Saturday, October 25, 2008

Periamma's Mung Dal Kootu (Indian Stew With Assorted Vegetables)

Our Hyderabad Periamma (Periamma literally means 'elder mother') is credited with creating this delicious and nutritious one pot recipe. Apparently she used to make this dish when she needed a break from making the usual spread and served it over hot rice or rotis with lots of fried papadams. Amma made it sometimes as it incorporated all the odds and ends of vegetables left at the end of the week.

The vegetable assortment in the following recipe is only a suggestion; you can use whatever veggies are available in your fridge in any combination you like; the only constants are the onions and tomatoes; the rest is up to you. Use an assortment for their flavors and colors such as: Carrots, Green Beans, sprouted beans, Chayote squash (a pale green veggie), Zucchini, Opo Squash (lauki), Green Cabbage, Peas, etc. The more the number of different veggies, the better the taste!

Chayote and Opo are from the cucurbit family as are cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, etc.

8 Servings


1 cup Mung dal (skinless, split; looks yellow)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1 or 2 Tbsp Rasam Powder or Sambar Powder
1 large Red Onion
1 small Potato
2 large Ripe Tomatoes
1/2 small Green Cabbage
2 medium Carrots
2 small Zucchini

4 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Lemon or Lime wedges to serve (Optional)


2 Tbsp Ghee/Oil
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
2 dry Red Chilies
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 sprig Curry Leaves


Pick over the mung dal and remove discolored dal, sticks and stones, etc. Wash with lots of fresh water and drain - a fine sieve is great for this.

Prepare the veggies: Remove ends, peel and chop the onion. Dice the other veggies as appropriate into small pieces.

Place the washed dal in a large pot and add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Add the salt and turmeric and simmer for about 20 minutes or until dal is soft.

Stir in the sambar powder and the veggies except the onions and cook until they are tender.

Prepare thalippu: heat the ghee/oil and add all the seeds.

When the mustard finish popping, remove from heat, and add the asafoetida, onions and curry leaves carefully.

Cook, stirring until the onions are translucent and start to brown.

Stir the thalippu into the kootu.

Mix in the cilantro and cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or chapati or other breads with a raita or plain yogurt and papadams.

Pass the lemon/lime wedges to squeeze over the kootu if desired.  


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