There is a saying about Indian food - "Lentils are the backbone of India, while Veggies are it's heart". How true! I think India has some of the best vegetarian dishes in the world. Its not surprising that the art of cooking vegetables has reached its peak in Indian cooking. Tamilnadu has equally a large number of vegetarians. Even non-veg households eat more vegetables than meat. I still remember those days when we used to go to the jam-packed, noisy veggie market with full of activities - sellers shrieking out the vegetable names and rates, buyers bargaining with the sellers for a bunch of curry leaves! Amidst the chaos, the fresh smell of the cilantro & mint leaves is irresistible & the sweet flavor of fruits is fantastic! The green veggies & fruits that are spread out throughout the market gives a fresh feeling to the mind. No wonder there are so many vegetarian dishes in Indian cooking!
This is a very healthy dish and a treat for vegetarians. This dish will delight you and anyone else you're cooking for. I adapted this from a tamil dish "Navadhaniya Kuruma", meaning multi-grain gravy cooked with coconut and spices. You can make it spicier, tangier or more herbal by adjusting the spices. I initially found this in a cookbook (I've tried this a few times now) and I never seem to make it the same way twice. I keep altering the seasoning, play around with spices depending on my mood and whatever taste I am hungry for and I suggest that you do the same too.
- 1 tbsp each of the following grains (dry): Grean Peas (Vatana), Rajma, Black-eyed peas, Black chana, White Chana, Whole green moong, Lima beans (Papdi lilva), Brown Moong.
- Potatoes - 2 medium
- Onions - 2 medium
- Tomatoes - 2 medium
- Ginger - 1 inch
- Garlic - 3 big cloves
- G. Chillies - 2
- Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
- Cloves - 2
- Cardamom - 1
- Bay leaf - 1
- Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
- Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
- Poppy Seeds (Kaskas) - 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Chilli powder - 1 tsp
- Corriander powder - 2 tsp
- Cilantro leaves for garnishing.
- Soak the grains overnight.
- Peel the skin and cook the potatoes along with the grains in pressure cooker.
- Grind the ginger, garlic and g.chillies to a paste.
- Grind the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, coconut, poppy seeds to a paste.
- Heat oil in a pan, Add bay leaf and fry for a few seconds. Add the finely chopped onions and fry for a few mins until golden brown.
- Add the ginger/garlic/g.chillies paste and fry for 2 mins.
- Add the ground coconut paste and fry in medium heat for 5 mins.
- Add the cooked grains and mix well.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilli powder, corriander powder and enough water to cover the grains and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins.
- Finally shred the potatoes and add to the boiling mixture. Boil until the mixture reaches a thick gravy consistency. You can add more water if required.
- Garnish with corriander leaves.
Goes well with Plain rice & Chapathis.