Saturday, September 24, 2011

Peerkankai Masiyal (Chinese Okra and Dal Stew)

Peerkankai Masiyal Ingredients

Peerkankai Masiyal is a simple traditional South Indian stew that is very nutritious as well as utterly delightful. Peerkankai, whether ridged or smooth (Luffa acutangula or aegyptiaca/cylindrica), are also known as Tori or Torai, Chinese Okra, sponge Squash, etc. Both types of peerkankai - ridged and smooth skinned - are interchangeable and either can be used in this or other recipes. While young and tender, the squashes are mild and delicious as vegetables and are used in Asian cuisines; but if left to mature, they become fibrous loofah sponges perfect for scrubbing away dry skin and dead cells from our bodies!

Serves 4 - 6


2 medium young Loofah Gourds (Peerkankai)
1 green chile ( Serrano or Jalapeño), cored and minced
1 cup Toor Dal
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Lime/Lemon

2 tsp Ghee/Oil
1-2 Dry Hot Red Chile
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Asafetida
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves


Sort, wash, and cook the dal in fresh water to cover until soft and creamy.

Lightly peel the Peerkankai and slice or dice.

Add to the dal along with the chile, turmeric, and salt; cook until the veggies are soft. Mash coarsely with the back of a spoon if desired.

Add hot water if needed for desired consistency; we usually keep it medium thick and not too thin.

Prepare thalippu: Heat the ghee/oil and add the chiles and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the asafetida.

Turn off the heat and add the curry leaves very carefully - they are explosive when they meet the hot oil - cover with a lid quickly if you like and let sizzle a few seconds or until the sizzling subsides.

Pour the aromatic thalippu into the dal mixture and mix well.

Squeeze the lime or lemon and add the juice to the masiyal according to your taste; start with the half a lime/lemon and add more as you wish.  Add the lime/lemon just before serving. Stir well.

Serve hot with rice/roti. Enjoy!!

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