Thursday, July 17, 2014

Poricha kozhambu ~ Mixed Vegetable Dhal ~ Mixed Vegetable in Lentil coconut gravy curry

Poricha kozhambu is a traditional South Indian recipe usually made with a combination of vegetables although some versions are also made with just one kind of vegetable. Poricha means fried and refers to the process of roasting the spices in oil before grinding and adding them to the vegetables. Kozhambu is a term for any kind of stew like preparation that is served on a bed of plain steamed rice. I have also heard this dish being referred to as poricha kootu, although in our home this has always been kozhambu :)  Either way, one thing is certain, this curry is very flavorful , with the roasted lentil, pepper and coconut all adding different dimensions of taste and flavor to the final dish. 

Even though traditionally this is served on a bed of rice, I have to admit, I easily use any extras with some phulkas (Indian flat bread) and it tastes just amazing that way too. The good thing about this curry is that it tastes great with any combination of vegetables, making it ideal for those days when there is a little bit of many kinds of veggies in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator, good way to use up a lot of them and still make a sizable amount of curry. Also it's healthy, low fat and has a good combination of veggies and lentils, cannot ask for more from a curry :) If you are in the mood for some traditional South Indian fare, give this one a try and enjoy this quick,  healthy curry :)

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Ingredients and method to make Poricha kozhambu
4 and 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables cut into 1/2 inch pieces ( I used zucchini, potatoes and carrots this time, see notes for more options) 
1/2 cup split pigeon peas ( tur dhal/ tuvaram parappu)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste 
Water as needed ( approx about 1 and 1/2 cups)

Roast and grind 
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp split black gram lentil ( udad dhal/ ulatham parappu)
1/4 tsp whole black pepper (kali miri/ milagu)
3 small dry red chilies
1/3 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut (if frozen thaw to room temperature)

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/ kadagu)
Pinch of asafetida powder (hing/ perungayam)
7 to 8 large curry leaves torn into small pieces ( kadipatha/karvapillai)

Soak pigeon peas/ tur dhal in sufficient water for at least 30 minutes. Pressure cook the dhal until it is soft. Mash gently and keep aside.

In the meanwhile for the roast and grind part...
Heat oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add split black gram lentil to it and stir until it turns reddish. Add whole black peppers and dry red chilies and stir a few times. Remove from heat and grind the lentils and chilies along with grated coconut and a little water as needed to a smooth paste.  Keep this paste aside. 

In a large pan, add all the vegetables, salt to taste , turmeric powder and water and cook on medium heat with a lid on till it cooks and is soft. Stir a few times while cooking to ensure even cooking. 

Add ground paste and mashed lentils and mix well. Add water if required to achieve required consistency and simmer for a few minutes until them flavors mingle. 

In a small pan heat oil, add mustard seeds to it. When the seeds begin to splutter, add asafoetida powder/ hing and curry leaves. Stir once or twice and pour this entire seasoning on the vegetable lentil mixture. 

Serve this curry on a bed of plain steamed rice with some of this puli itta Keerai / imli palak/ tamarind flavored spinach for a traditional South Indian meal. 

Any combination of squash, pumpkin (kaddu), sweet potatoes, raw plantain (kaccha kela/vazhakkai), potatoes (aloo/ urilakizhangu), carrots (gajar), eggplants (baingan/kathrikai) or even beans can be used to make this curry

If you are looking for south Indian recipes, here are a few more

Tomato Coconut Curry ~ Thakkali kozhambu

Instant Tiffin Sambar ~ No dhal or tamarind sambar

Potato Masala Curry ~ Aloo ki sabzi ~ Potato gravy curry
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