Finally a Vazhaithandu/Plantain Stem recipe on my blog. :-) I am super happy to share one of my favorite recipes today – it’s the vazhaithandu or the plantain stem mor kootu, a close cousin of Avial. For avial, we use mixed vegetables, but for this, all you need is plantain stem. With the goodness of yogurt, coconut and coconut oil, this rich and creamy kootu is sure a relish.
In the recent past, I am noticing the gaining popularity of the Paleo diet which intrigued me to research more about it. So what’s paleo diet? To put it in simple words, it’s the caveman diet or Paleolithic diet or stone-age diet. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and of course meat while it doesn’t include any processed foods and also grains, legumes etc. A diet without grains and legumes? Yes wiki puts it right; the diet is based on avoiding not just modern processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture.
Today’s recipe is going to be a simple day-to-day rice accompaniment and one of the common and most popular side dish that you can see in a typical Tamil Nadu Thali – Kootu. So here I am presenting a simple, no onion no garlic, green and purple cabbage kootu prepared with fresh ground coconut, curry leaves and cilantro masala.
Vallarai Keerai Kootu is a gravy prepared with moong dal and spinach(Indian Pennywort) with fresh ground coconut masala. This can be served as a rice accompaniment and also as a side for sambar and rasam rice. Vallarai is spinach variety popularly known as Gotu Kola and its botanical name is Centella Asiatica.
Rasavangi is one of the traditional and authentic kootu recipes prepared with tender brinjals and channa dal. Like pitlai we add other legumes also but for this recipe I went only with channa dal. The masala reminds me of the ennai katharikai masala and this curry/kootu is like a gravy version of the same.
Murungai Kai kootu is a rice accompaniment or it can be a meal on its own when served with rice and fryums. Like all the other kootu recipes, this recipe also uses dal and I used the moong dal, and along fresh ground masala with coconut I used about a tsp of sambar powder and tomatoes to add that extra kick. I prepared this in slightly thicker consistency according to our preference.
Keerai kadaiyal is yet another signature recipe of Tamil Nadu cuisine and I wanted to try this in clay pot / Manchatti as we say in Tamil. I went with regular spinach that we get here in US (pasalai keerai) but this can be prepared with any greens that you get. It is a simple steamed spinach which is then mashed with Thayir Mathu / Buttermilk churner (see notes below) and tempered with spices. I am super glad that the Indian stores here started to carry Thandu keerai / Amaranth leaves and also Manathakkali leaves/garden huckleberry.
Brussel Sprouts are like mini cabbages (thats how I call it) and it pretty much tastes like cabbage too. Its one among the healthy green vegetables. I like to roast it, like how they do here in US. But I did try our regular Tamil Nadu kootu also and it came out pretty good. Now brussel sprouts kootu is one among our regular foods :-)
I have used coconut here, you can also use masala without coconut using poppy seeds as in this kootu.
Here is the recipe:
To Pressure cook:
- Brussel Sprouts : 15
- Moong dhal : 1/4 cup
- Tomatoes (optional) : 2 (finely chopped)
- Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
- Coconut : 1/4 cup
- Jeera : 1 tbsp
- Red chillies : 3 (as required)
- Ginger (optional) : a small piece
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Urad dhal : 1 tsp
- Channa dhal : 1 tsp
- Oil: 1 tbsp
- Heeng : 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 1/2 strand
- Cilantro chopped – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 2 tsps (as required)
- Pressure the ingredients given under to pressure cook. (2 whistles is enough)
- Drain the water and save 1/4 cup of water and rest you can use as vegetable broth for any soup.
- Meanwhile, grind the masala.
- Head the kadai and add oil.
- Once the oil is heated add mustard seeds, urad dhal, channa dhal and heeng.
- Once they start to splutter, add the curry leaves and saute for a minute and then add the cooked veggie and the dhal.
- Add tumeric powder and mix well.
- Add the grinded masala now.
- If you want thin consistency add more water, if not let it boil for 5-7 minutes.
- Add the chopped cilantro in the end and serve with sambhar rice or rasam rice.
We are in the last week of this month’s blogging marathon. The 4th weeks theme is our own. So I picked the post partum recipes. I really like out traditional food and recipes, especially for the postpartum. The reason for using specific ingredient is really amazing and how they food as medicine is fascinating. I can keep on talking about this theme and process. You can see my thoughts on Pathiya samayal here.
So the first dish, that we are going to see is Peerkangai/Ridgegourd kootu without chillies and coconut. Red chillies increases the body heat, so they don’t use it for three months after delivery. Pepper takes the place of red chilly and they don’t use coconut also. The food needs to as light as possible, so as to prevent colic in babies. So here is the recipe
- Grind dalia, jeera and pepper into a smooth paste by adding water.
- Pressure cook the moong dal and ridge gourd together
- Head the kadai and add oil.
- Once the oil is heated add mustard seeds, jeera and heeng.
- Once they splutter add the boiled dhal and veggie.
- Add salt, turmeric powder.
- Let it cook for couple of minutes and then add the grinded mixture.
- If you want thin consistency add more water, if not let it boil for 5 minutes and it is done.
Submitting this post for Blogging Marathon #43 – A 3 day marathon for 4 weeks
Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#43
This recipe is a simple jackfruit seed kootu or gravy with brinjals and fresh ground coconut masala. One of our friends gave us loads of Jackfruit seed (palakottai). So obviously it’s going to be palakottai recipes week. :-) This is a great side for rice and also a great accompaniment.