté until the onions turn pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Mix it in and add the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook in medium to low heat, until the tomatoes are mushy.
      Add the chopped beans. Mix it in and cover and cook, stirring in between, until the beans are done. You might have to sprinkle a little water if the curry sticks to the bottom of the pan. Taste test and adjust the seasonings, if preferred.
      Turn off the heat. Now add the crushed fennel seeds and mix it in. Cover and set aside. Serve with rice and sambar of your choice.

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    Tarator – Cold cucumber soup


    BM #103: Week 4, Day
    Theme : Balkan States

    Looking for vegetarian recipes from the Balkan states, I came across some recipes very close to home. I didn’t know that our buttermilk is a common drink there as well but with a different name. It’s called Doogh, tahn or Ayran depending on the place.

    Then I came across another yogurt based recipe, that’s not tzaziki but a slightly thinner soupy version – Tarator. Its one of those are recipes that can be prepared in more ways that one, I guess. I could see a lot of different recipes online, but the base recipe is almost same for all. Yogurt, thin or thick – according to personal preference, with cucumber that’s either chopped very finely or ground to a paste along with yogurt. Walnuts and dill are common additions , so is the oil. I personally liked the addition of olive oil and walnuts and this soup turned out to be more delicious than I thought it would be. It’s light and perfect for a hot summer day.

    Read on for the recipe.

    Recipe source: Cooking LSL

    Makes 1 serving

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup yogurt
    • 1/2 cup water, or per preference
    • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped finely
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
    • 2 tablespoon chopped dill( I didn’t have any)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Salt as needed

    Method:

    1. Whisk the yogurt with water and set aside.
    2. Set aside a spoon of cucumbers and walnuts for topping, if preferred. In a bowl, add cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, salt and oil. Mix in the yogurt. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
    3. Top with the reserved cucumbers and walnuts and a spoon of oil.

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