Friday, October 24, 2008

Cluster Beans and Lentils Gravy (Kothavarangai Poricha Kuzhambu)

When my kids were 10 and 6, we lived in India for a year. Our neighbor had a 2 year old at that time, who used to sing this tamil song, like a rhyme

"Thambikku Kalyanam.... " and it used to have the words Kothavarangai Paruppu kootu, in it.
If anyone knows the full song please email it to me.
I have mostly made the Paruppu Usili with it. My mother used to make this kootu a lot. In the US, mostly the beans we get here are very mature hence it tastes beter in a paruppu usili. But when I came across the tender ones, I made this Kootu. I referred to "Meenakshi Ammal's Samaithu Paar" which literlly translates to "Cook and see" but means "Try and Cook"
And I have to talk about this book here... every Tamilian girl who gets married will have all the three parts of this book, whether she cooks or not. I bet you, ten times to one, to go and look through a tamilian girls recipe books and you will find these either in english or Tamil.
Since I got married in two weeks time, and was here immediatly after the two weeks, I have my mother's books with me. So some pages are missing or some recipes have been marked with oil stains, so it is very precious to me!!!
I do refer to these books from time to time, I love the way she writes, even though the amount of oil she asks that you use is incredulous, i still love it.
These 3 books have all that you need to know about tamilian cooking right from, how to make rice, to planning the menu for a wedding, or how to get ready for a puja... Just GREAT!!!
If you have the book, this recipe can be found in Book #3, under chapter 2, which is Poricha Kuzhambu and Kootu Types. It is called Kothavarangai Thengai Paal Poricha Kuzhambu.
I have followed it exactly except for the oil amounts!
Now lets come to the recipe...
Tender Cluster Beans - Cut in small pieces -- 1 and 1/2 cups
Toor dal (Split Pigeon Peas) - 1/2 Cup
Thick Coconut milk- 3 Tablespoons
Salt - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Sambar Powder - 1/2 Teaspoons
Dry Red Chili - 2
Black Pepper Corns - 7 to 8
Mustard - 1 Teaspoon
Urad Dal Split (Bengal Gram Dal) - 2 Teaspoon
Rice flour - 1 Teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoons
Hing - a dash
Curry Leaves and Coriander - To garnish
Oil - 2 Teaspoons
--->Pressure cook Toor Dal in your cooker.
--->In a teaspoon oil roast one teaspoon urad dal, the dry red chillies and black pepper corn till it becomes a light rose color and make a fine powder
--->Mix the coconut milk and the rice flour and mix the powder along with it and keep aside.
--->In a vessel, put the chopped cluster beans, and add water till it covers , then add the salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder and keep on a medium high flame.
--->Once the beans is cooked, add the masala you have made (coconut milk +rice flour + and roasted powder) to it. Let it come to a boil.
--->By this time your lentils will have cooked, mash it and add this to your cluster beans.
--->Let it come to a boil again.
---> In another pan, add a teaspoon oil and the mustard and let it sputter, once it sputters add the rest of the Urad Dal and roast till it becomes rose in color.
--->Pour this on the Cluster beans and garnish with Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves.
Enjoy with hot rice and ghee.....

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