Poosanikai Paruppu kootu

To go with my freezer clean out pulikulambu yesterday, I decided to make poosanikai paruppu kootu. Poosanikai or Ash gourd is a winter melon variety. It belongs to the same family as Musk melon or the Honeydew melon that we find here in the United States. In Tamil cuisine it is most often paired with dals as in sambar or kootu or with buttermilk in morkulambu or morkootu.

My mom always made morkulambu or sambar with it, and I remember how my brother and I referred to it as ‘ice katti kai’, while we were kids. It was because it turned translucent when cooked and resembled ice cubes floating in the sambar. Oh the memories!!

Back to present day and the recipe for this kootu:

Ingredients:

2 cups of poosanikai peeled and chopped

3/4 cup of toor dal

1/4 cup of moong dal

5 green chillies slit

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1/2 onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic sliced (optional)

salt to taste

1 tsp canola oil

1/2 tsp of mustard seeds

1 tsp of split urad dal

1 tsp of channa dal

1 red chilly

a sprig of curry leaves

Method:

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, boil the toor dal and the moong dal with enough water and a few drops of oil. Leave a ladle in the pan, as this prevents the water from boiling over. I don’t normally pressure cook the dal for this kootu, for the dal to have a bite adds texture to the dish. Add turmeric and salt. When the dal is cooked halfway through add the green chillies, onion and the poosanikai. When the poosanikai is cooked well, switch of the stove. In a small kadai, heat oil over medium high heat and season with mustard. When the mustard splutters, add urad dal and channa dal. When the dals turn golden, add the red chilly, garlic and curry leaves. Add the tadka to the kootu.

Verdict: This kootu had a mellow almost sweet taste that balanced the fiery spice of the pulikulambu really well.More so, it tasted awesome with curd rice.

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