Beans Carrot Tamarind Stew / Beans Carrot Puli Kootu

Kootu is a type of dish made in South India which traditionally uses ground coconut paste. This differentiates it from Sambhar or Rasam. Puli Kootu is a variation of this preparation where tamarind is used as the stock base and it gives the dish a tangy flavour. I decided not to use coconut and try this as a veggie-filled side dish. Later I realized that this stew pairs well with rice too! The secret to nailing this dish would be in the ground spices which impart the salty-spicy balance to the dish. Try making it as it has minimal oil usage and has the wholesome nutrition of lentils that you will love!

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for cooking:

  • 1 1/2 cup beans, cut into medium length sticks
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into medium length sticks
  • 1/2 cup toor dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 small ball size of tamarind
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for grinding:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Some coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ghee (optional)

Beans and carrot tamarind stew

Beans and carrot tamarind stew


Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in a small bowl of warm water for 10 mins. Then extract the juice and keep it aside and discard the seeds.
  • Take toor dal in a vessel and rinse it 2-3 times. Then add 1 cup of water to it along with salt and turmeric and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Mash this dal and set it aside.
  • Now take a pan, add in the chopped beans and carrots along with a bit of salt and water and cook it with a lid on low flame. This will take around 10 mins.
  • While the veggies are getting cooked, heat a small pan for frying the grinding ingredients. Add ghee/oil and add peppercorns to it. Once the peppercorns sputter, take them out into the mixer jar. Now in the same pan, add all the other grinding ingredients and roast them till the dals turn golden brown and then switch off the flame. Transfer these ingredients into the mixer jar and wait for these ingredients to cool down a bit.
  • Add cumin seeds into the mixer jar and grind all the ingredients together. The paste should be nice and smooth.
  • After the veggies have semi-cooked, add the tamarind juice to it so that the veggies absorb the flavour of tamarind.
  • Next, add the ground spice mixture to the stew and mix well.
  • After the veggies are fully cooked, add the mashed toor dal into the mixture along with a cup of water and let it cook in medium flame. Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame.
  • In a small pan, take mustard seeds and peanuts and roast them together as this will act as seasoning.
  • Add the seasoning into the boiling stew and mix it well. Finally garnish with coriander. The kootu/stew is ready to serve with rice or rotis.

Tips:

  • If you don’t like large pieces of peanut, toast them separately and then break them up in a mortar and pestle / grinder.
  • Don’t overcook the vegetables. Cut them into the same size so that they cook evenly
  • The lentils and the tamarind should balance each other. If you like a more tangy dish, feel free to add a little more tamarind.

French beans and red capsicum masala rice / French beans and red bell pepper masala rice

While learning and experimenting in my cooking, I’ve realized that food is firstly a visual medium. By that I mean, depending on my mood, the colours and I vibrancy that I like to see and present change. This recipe turned out to be an outcome of one such cooking process. I wanted to make something quick, toss in some vegetables and rice and call it done. I like to use rice as it generally acts as the perfect base for one pot meals. I had some nice French beans lying around and wanted to use them. To make their green colour look more vibrant, I wanted something in red and decided to go with red bell peppers as the second vegetable. The masala rice turned out to be delicious and crunchy due to the veggies and this has become one of my favourite dishes to repeat when I need to cook fast. I have tried making this recipe with basmati rice and brown rice and I preferred the brown rice version.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 cup French beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut in cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Beans and red bell pepper rice

French beans and red bell pepper rice


Method:

  • Cook the Basmati rice and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan on a low flame. Add the bay leaves, clove and cinnamon and let them fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onions with a little bit of salt and sweat them till they are translucent.
  • Now add the chopped French beans with garam masala, pepper powder, cumin seed powder and some salt into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and let the beans cook for around 5 minutes.
  • Toss in the chopped red bell peppers and cook them just for around 2 minutes without the lid. They need to be a bit crunchy.
  • Finally add the cooked rice to the vegetables and toss the rice around gently in the pan with a ladle. The rice should get perfectly mixed with the spices and vegetables.
  • Serve hot with chips or papads.

Tips :

  • Sprinkle some water while cooking the beans. Do not cover the pan with a lid for long as the beans might burn.
  • Do not overpower the veggies in the dish by adding more of cloves or cinnamon.