Both the “Mulagootal and “Thogayal” are very typical preparations of the Palakkad Iyers. A “Mulagootal” is made usually using one type of vegetable (traditionally amaranth leaves, raw banana, yam, pumpkin, ash gourd or snake gourd though nowadays beans, cabbage, carrots, etc are used; this list of vegetables is not exhaustive) and occasionally a combination of two vegetables like raw banana and yard long beans. The vegetable is cooked with red gram lentils (or sometimes split moong lentils) in a coconut gravy but no chillies or pepper is used making this rather bland yet very tasty.
However, when I make mulagootal, I add 1 green chilli while grinding the coconut paste and the chilli lends a flavour without the “bite”.
Since a mulagootal is bland, it is always served in combination with a spicy and tangy preparation like a thogayal (recipe follows in this post) or a puli pachadi (made with tamarind) or a thayir pachadi (made with yogurt) or a pulikyatchal ( a very spicy and tangy chutney made from green chillies, ginger and tamarind). If one is feeling lazy and not upto preparing a second dish, then a spicy pickle or a podi would do just as well.
Here, the vegetable in my mulagootal is beans but you can make this with a vegetable of your choice following the same recipe.
2 cups, thinly sliced green beans
1 cup cooked and mashed red gram lentils (tuvar dal)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
For the paste:
3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black gram lentils (urad dal)
1 green chili (optional)
For the tempering:
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or sunflower oil)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp black gram dal (urad dal)
In a pan, put in about ¼ tsp oil and put in the 1 tsp black gram lentil (for the paste). Sauté till it starts turning golden. Add the cumin seeds and sauté till it just till it gives off an aroma. Do not brown it. Grind the sautéed lentil and cumin seeds with the coconut and green chilli, adding just enough water to obtain a smooth paste.
In the same pan (or another one), put the green beans, turmeric powder and salt along with 1 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer till the beans are well cooked.
Alternatively, you may cook the beans in the microwave till done and then put it on the stove with turmeric, salt and about ¾ cup of water and bring this to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium.
This is what I do. I find it quicker and also like it that the beans retain their green colour.
Now add the mashed red gram lentils and the curry leaves. Mix well and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut paste, stir again and allow to come to a boil. After about 2 or 3 minutes turn off the heat.
Pour the mulagootal into a serving bowl.
In a small pan, heat the 1½ tsp oil for tempering. Put the mustard seeds in and when they splutter, add the black gram dal and stir till it becomes golden in colour. Pour this into the mulagootal.
Stir before serving.
A thogayal is a thick, coarsely ground chutney which is very typical of Iyer cuisine. Another type of chutney which is somewhat like a thogayal is the “chammandi” made in the Indian state of Kerala.
A thogayal is usually quite spicy and forms a good combination with the comparatively bland mulagootal.
This parippu/ lentil thogayal is just one of the many different kinds we make. In this particular thogayal, curry leaves are not usually added, but I do as we like the subtle flavour that it adds to the meal.
4 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1/4 cup red gram lentil (tuvar dal)
2 tbsp black gram dal (urad dal)
2 or 3 dried red chillies
a small piece ( size of a grape) of tamarind
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
a sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
Heat the oil and add the red gram and the black gram lentils. Sauté till the lentils turn golden. Add the chillies and the asafetida powder and sauté for about ½ a minute. Turn off the heat. Add the curry leaves and stir a couple of times.
Grind the sautéed mixture, grated coconut, tamarind and salt with very little water into a coarse paste.
Serve the thogayal with mulagootal or mulagushyam and hot rice.
Thogayal also tastes good plain with hot rice and ghee, or with dosas.