Sunday, October 16, 2005

Madras Styled Thoor & Spinach Koothu (pronounced: Koe-too)

Not a very tricky recipe, provided you have all the ingredients! Kalyustans carries a lot of these items.

Step 1:
1 Cup split yellow peas (thoor)
2 Cups water
Cook in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Set aside.

Step 2:
Set up rice in rice cooker. (This is enough to feed 2 very hungry folks or 3 not so hungry folks, or four hungry folks, but you are serving other things with it; so use your judgement as to how much rice you make. In our household, 1 cup of dry rice is enough for 1-2).

Step 3:
In a hot wok or skillet, add:

2 Tablespoons oil (I use olive oil)
1 teaspoon dark mustard SEEDS
1 dried serrano chile pepper
2 teaspoons dried moong (it's the yellow part of the split moong bean)
Cook on medium heat, stirring a bit, until the mustard seeds start to POP, and the moong starts to brown a little (not burn!)

Step 4:
Then add:
10-12 Khari leaves (They will start to sizzle immediately)
2 Tablespoons grated, unsweetened coconut (You can substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of Tamarind paste for a tangier version)
2-3 Pinches of Asafatoeida

Step 5:
Add the thoor to the masala (spice mix). Add 2 cups of water. Stir thoroughly, from the bottom up. Add two (2) big handfuls of cleaned, chopped, fresh spinach.

Step 6:
Cook on medium-low heat until the fluid is reduced and the stuff starts to thicken. The desired consistency is a thick mush, like loose mashed potatoes. Optional, if you want to add a little creaminess to it, add a tablespoon of butter towards the end. Let it fully melt and stir in to incorporate before serving. Salt to taste.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, fresh crushed black pepper, lemon wedges, and if possible, papads or moong pulse (If papads or moong pulse are too "exotic" for ya, garnish with potato stix or crushed up potato chips--it's all about the contrast of the mush and crunch).

Vegetarian; Low glycemic.

I haven't tried substituting different greens for the spinach, but if you're into mustard greens or collards, I'm sure it would work. I'm wondering about Swiss Chard or Kohl Rabe.

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