It’s that time of the year again when I handle too many things at one time. It gets me excited, happy and tired, but happiness reigns supreme. It is festival time! Navratri brings in nine days of fasting for some and feasting for many of us, with the common goal of celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Celebration of the female deities is a symbolic gesture of celebrating the women in our lives, and remembering their contribution to our lives – a necessity even in today’s India!
Navratri is special because this is an annual ‘remembering-my-girlfriends’ ritual for me. We gather together for long chats, healthy meals, delicious snacks and catch up on the year’s gossip. Just the joy of being around them, is enough inspiration to cook up the best meals, and the thought, washes away tiredness that creeps otherwise. I made sevai this time, and kaju barfis, that has become my signature sweet, for one round of gathering that happened on a late afternoon on Friday.
The next one happening on Thursday is more of a family gathering. I intend to make a complete three course menu – Italian round of soup with thin slices of crusty bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a Palakkad main course of rice, keerai-molagootal, rasam, poduthuval and pachadi, and an all American dessert of brownies – the world on our table! The menu has been decided by the three boys and one girl who are very dear to me. Hence its a medley of their favourites from my kitchen.
However, the poduthuval is going to be different. Poduthuval is the Palakkad lingo for dry curries that are taken with gravy and steamed rice in the South. It is also known as poriyal in many parts of Tamilnadu and undergoes slight changes in the making as it travels from region to region. Recently I became friends with Chef Suvir Saran on facebook and found an interesting variation of classic beans poduthuval. I knew it had to be good and it was! This poriyal tastes great and pairs excellently with rasam. I ended up making some changes as I was cooking. I sauteed the coconut a little more in the beginning like we do for ‘teeyal’. I think the flavour lies in the roasted coconut (YUM!) and the addition of mum’s sambar powder! I used coconut oil instead of canola, and reduced the amount of ‘tadka’ or tempering, keeping them to the levels I use normally.
Dish: Beans poriyal ~ Stir fried green beans with coconut, Tamilnadu style
Recipe source: Chef Suvir Saran
String beans, cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces – 1/2 kg.
Coconut, freshly grated/shredded – 1/2 cup
Sambar powder, rasam powder or bisibelebath powder – 1 tsp. (I used mum’s homemade sambar powder)
Salt to taste
Tadka or tempering:
Coconut oil – 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds / Rai – 1 tsp
Bengal gram / Chana dal – 1 tsp
Hulled black gram / Urad dal – 1 tsp
Dried, red chillies – 2 long ones, pinched into halves
Curry leaves / Kadi patta – 1 sprig, leaves, pinched to bring out the flavour
Asafoetida powder / Hing – 1/8 tsp
Turmeric, a pinch or two
1. Warm oil and when hot enough add mustard seeds along with bengal gram, and black gram.
2. When the seeds splutter, and dals turn light pink, add pinched red chillies, curry leaves, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Stir for a minute.
3. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut and cook, stirring till the gratings caramalize and turn light golden, about 2-3 minutes on medium fire.
4. Add the beans and the salt and cook, stirring, 5 minutes, on low heat.
5. Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut, the saambar powder (or the one you have in hand), and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Then uncover and cook, stirring often, until all of the water has evaporated, about 5 more minutes. Taste for salt and serve hot with steamed rice and rasam or any other gravy.
My daughter ate the left over poriyal as such. She loves poduthuvals/poriyals! If you want it healthier, do not roast the coconut as much as I did in the beginning. You can reduce that to just mixing with the spices instead of roasting.
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