Thursday, January 27, 2011

South Indian-Style Moong Dal and Vegetable Poriyal

If I had to choose....and really, when would I ever have to....I would have to say I prefer South Indian food to North Indian. I don't mean to offend; that's just my opinion. I love them both, obviously! It does seem to me that North Indian cuisine is more popular here in the states, at least judging from the menus at most Indian restaurants I've been to. But as for me, I'm in love with the powerful mango pickle, mustard seeds, curry leaves, spicy chiles, hearty lentils, tangy tamarind and sweet coconut that shine in South Indian cooking. And that's just a short list...did I mention dosa??? Anyway, here is my white girl attempt at capturing those wonderful flavors and techniques, while also using just what I had in my kitchen. I think I could make this every day. It's been three days in a row already! I served mine with homemade roti (whole wheat flatbread) and a yellow tomato and apple chutney I canned in the early fall. Try serving it with your favorite sides and condiments! South Indian-Style Moong Dal and Vegetable Poriyal (serves 4-6)
1 cup moong dal, rinsed
8 cups vegetable broth or water
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs black mustard seeds
1/2 Tbs cumin seeds
2 tsp moong dal
12 curry leaves, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 green Thai chiles
2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
12 curry leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup green peas, frozen or fresh

Bring moong dal and broth to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and let cook for 30 minutes, until the dal are tender but not mushy. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the curry.
Combine the onions, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, chiles, coconut, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, and curry leaves in a large bowl. Stir to combine well and set aside.
In a large wok or deep pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let cook about 1 minute, until they start to sizzle. Add the cumin seeds and 2 tsp moong dal and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the curry leaves and cook 2 more minutes. Add the vegetable and spice mixture. Saute for 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables have begun to soften and the mixture has cooked down slightly. Add the cooked moong dal, with about 1 cup of its cooking liquid to the pan. Stir well and reduce to a simmer; cover and let cook for 10 more minutes. Fold in the peas, salt and pepper to taste and let cook 2 more minutes to warm the peas. Serve hot with roti or other flatbread, chutneys and pickles.


Michelle said...

sounds yummy!!

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

Looks and sounds delicious!

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

I'd have to agree with you about the South Indian preference. I like it hot, coconutty, and full of them lentils!