I like this particular cooking event hosted by Sweetnicks, and I'm pleased that I havent missed too many episodes - just the first one entirely. I took part in the second ARF/5-a-day event, but was too late sending my link to Sweetnicks (mainly from sheer ignorance).
The other events hosted by food bloggers are usually out of bounds for me for various reasons - not enough time/inclination/imagination/expertise/take your pick - but since I've been trying to eat more veg and generally be more healthy, this event appeals to me a lot. It isnt difficult either - I mean, vegetables and fruit are everyday items on the menu, so putting up a post is easily accommodated. As an added bonus, I get to feel like I belong with the other food bloggers. It's all good! Yay for Sweetnicks! :)
Anyway, my entry for ARF/5-a-day #3 is poricha kuzhambu - a favourite with all of us when we were growing up and especially so for my mother, because she could use up all the odds and ends of vegetables left at the end of the week. It's my brother's all-tmie favourite, I think - paired with coconut thogayal (a type of chutney) and sutta appalam (poppadums which have been cooked directly on an open flame instead of being deep fried). I like an added extra with that - narthangai, which is a type of green citron (my best guess, since I dont have the English word for this fruit), salted and sun-dried.
My reason for making poricha kuzhambu was pretty much because I had lots of bits of vegetables - carrots, cabbage, green beans, spinach, potatoes, chayote squash. And I added some frozen green peas as well, because I love peas. It's an incredibly healthy recipe, containing all these veggies as well as protein in the form of moong dal. It's also very simple if you use a pressure cooker.
Recipe for: Poricha kuzhambu (South Indian vegetable 'stew')
Poricha kuzhambu, served over rice with coconut thogayal and fried bitter-melon crisps (brought over from India!)
4 cups mixed vegetables, chopped (any combination of carrots, green beans, cabbage, spinach, potatoes, chayote squash, aubergine, peas, etc, but not okra)
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Grind together to a smooth paste, using a few tbsp warm water:
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp black peppercorns
3-4 dry red chillies (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp rice flour
1 tsp oil
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
7-8 curry leaves
2 tsp urad dal
pinch of asafoetida powder
1. Pressure cook the dal and vegetables together with turmeric powder for about 3 whistles. When the cooker can be opened safely, stir the vegetables and dal till mixed.
If not using a pressure cooker, cook the dal separately in plenty of water till soft and mushy. Drain most of the water and mash the dal. Cook the vegetables separately in just enough water to cover, till they are somewhat overdone but not a helpless mush. Mix the two together, add salt to taste, and set aside.
2. In a deep pan, heat the oil. Put in the mustard seeds, cover, and let them pop. Add the rest of the tempering ingredients and stir till the urad dal turns reddish.
3. Now pour in the vegetable-dal mixture. Stir in the coconut masala paste until it is well amalgamated with the vegetables.
4. Add more water if the mix is too thick, and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for five minutes.
5. Serve hot over steamed rice, or with chapaties.