“Mummy, you like this very very much, don’t you?” The girl asked.
“Hmmm….,” I replied, still digging happily and a tad greedily into my bowl of sweet and mildly salty carrot stir-fry. I knew I would go for a second, more generous helping.
Simple carrot stir-fry
“Then, why is it not on your blog yet?” She queried.
“I thought you said you did not know to cook anything but potatoes when you started cooking!” She exclaimed, “So this cannot be that simple, right?”
I was caught. How do children manage to do that everytime?
You tell me! Is it too simple? Do you make this dish? And do you like it enough to try it? Or would you not try this because this is too simple?
Winter is the time for gorgeous, plump, red carrots and I do not miss the chance to celebrate its abundance. I make a few rounds of ‘gaajar halwa’ and this ‘poduthuval’. Poduthuval is the Palakkad lingo for dry vegetable sautes and stir-fries that may or may not contain a sprinkling of coconut. Mostly they do. Fresh coconut added towards the end not only adds natural, mild, sweetness to a savoury dish, thereby balancing the flavours but also serves an essential crunch or bite. I am a coconut person. I use large amounts of coconut and feel sorry that people have wrongly associated this tasty and healthy gift as a ‘cholesterol builder’ or ‘fat builder’. First off, plant products do not have cholesterol and second, coconuts have fatty acids that help your body. What you need to avoid is the oil, not the fresh coconut. If you really want to take care, simply do not add oil in this dish. I have it that way too and it tastes fresh and crunchy!
Thanks to the young lady, here’s a recipe I love, and I hope some of you haven’t had it before – that will make me feel justified in featuring it!
I have grated the carrots this time but I, sometimes also dice them into fine pieces. My son prefers them diced and the daughter likes them grated. There is always something to disagree about!
This is best made with juicy, red carrots! The colour is so beautiful and fully of energy, its hard to keep oneself away!
Recipe: Carrot poduthuval ~ Easy carrot stir-fry
Split, husked, mung beans (Mung dal) – 1/4 cup, soaked for at least an hour, and drained
Carrots (Gaajar), fresh, plump and juicy – 6 large ones, grated in medium sized grater
Green chillies, slit vertically – 2, or more, if you like some heat
Coconut, freshly grated – 1/4 cup
Lemon, ripe, medium sized – 1, juiced (About a tbsp.)
Salt to taste
Coconut oil – 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
Husked, black gram dal (urad dal) – 1 tsp.
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Sesame seeds, white – 1 tsp.
Scrub lightly, was and dry carrots. Do not peel. Maximum sweetness in carrots is right under the skin and when you peel you discard the best portion. Grate and set aside. Do not use fine grater or cheese grater. We need the bite so use a medium sized grater.
Heat oil. When hot enough, add mustard seeds and black gram dal. When the seeds splutter and dal turns pink add the curry leaves and slit green chillies.
As soon as the curry leaves crisp up, add the carrots. Stir fry to mix well. Cover and cook for a 4-8 minutes depending on how you like your carrots – very crunchy 4 mins). My mother would make this really soft. She cooks till the carrots lose their crunch, about 8-10 minutes. I prefer cooking for just 4 minutes to warm up the dish.
Add the mung beans, sprinkle sesame seeds, and coconut and stir fry on low heat till mixed well. Put off fire. Squeeze the lemon and stir to let the juice distribute.
Serve as a salad, or an accompaniment with rice and gravy (sambar, rasam or kadhi)
That’s all! In under 10-15 minutes you have a healthy and tasty dish ready. This is the kind of dinner I like to make on weeknights or even weekdays. I like my weekday cooking to be light and healthy. I sometimes avoid the carbs and just gorge on the carrot poduthuval for dinner.