This is a dish that is truly Palakkad Iyer cooking. I have come across somewhat similar versions in Tamil Iyer homes but not the Palakkad version. A Mulagootal (some call it Milaikootal) can be prepared with a variety of one or a combination of usually two vegetables like raw plantain (vazhakkai), elephant yam (chenai), yard long beans (payaru/ achinga), ash gourd ( elavan/ kumbalanga), pumpkin (maththan) , etc. and “English” vegetables like beans, peas, cabbage, carrots, etc. Whatever the vegetables you use, the mulagootal can be prepeared the same way.
This is a bland dish as it has very little or no spice added to it in the form of chillies or pepper. Yet it is extremely tasty.
This mulagootal of mine is made with “Keerai” (Amaranth leaves). There are a whole variety of these leaves which we cook in different ways. For the purpose of this post, I will divide amaranth leaves by colour – green and red. Mulagootal can be made with both coloured leaves, but when it comes to taste, the green variety of amaranth (especially what we know in Tamil as “arkeerai”) scores over the red.
I usually microwave most of the vegetables I need for daily cooking as they retain their colour and firmness (except some which acquire the softness and required consistency for traditional cooking only if pressure-cooked). I prefer to use my pressure cooker for lentils as I don’t like cleaning up the mess caused by microwaving larger quantities of lentils. I also find the pressure cooker takes less time than the microwave to cook lentils to the consistency (whether just cooked and firm or mushier) that I need for most Indian dishes. So I tend to use a combination of cooking methods in my kitchen.
The morning I saw that this month’s event at Srivalli’s blog was centred around greens, I was planning to make Keerai Mulagootal. So I made it in the microwave (MW) this time. The procedure may look voluminous, but this actually very easy and doesn’t take time to cook.