If you are a blogger, you probably know the Arusuvai friendship chain started by Latha and Lakshmi of The Yum blog. It is basically an event where you send a “secret ingredient” to some of your friends. They cook something delicious with the ingredient and blog about it. This chain which was very popular among the bloggers in India, was started in US by Latha of Masala magic.
I have been reading about this for sometime now, but didn’t exactly know all the details. One fine day, I got a mail from Bee of Jugalbandi asking if I would like to get a surprise package from her. Well, who says no to such a delicious offer? I was eagerly waiting for the package and on a Tuesday received a lovely package in the mail. It had a very fragrant kootu podi, Bee’s favorite California chocolate, a beautiful purse from India and peanut chikki :). Wow!!! I can’t thank you guys enough. It reached me at a time when I was so upset about whole blogging and was thinking to do some drastic changes on this blog. It definitely made me feel very good. Thanks Bee and Jai.
I would also thank Maya for offering me a secret ingredient. I was not sure if it was the same ingredient which is circulated or different one. Now that I know what it is, I feel bad that I let down one more great offer.
According to Wiki,
Kootu is a Tamil dish, common in both Tamil Nadu and South India. Kootus are essentially vegetable and lentil dishes which are semi-solid, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries. Rice and kootu is a common and simple Tamil meal. In Tamil cuisine kootus are considered substitutes for both curries and sambhar.
I have heard of kootu before and also prepared few different types. But frankly speaking, I never tried to understand what a kootu is. My experiments were mainly the Kannada version of kootus with very different spices. After reading the above definition from wiki, I thought of making something like a sambar with it. It came out to be very delicious, not as hot as sambar, but very fragrant and tasty.
1/2 cup toor dal
1 tea spn kootu podi
2 tbl spns frsh/frozen coconut
1 cup vegetables – green beans, carrot, cauliflower, onion, potato, eggplant(brinjal), tomato etc
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
A pinch asafoetida
A pinch turmeric
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract(optional)
Cook dal with turmeric till it is mushy. Cook vegetables (If using cooker vessels, keep dal in bottom most pan and vegetables in topmost).
Grind coconut, tamarind with kootu podi.
Add the ground paste to dal and vegetables. Cook for about 7-8mins.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, asafoetida. Pour this over kootu. Serve hot with rice.
Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 25mins