By Gauri Trivedi
If food habits and preferences are any indication of what part of India one belongs, they got it all wrong with me! Maybe it is on account of the fact that my mom fed me plain white rice and ghee most of the my childhood (she in turn blames my weak stomach for the same) or that we always had neighbors who came in from the South, with their delicious sambhars and rasams and idlis and rice (which I was already devouring a mouthful of) and settled alongside us.
For this particular recipe, Let me start by saying that in no way do I wish to limit the delectableness of South Indian cuisine to a mere couple of dishes mentioned above, but I guess those dishes were most popular amongst the non- natives and still remain so.
Now, that I do my own cooking, out of all the everyday South Indian dishes, the ‘Kootu’ happens to be a favorite. I love it mainly for three reasons, simplicity, taste and nutritional value. It is healthy, can be paired with several kinds of main dishes and can be cooked at short notice.
‘Kootu’ is a dish made with vegetables and lentils. It is usually made with moog dal but any kind of dal can be used. It has less of lentils and more of vegetables. It is thicker than Sambhar but not too dry either. Consistency varies depending on the vegetable used, the cook’s preference and what you want to serve it with. So it can be adjusted to how thick or thin you want it to be.
Beetroot Kootuo is made from Beetroot and its leaves and lentils. As much as I want to take credit for coming up with this one, the truth is, a friend was nice enough to share her recipe and it turned out perfect the first time I tried it.
What I need
One beetroot, peeled and grated
Beetroot leaves finely chopped
½ cup Yellow Moong Dal
Water to cook
Salt to taste
For the Ground Masala – grind together 3 green chilies, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 tbsp. grated coconut
For tempering– ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, couple of curry leaves and a pinch of asaftoeda
How I make it
Wash the Moong Dal, add grated beetroot, chopped leaves and enough water.
Cook in pressure cooker for 15 minutes or 2 whistles.
You may cook it in a vessel, will take a little longer.
Once the dal is cooked, add the ground masala, salt and boil for 5 minutes.
Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida by heating them in a little bit of oil separately.
And is served with.. Only rice if I had it my way, but rotis too.
Sometime I use..
Peanuts in place of coconut.
Dried coconut powder in absence of fresh coconut.
Dry red chilies in place of green.
Chopped spinach in place of beetroot leaves.
Gauri Trivedi is a creative writer, cooks interesting food and a fun person to be with. I have always enjoyed reading her articles and aspire to write like her some day.
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