Recipe for Poricha Koottu : South Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry with Lentils
It's high time I posted one of my favourite Tambrahm recipes. Poricha Koottu, a mix of vegetables, dal and either a masala ground with coconut or a spice powder is perfect soul food. Eaten with rice along with raita and roasted papad is true comfort food who has grown up eating this meal. As a kid, it was one of my more hated dishes. As with most things, as we grow older, we end up craving for the very things we hated as a kid. I have no idea why this is called 'Poricha Koottu' though, as Poricha means 'fried' in Tamil and this dish is definitely not fried. If anyone has any insight on this, would love to hear from you :)
These kind of recipes are a blessing when there's a piece of this and a half of that leftover in the fridge and you want to use up all of it before buying fresh vegetables. My mom and grandmom use to get bored of making the same tamarind based sambar or kozhambu each day so once a week, koottu provided the much needed break from soaking the tamarind and extracting tamarind pulp. It is also perfect for those avoiding tamarind due to various health reasons
Made thinner, it is perfect with rice and made thicker it is good as a side dish with rotis, although I'm not one who likes traditional Tambrahm dishes with rotis. Poricha Koottu, vadumanga or nellikai thayirpachidi and rice are a match made in heaven.
There's another kind of koottu, that can be prepared using cabbage or any kind of gourd. I have a video for that, do check it out :)
The beauty of this dish is the mix of all vegetables simmered and cooked in water make a flavourful stock that forms a base for this dish. It is very delicately spiced so the taste from the fresh veggies is not drowned. Coconut is optional, and they make both versions, with and without coconut at home, so feel free to use or omit. If you want to take a short cut and avoid grinding spice paste, you can use sambar podi (sambar powder) or Vettha kozhambu podi (I don't know if anyone has this at home) :P as the spice powder instead.
Poricha Koottu | Mixed vegetable and dal
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: Under 30 mins
To be served with rice
For spice paste:
- In a large vessel, heat 3 cups of water with 1 tsp salt and turmeric. Add all the chopped veggies, bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the carrot and potatoes are cooked.
- In a kadai/wok, heat 1 tsp oil. Add all ingredients for spice paste, except coconut and fry on a low flame until chillies are bright red, rice is opaque and udad dal is golden brown. Place this in a small mixer and grind to a fine paste along with coconut and 1/2 cup water.
- Mash the pressure cooked dal well with a ladle or whisk and add to cooked veggies.
- Mix the cooked veggies (with the liquid), dal and spice paste in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- In a tempering ladle or small wok, heat 2 tsp oil. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the curry leaves, udad dal. Wait for dal to turn golden brown, add pinch of asafoetida and transfer this over the vegetable dal spice mix.
- Remove from stove and keep covered until ready to serve.
- Serve with steamed rice and ghee along with a papad on the side.
This ripe banana raita /Pazham Pachidi will go well with this Koottu and rice.
Feel free to add any other vegetables to this dish such as snake gourd, eggplant, green beans, cauliflower, chow-chow, white pumpkin, zucchini etc. Make sure all vegetables are uniformly diced.
Video recipe for moong dal cooked with water