Posted on | October 6, 2008 | 43 Comments |
I ran into an old friend a couple of weeks ago. We were meeting after quite a long time. After the initial pleasantries were exchanged, she asked me a question that shocked me a bit. Don’t you cook any normal food anymore? I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that, so I asked her to define “normal food”. Her definition was – stuff I can cook for a weekday dinner. According to her, lately I’ve been only posting party dishes. I didn’t really agree with this analysis, since all that I’ve been posting lately were weekday dinner for two type of dishes. I guess normal is such a relative term anyway, so we parted after I promised her some normal recipes, though I didn’t have any ideas at the time.
After mulling over what she said for a while, I kind of understood what she meant by normal food. When we were young, my mom always used to make a vegetable “gravy” to go with rice and other more prominent sides. Those curries (for lack of a better term) were considered the “extras”, you know like the supporting cast. They never get the limelight, but you can’t make a movie without them. I think what my friend was talking about were such dishes, the everyday dishes that you just assume everyone knows how to make, but I remember a time when I had to look up such recipes. These days I don’t make such dishes that often, since our meals are really an amalgamation of various cuisines. I checked my drafts and found that I have a few so called “normal recipes” which never made it out here for various reasons. So I have decided to have a Veg Gravy Week here on Live To Eat. Next few posts are going to be everyday gravies that you can have with rice and a quick side for a weekday meal. I must warn you that all these dishes are coconut based, I am a mallu after all. But the three gravies I have in draft all use different forms of it – coconut milk, fresh coconut and roasted coconut.
The first dish I have here is probably the easiest of the lot. I am not a big fan of plain daal, so I always add coconut milk to it. The measures below are just guesstimates, since you can vary the amount of veggies and spice and coconut milk according to your taste. This is a light creamy gravy which is not too spicy and goes well with rice. I love this with papadams and a spicy pickle.
- 3/4 cup mung daal
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 green chilies split
- 3 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 cup potatoes – peeled and cubed
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 tbsp sliced garlic
- A few curry leaves
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
Cook mung daal in a pressure cooker or in a regular saucepan with enough water to cover. Once the daal is soft, mash it well with the back of a spoon to form a thick creamy liquid.
Boil the potatoes in the microwave or stove top till the potatoes are tender.
Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the cumin seeds. After just a few seconds, add the curry leaves, shallots and garlic and sauté till the shallots are soft. Reduce the heat and add the cumin and chili powder. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously till the spice paste just starts to brown, making sure not to burn these.
Add the cooked potatoes and the slit green chilies and sauté till the potatoes are completely coated with the spices. Add the coconut milk and cook on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes till the coconut milk is heated through, but not boiling.
Add the cooked daal, salt and ½ a cup of hot water to the pan and mix well to combine. Add the baby spinach leaves and cover and cook on medium heat for 5-6 more minutes.
Serve with rice or rotis. If served with rice, I really recommend papadams, it is a great combo.
I have been missing all the events lately, so I am overjoyed to send this one over to Sra who is hosting the fourth installment of My Legume Love Affair. This is an event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. Knowing Sra, the strictest hostess in town, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this one qualifies, I didn’t bother reading all the fine print.
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