Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Asparagus Koottu (Asparagus with Lentils)

Hi, Hey & Hello! I am back.. and I hope everyone is doing great in the New Year! Happy New Year to all of you! I was gone to India for a month and had a great time there! I received emails from many of y'all, asking to come back soon. Thanks so much for remembering and visiting my blog :) I know I would have missed some incredible recipes and great posts from you all, but will sure catch-up soon by checking out your blogs and yummy recipes.

As I always say, the hard part of a great vacation is coming back to routine after that. Especially, visiting India is so exhilarating and tiring that it makes us more harder to get back to normal. We came back last week, and it has taken more than a week for me to get back to my routine. Coming back from a perfect December weather in India to a 1° F is a torture. But it was shocking to hear from my friends here, that it feels like spring now after experiencing a brutally horrible -18°F just a couple of days before. I felt like running back to India. In addition to the weather, the jet-lag etc., setting up the kitchen and loading the fridge, is a torment. Well, finally I'm back to routine.

As usual, we had a great time there! Madurai is still the same nice town. Ofcourse, I may be biased because its my hometown :) Who wouldn't like their hometowns?! Like anyone thinking back of their hometown days, I fondly remember growing up there, and everytime I visit there, I get more drawn-in to my old memories! What I like about Madurai is, its just big enough to have everything we need like a big city, but a lot more peaceful and quieter than a "big" city. Its a great feeling to be in my favorite streets, favorite restaurant, favorite movie theatre, favorite stores etc. And surprisingly, for the most part, they haven't changed. Same appearance, same arrangements and even same people!

There was just so much going on in the last month. We had a couple of family events planned during our visit there. We also visited Kerala and stayed in a hill-resort for a few days. It was a fun trip. After a long time, we all sisters met and had a great time! It was so much fun to wear traditional dresses almost everyday, shopping together, eating at our favorite restaurants and having an upset-stomach next day :) With all of us visiting at the same time, mom and dad were so busy with people and kids always around them. And, now that we all sisters are moms, it was also good to see our kids getting along with each other, having fun together and sometimes clashes too :)

Well, I can go on and on chatting about my India trip, so I better stop here :) There are more stories to share, but will save them for my upcoming posts. Alright, I made this great dish for the first time today, after coming across this recipe in a cookbook in India. Ever since I relished some creamy soups and dips made with Asparagus in a few restaurants, I fell in love with this vegetable. I was always curious to make a Indian version with asparagus, but just didn't know how to pick good quality asparagus from the grocery store. Coincidentally, I came across this kootu recipe while I was glancing through a cookbook at my aunt's place in India. That recipe even had tips on selecting and storing this vegetable. It asked to look for thin and firm stems with deep green closed tips and the bottom end should not be too woody or dry. I had taken a note of it and last weekend, I blindly followed the tips and bought it for the first time. The kootu came out wonderful and it tasted awesome with plain rice and some ghee! Hope you all like it too..

  • Asparagus - a bunch (about 10-12 stems)
  • Moong Dal (Pasi Paruppu) - 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Ginger/Garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Tomato - 1 medium
  • G.chillies - 2
  • Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1 tbsp
  • Chop off about an inch from the bottom side of the stems and trim a little on the top too. Now chop the stems to about 1 inch length pieces.
  • Grind the coconut and 1 tsp cumin seeds to a smooth paste.
  • Pressure cook the asparagus, dal, remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds, g.chillies and a little salt. Just allow the same time you would for cooking just the dal. Asparagus is a tender vegetable and would get cooked fast.
  • In a pan, heat oil and season with mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the onions and saute for a few mins.
  • Then add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a min. Add tomatoes and chilli powder and saute until the tomatoes lose shape. Cover and cook for 5 mins.
  • Now add the pressure cooked contents, coconut paste and mix well. Mash the vegetable slightly and let it boil for 2 to 3 mins. Remove from heat.
Enjoy with plain rice and sambar, or just with plain rice and ghee.



Welcome back! I know you are really home(town)sick!Hope you had a blast there:)
Kootu is looking good and great fusion recipe Sujatha!

Cham said...

Glad to know that u a wonderful time in India. U re from Madurai :) How is the Meenakshi Amman temple...
Aspargus I blanched and saute but never Indian version. Looks yummy ur first dish!
Happy New year!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Happy to know that you had some wonderful time. It's really tiring and boring to get back to normal after spending good time. Asparagus koottu is something new to me. Looks yummy. Nice click.

DEESHA said...

great to have you back. glad that you had a great trip. wow asparagus kootu, thatz quite qn innovation. sounds good

Vij said...

Wow such inviting bowl of kottu! yummy. Looks delicious.

notyet100 said...

welcome bck,..enjoyed readin ur post could relate lot,..stil to try asparagus,..version looks nice,..

Shama Nagarajan said...

Are u from Madurai? mom's place....welcome back!!!!!!lovely recipe...

Asha said...

What a great idea to use Asparagus in Koottu, looks delicious! :))

Gita's Kitchen said...

Welcome back :) Happy to know that you had a wonderful time...I have never used asparagus before...making kootu sounds very interesting and the kootu looks delicious too :)

Happy cook said...

Few years we were in Madurai for few days and we really enjoyed there.
I have never made anything like this with asparagus. Kootu looks delicious.

Laavanya said...

Oh that's so true about Madurai.. and I feel the same way.. there's a comforting feeling because it doesn't change so much and you always feel connected. I try to do most of my shopping there too.. less traffic to deal with when compared to Chennai and my mom knows all the ins & outs near the kovil area so I have an expert on hand :) Good to hear you had a fun vacation.

The kootu looks yummy.. sounds interesting.

Sujatha said...

Thanks Raji! Yes, I am home sick :) Hopefully will get better in the next few weeks! :)

Happy New Year to you too Cham! Yes, I am a typical Madurai girl :) Meenakshi temple is great as usual.. they are doing some renovation work on it and I'm sure it will look more beautiful after that!

Thanks KF, Deesha, Viji, Priyanka Asha, Gita and HC! Hope you all are doing fine..

Hi Shama, Nice to know your mom is from Madurai.. :)

Hey Laavanya! you're absolutely right, I feel so comfortable to shop around the temple area with my sister and mom.. gives a great sense of comfort.. :) Missing it now too :)

Usha said...

Welcome back, sounds like you had a wonderful trip to India....asparagus kootu sounds like a great idea..good fusion :-)

Ramya Bala said...

Welcome back sujatha :)and u r right away with a healthy kootu..very good one..and two weeks back I tried ur kothamalli adai it was YUMMY :)

Sujatha said...

Thanks Usha!

Hi Ramya! Glad you like the Kothamalli adai.. :)

Trupti said...

Asparagus and lentils what a combination. Koottu looks very delicious

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

hey, good to see you back!! missed ya.. and thanks for your comments in my blog. it's all because of my blogger friends' support.

wow.. what a creation. i couldn't have thought of making kootu using artichoke.

Viki Xavier. said...

Welcome back dear.Glad to know u are from Madurai.
An Indian version of asparagus is a delight for me . Thanks for sharing this much useful recipe. I never thought of using it this way. Yummy.
Happy New year.

sriharivatsan said...

Thanks for visiting my blog dear and your lovely comments..Glad that your are from madurai, my inlaws place..

As Rak's said, its a fusion recipie..Wonderful and very tempting..

Andhra Flavors said...

welcome back. asparagus koottu is new to me.

Vidhya said...

Welcome back.. Really nice to read about your India trip... Glad you could spend time with your sisters. Asparagus kootu is new to me. I have never tried anything with asparagus. May be its time to try some....

Swapna Pravin said...

Lovely pictures. Kootu is looking great.

Uma said...

good to see you back Sujatha! I was also on a break! Kootu looks so rich and delcious.

Madhuram said...

Yes it's always difficult to get back to routine after coming back from India.

I've made asparagus usili from Bee's blog. Kootu is new to me. That's a nice idea. It's also interesting to know that there are asparagus recipes in Indian cookbooks.