My son seems to always hit bulls eye!

In his innocent way he enquired yesterday - "Mama, you are not going to make breads and cakes any more?"

I was quite perplexed, and when I asked him why he felt that, he replied - "No, no. Just that you have not baked during the last two Saturdays!"

Of course, the traditional cooking was set off with Ganesh Chaturthi, followed by Gokulashtami! I was drained of energy preparing festive goodies which is why the 'Saturday Bakes' sat on the backburner! In fact I enjoyed the traditional fare so much that most of my everyday cooking too followed the same pattern!

This leads to my post today - Puzhukku! Puzhukku is again a typical Palakkad vegetable which falls more in the category of Kootu.

Oh, oh! More confusion? I hope this clarifies:) Here is a Staple Meal of Tamilians.

In the picture from Left to Right:

Pickle, cabbage poduthuval (Dry cabbage garnished with coconut), Aviyal, kootu, pazham pachadi (Fruit jam kind of thing), Thayir pachadi (Seasoned Curd), Vadai, and Rice with a dollop of ghee/clarified butter and Sambar on top. Apart from this two payasams were served in cups - pal payasam made with milk, and tengapal payasam made with coconut milk and jaggery. The recipe for tengapal payasam will follow in a few days time.

The picture above was taken at my friend, S's new house - like most Indians she performed a small puja to ward off evils and bring in good tidings before the family starts living there. This is called "Gruhapravesham" or "Housewarming". More about the puja later. This picture represents a classic South Indian Meal taken on freshly cut and washed plantain leaves. I took this picture just before my other friend 'N' was about to start eating! Some of the dishes are not seen as they came as later courses, but this is what it essentially is!

The staple meal of Palakkad is steamed brown/white rice, accompanied by sambar/rasam/ morkootan among gravies, kootu/poduthuval among semi-dry or dry vegetables, the ubiquitous thayir/dahi (Curd) and pickles and pappadam. Earlier people used to make both sambar and rasam everyday but now the style has changed slightly - possibly due to change in lifestyle! One just does not have the time to go about cooking such an elaborate meal. If I cook up a Tamilian meal, it is generally just rice, one gravy and one dry dish. No papads with every meal:)

The dishes that fall in the category of sambars also include porichakozhambu which is again vegetables cooked in tamarind water! A post on sambars follows soon!

Kootu includes almost any dish which is semi-dry, contains vegetables and legumes - chana dal/moong/horsegram, and of course garnished with generous amounts of grated or ground coconut!

Puzhukku is one of the kootu varieties - it is one of my favourites, and I could have just this in cupfuls without anything else! I like this best taken with rice - more puzhukku and less rice:). It is an exotic blend of saboot moong (whole green legumes with the skin on), some earthy vegetables like suran/chenai(Elephant's foot yam), aloo/urulakazhanga (Potatoes), kaccha kela/vazhakkai (Raw Green Bananas) etc., and of course ground coconut!!

Does this tempt you enough?

1 cup Saboot Moong/Whole Green Pulses with skin on
1/2 coconut grated

Vegetables - Diced small and cleaned in water
1 medium sized Carrot
1 medium Potato
1 Raw Banana
1/2 cup of diced yam (Elephant's Foot)
a handful of 'koorkaikazhanga' if you find them - Does anyone have an image or an English/Hindi equivalent for this one?

1 tsp. sarson/rai/kadugu (Mustard Seeds)
2 or 3 sukhi lal mirch / dry red chillies
1 sprig of curry leaves/kadipatta/kargapulai
1 tsp coconut oil - try not to substitute as this adds a unique flavor

1. Pressure cook dal and set aside.

2. Cook the diced and cleaned vegetables in just enough water with 1/4 tsp. of turmeric powder and a little salt till well cooked. The vegetables should be well cooked, not just done but not too mushy.

3. Whizz the coconut with a green chilli for a second just to mince it well and form a coarse paste with very little water. The idea is to mince the chilli and not grind the coconut!

4. Combine the cooked moong, vegetables and ground coconut paste together. The mixture should contain water just enough to help you mix the ingredients. Adjust salt to taste.

5. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the dry red chillies followed by curry leaves. Pour over the hot vegetable.

6. Blogger? Well then - don't forget to keep some of the seasoning aside so that you can make the picture attractive:)

This is my entry for the second edition of "My Legume Love Affair" - an affair conceptualized by Susan of 'The Well Seasoned Cook' and this time hosted by Lucy of 'Nourish me'. Well - This dish is not only a legume affair that tantalizes your tongue, but it promises to nourish you with its wonderful seasonings - A Merry Blend - Whatsay?

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