We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.
This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.
Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes. You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai. (Some of these dishes will be published later. Pop back and check if the link is not returning what you might expect.)
Drumsticks with other vegetables such as potatoes, eggplants, chow chow, sabre beans, amaranth stem, snake gourd etc. (Use 4 – 5 vegetables for this dish – drumsticks are important)
0.5 cup toor dal
marble sized piece of Tamarind – new if you can get it
1 tspn salt
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn rice flour
4 Indian dried red chillies
1 tspn black gram dal (urad dal)
5 or 6 pepper corns
0.5 Tblspn grated coconut
1 tspn ghee
1 tspn ghee
0.5 tpsn brown mustard seeds
0.5 tspn black gram dal (urad dal)
few curry leaves
Cook the dal until quite mushy/pastey. This will take around 30 mins unless the dal is old and drier – then it will take longer.
Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water. When very soft, strain, pushing the pulp through the sieve but leaving the fibre and seeds.
Wash the vegetables and cut into suitable sized pieces. Cook in 0.5 cup or so of water, adding more if necessary, with the salt and turmeric powder. Cook the vegetables well.
Sauté the red chillies, blackgram dal and peppercorns to a golden brown in a little ghee, then fry the coconut for a few seconds, and grind all into a paste. You can add a little water to make a paste if desired.
When the vegetables are cooked, add the tamarind and bring back to the boil, simmering until the raw tamarind scent is removed.
Next add the cooked dal, then add the spice paste. Stir well.
If desired, thicken with rice flour mixed well with a little water. Pour this slowly into the pitlai, stirring all the time. Continue to stir for a minute or so until the rice flour is cooked out.
Mix the asafoetida with water and add to the dish, stir, and remove from the heat.
Add some curry leaves to the dish and make the tadka by heating the ghee in a small pan, adding the mustard seeds and allowing them to pop. Then add the urad dal and when it turns golden, pour the ghee and spices over the curry leaves.