Parippu Potta Kothavarakkai Kari - Cluster Beans With Lentils (GF, V)
This recipe is more a way of cooking vegetables than a recipe in particular. I have seen my grandmother, mother, mother-in-law and many others in our community cook this particular dish with different vegetables. The vegetables that work well here are cluster beans which we call "kothavarakkai" in Tamil (in this post), snake gourd (podavalangai in Tamil), French beans, carrot or cabbage.
I really don't know the name of this preparation as we refer to it as "parippu potta kari" meaning a "kari" with parippu", where "kari" refers to a dry vegetable preparation and "parippu" means lentils. The name is a bit of a tongue twister to those unfamiliar with the langage, I know, but that is how its is referred to at home.
This a great recipe to resort to especially when you the particular vegetable you have on hand is just short of the quantity needed to reach every plate at your table. Split moong or yellow lentils (moong dal) is cooked along with the vegetable and this not only adds to the taste of the dish but also pushes up the protein content in a vegetarian meal.
Like many of the dishes that make up our traditional everyday meals, cooking this dish doesn't take too much time or effort. You may leave out the asafetida powder if you don't like it or cannot find it.
You may also cook this without the coconut and it tastes almost as good. I say "almost" because I personally like it with the touch of coconut in it.
- Soak the lentils in half a cup of water for half an hour. Then drain the water and keep the lentils ready for cooking.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the red chillies (each broken in half) and sauté a couple of times. Add the asafetida powder and stir a couple of times, making sure it doesn't burn.
- Now add the chopped beans and the lentils and about 1/2 a cup of water. Add the salt and turmeric powder, stir well and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the beans and lentils cook till done but not mushy, and there is no water left in the pan.
- Another way of cooking ( a faster method) this step of the procedure is to microwave the French beans and the soaked and drained lentils with a couple of tbsps of water till done. I do this at 100% for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add this to the pan after adding the asafetida powder and stir well.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the coconut. Stir to mix well and serve warm with rice and a gravy-based "curry" like sambhar, rasam or pulissery.