Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Express Kerala dinner

When this blog contains many many posts which have to be organised with various combinations of labels and tags, you will find this recipe under "basic", "simple", "quick dinners" and the like. I actually started making this yummy meal after we began to get hungry. I have a strict policy of not calling call my own cooking yummy, but for this post I allow myself because it is a 100% handed down recipe and I promise I shall transmit any credit that this dinner gets faithfully to mommy dearest. I will call it Kerala lentil stew with ash gourd (Ehh..) to save you the trouble of learning the actual Malayalam name.
Twenty minutes, twenty five if you are slow and finicky about too many vessels and mess like me. Go ahead, time yourself.
For a meal for two you will need:
- One cup rice
- 3/4 Cup Mung dal
- 300gm Ash gourd (Indian name white pumpkin)
- Two or three green chillies
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi)
- Two Tbsp Coconut oil
- 8-10 Curry leaves
- Salt

Wash the rice in a pot, add water to fill the pot. Set on the stove and let the rice cook. Meanwhile, discard the seed portion of the ash gourd and peel it as well. Cut into cubes and put in a cooker. Wash and add the mung dal to the cooker. Add enough water in the cooker to just cover the dal and vegetable. Add salt, turmeric powder, slit green chillies and set on the stove with the weight on. When the first steam goes lower the flame to the minimum. When the second steam goes, turn off the flame and let it stand. Attend to the rice (ask me how if you don't know) and keep it aside when done. Once the pressure in the cooker has let up, open it and give it a stir or two to mash up the lentils. Add about 3/4 cup of plain water, mix well and let it come to a simmer. Take a whiff of the dal and notice how plain it smells. 
The next 20 seconds completes your meal with a flourish. Rip the curry leaves bunch in two and keep ready. Take the coconut oil in a deep metal ladle and hold it over a low flame to heat it very mildly (@ North Indians: this is not a tadka. Heat very mildly!). Drop the curry leaves into the ladle and then stir the contents of the ladle into the simmering dal. Take another whiff of the entirely morphed flavour. Serve with rice and absolutely any south Indian pickle.
The picture is only perfunctory.

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