Yesterday I managed to get some fresh spinach at my local grocery shop. Cabbage is another thing I always pick up on my visits. It is a useful thing for making simple saute curry for lunch, or koottu. For dinners, it adds crunch to our noodles / fried rice – and I even use it to add bulk to left over dosa batter to make crunchy uthapams for breakfast
Spinach is best used on the same day or at max the following day. That’s how Keerai Milagootal managed to feature on today’s menu. The ideal partner to this would be a potato roast (always ideal for everything 🙂 or a sliced plantain roast. Since I rarely find the slender plantains suited for this curry, cabbage seemed the next best option
Milagoottal or Kootan is a Kerala derivative into Tamil cuisine and since my roots are in Tirunelveli which is almost close to the Kerala border, some of our dishes have the ‘ubiquitous to Kerala’ coconut ground in the gravy of the vegetables. Aviyal is as much our cuisine as much as it is a part of the Keralite sadya. So is the milagoottal, which we call Keerai Kootan at home. This goes well with a mangai pachidi, in which the tender mangoes that have been used to make the vadumangai pickle are removed from the spicy brine, washed and ground to a coarse paste, which is then mixed into yogurt
For me, there is no better way to consume spinach. Mashed fresh spinach leaves mixed with mashed cooked paruppu (tur dal) and spiced with a mix of fried red chillies-udad dal – black pepper-rice grains is the perfect way to get my dose of iron, protein and comfort for the day!
This is the simplest possible preparation of cabbage which my mom makes often and beautifully well. Readers will be aware that I keep raving about how Tamil Brahmin cooking keeps things basic, utterly simple and yet superb to taste. No over cooking, no over spicing and not much oil either – all working towards bringing out the true flavour of vegetables. As I say, we are not afraid to taste the real vegetable in the dish 🙂