Spring mix salad greens kootu

Once in a while, and quite frequently lately, I get over-enthusiastic about being healthy. I work out, go for a walk, cook healthy, watch my portion sizes and at the end of the day weigh myself. ūüôā If I go shopping on one of those days, boy do I go crazy. I read the nutrition information on almost everything I put into my cart, I buy all things green, some things organic and I vouch I would eat salad the rest of the week. I know, I know, everything in moderation.

It was one such days: I went over the top and picked up a big box of Organic Spring mix greens for my salad, from Costco. I did eat salad for dinner a couple of days, but then I couldn’t do it everyday. There it was, making me feel guilty about letting them go waste, staring at me through the plastic box, every time I opened the fridge. As I was wondering about what to make for lunch yesterday, I realized it was now or never for those greens. I had to use them or throw them away in the garbage the next day. I decided to make a mixed dal kootu with them. I figured, if I could eat them raw, I could certainly eat them cooked. ūüôā

In case you are wondering, what Spring mix is: It is a mixture of very young leaves and shoots of wild and cultivated plants, including¬†endive,¬†dandelion, arugula,¬†lamb’s lettuce, oak leaf,mache,¬†radicchio,¬†chervil, sorrel,¬†frissee, purslane, etc. Sometimes¬†edible flowers are included. It originated in Southern France and is also labeled as Mesclun or Field Greens.

The box I had bought listed the following as Ingredients: Organic Baby Lettuces(Red & Green Romaine, Red & Green Oak Leaf, Red Leaf, Lolla Rosa, Tango), Organic Red & Green Chard, Organic Mizuna, Organic Arugula, Organic Mache, Organic Frisee and Organic Radicchio.


3/4 box of Spring mix salad greens

1/2 cup toor dal

1/2 cup moong dal

1/2 cup channa dal

1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 onion chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

5 green chillies

3 tbsp grated coconut

1 carrot chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 tsp mustard

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp channa dal

1 whole red chilly

pinch of asafoetida


Mix all the dals together, rinse and place in a pressure cooker, along with the garlic, tomatoes, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and enough water. Cook for 3 whistles or until the dal is cooked.

Meanwhile, chop the greens. (They already come washed and ready to use, so you can omit that step.) Heat the oil in the wide bottomed pan, add mustard. When it splutters, add the urad dal and channa dal. When the dals brown, add the 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add the asafoetida, and the whole red chilly.  Then, add the chopped onion. Add salt and the other 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder. When the onion softens, add the chopped greens. Toss until the greens wilt.

Grind the chopped carrot, green chillies, 1 tsp of cumin seeds and the grated coconut to a smooth paste adding enough water. I added the carrot because it gives a sweetness to the dish, as the greens would kind of taste bitter. Also, it adds more veggies to the dish. Add the ground paste to the wilted greens, and also add the cooked dal. Bring to a boil. Serve hot spooned atop steaming white rice, with a drop of ghee.

Verdict: It tasted awesome with both rice and with rotis. If I had told DH it was spinach kootu, he would have had it with his eyes closed. Actually, I didn’t tell him anything. I seriously doubt he knows what it was until now. It was a great balance of sweetness from the carrot and the coconut, and a slight bitterness from the greens. It reminded of manathakkali keerai kootu that my mom makes. Too bad, we don’t get that here in the US. I now have a very good replacement for it. On top of it all, it tasted very cuminy.

Because of that, and because it uses cumin in three different ways, cooked with the dal whole, fried in oil in the tadka and ground in the masala, this would be my entry for Cooking with Seeds – Cumin event hosted by Saraswathi of Sara’s corner.

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