Tuesday 22 July 2014

Vegetable-Dhal Rice (கூட்டாஞ்சோறு)

Dhal-vegetable rice or ‘kootan choru’ (கூட்டாஞ்சோறு) used to be made in my native place, especially when people gather for an occasion. Generally, it is made in a large vessel in the open courtyard letting the pleasant aroma to waft in the air and tickling the taste buds! ‘Kootan choru’ is not a typical Brahmin recipe. It is commonly made with newly harvested rice (புது அரிசி), dhal and fresh country vegetables (நாட்டு காய்கறிகள்). This recipe, which I have learnt many years ago is not tamarind based, but is tasty and filling. 'Kootan choru' is different from 'kathamba satham' (கதம்ப சாதம்), the recipe of which I intend to post shortly.  You can serve 'kootan choru' with a spicy chutney and vadam.

Raw rice – 1 tumbler or 200ml measure
Moong dhal – ¾ tumbler or 150ml measure
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Ghee – 2 tablespoons
Mixed vegetables – cut into cubes, 3 teacups or 600ml measure*
Shallots – peeled, a handful (சாம்பார் வெங்காயம்)
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
Peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Ginger – grated, 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Split urad dhal – 1 teaspoon
Red chillies – 2-3 no
Curry leaves – a few

To be ground into a paste:
Coconut – grated, 1 tablespoon
Green chillies – 2-3 no (adjust to taste)

*Generally country vegetables such as white pumpkin, cluster beans, raw mango, broad beans, snake gourd, plantain, brinjal and drumstick are used. However, you may also use French beans, potatoes and carrots, if you like. I prefer to use raw mango necessarily, as it gives a tangy taste to the preparation.

Vegetable-Dhal Rice (கூட்டாஞ்சோறு)

Method: Grind green chillies and coconut into a fine paste using the mixer-grinder. Peel shallots. Cut vegetables into cubes, wash well and drain. Keep aside. 

Heat oil in a handi or pressure pan, add shallots and sauté till they become transparent. Add the cut vegetables and fry for two minutes. Wash rice and dhal well, drain and add to the handi. Now add 7 tumblers (1400ml) of water and mix well. Add salt, peppercorns, jeera, turmeric powder, ground paste and ginger. Mix well. Close the lid of the handi or pressure pan. Cook on high heat for 6-7 whistles. Switch off the fire. Allow the pressure to subside. Then open the lid and mix the contents well.

Heat ghee a tadka pan or spice pan (தாளிக்கிற கரண்டி), add red chillies and fry till they turn darker. Then add mustard seeds and when they start to sputter, add urad dhal. Fry till the dhal becomes golden brown in color. Switch of the fire. Add curry leaves to the pan and sauté for 10 seconds. Add the seasoning to the rice. Serve hot with a spicy chutney or vadam. 

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