Dal is something that is made almost every other day in my household. Not just my home, but that is the case in almost every Indian households. Lentils form one of the main source of protein to vegetarians. I am always looking for new ways of making the same old pappu/ dal.
My everyday dals are usually very simple like this tomato pappu or this palakura pappu. But occasionally I do make kootu where dal is cooked with vegetables and coconut-peppercorn masala paste. My mom learned it from a Tamil neighbor.
Today’s recipe is from the cookbook, Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan. Masala pasta is almost similar to what my mom makes, but the addition of mixed vegetables was interesting to me. This is a perfect recipe to make when you have those odds and ends of veggies in the fridge that need to be used up. Any combination of veggies can be used here — apart from the ones I have used potato, zucchini, cauliflower can also be added to the kootu.
Make the Spice Paste: Heat 1tsp oil in a pan; add cumin seeds, peppercorns, red chilies and hing until seeds start to splutter. Mix in the coconut and grind into a fine paste, adding very little water.
In a saucepan, boil the vegetables with salt and turmeric.
Add the cooked dal to the vegetables and simmer for couple of minutes.
Next add the spice paste and cook for 4~5 minutes for the flavors to mingle.
Heat 2tsp ghee in a small saucepan; add all the ingredients for tempering. When the seeds start to splutter, add it to the dal.