I came across an announcement for a “power”less cooking event, i.e. cooking without the use/ help of electric gadgets. The idea struck me as a novel one and so this recipe is just right for the event.
Of course, in the old days, no one used electric gadgets! A lot of traditional cooking was labour intensive yet there are quite a few dishes which could be put together with minimum fuss or effort.
Mulagushyam is one of these and made often in Palakkad Iyer homes (everyone has their own version, of course!). This is a lentil based gravy cooked with vegetables in it and is eaten with rice. This recipe is for Carrot Mulagushyam which is not traditional as carrots are considered an "English" vegetable, that is it was brought to India from outside. Usually cooked with one vegetable or a mix of two vegetables, Mulagushyam is traditonally cooked with vegetables that are native to Kerala like yard long beans, raw bananas, elephant yam, etc.
- Mash the tuvar dal. Cook the vegetables in 1 1/2 cups of water with turmeric powder and salt till soft. You could pressure cook them too. Add the mashed dal and mix well. Allow to come to boil, then add the crushed pepper and cumin powder. Mix well and turn off the heat. Crush the curry leaves by hand and add. Now add the coconut oil, stir once and cover. Leave the flavours to steep for half an hour.
- Serve with rice, pickles or thogayal (a thick type of chutney) and paapad for a complete meal.
Note: Traditionally, ash gourd (white pumpkin/ elavan) is the vegetable used for Mulagushyam. Elephant yam (chenai) or raw banana (vazhakkai) or a combination of both can also be used. For a less traditional version (like this one), a combination cabbage and peas also tastes good.
Also, this is a some what bland dish as chillies are not usually added but a little bit of black pepper makes for a very nice aroma and flavour. If you like it spicier, you may add a green chilli or two but never red chillies or chilli powder!