The recipe I am sharing today came from a reader and now a friend, Champa. Champa has a talent for making beautiful cakes, but she doesn’t have the time to blog herself. She is always sharing great ideas and tips with me, though.
Last week I was telling her how my vegetable garden is producing beautifully sleek zucchinis with pristine snow-white flesh faster than I can cook them up. I have been trying to give away as many as I can to friends and neighbors, but there aren’t many takers since most people I know have vegetable gardens of their own and zucchini is perhaps the easiest vegetable to grow. I’ve even considered leaving the zucchini outside people’s doorsteps anonymously, after they had refused my offer
But Desi, who tends to be more sane than I am, won’t have any of that, so to avoid wasting the beautifully fresh zucchini I have been forced to come up with creative ways to incorporate this healthful veggie into our meals. Zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, zucchini cornbread, zucchini pancakes, zucchini subzi, zucchini in salads, zucchini pakoras…you name it and I’ve done it.
Anyway, Champa sent me some more ideas for zucchini, including this recipe for a traditional kootu from Karnatake. It sounded so good, I made it rightaway, and both Desi and I loved it. While I cook kootu in the traditional Tamil style quite often, this recipe was a little different and the zucchini was delicious in it.
So here’s the recipe. Thanks, Champa, for a keeper.
Boil together, preferably in a pressure cooker until tender:
1 large or 2 small zucchini, chopped in a 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup chana dal (bengal gram dal)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
In a small skillet, heat 1/2 tsp canola or other vegetable oil
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal (black gram dal)
2-3 red chillies, broken into pieces
2 tsp black peppercorns
Roast until lightly golden-brown and fragrant. Put in a blender along with:
1/3 cup thick coconut milk
A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
Blend until smooth, then add to the dal-zucchini mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.
Simmer together for about 10 minutes.
Heat in a small skillet 1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil.
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of asafetida (hing)
When the mustard sputters, add it to the dal.
Turn off heat and serve hot with boiled rice or rotis.
I recently wrote about Sharan, a wonderful group based in India that supports a healthy vegan lifestyle and opposes animal cruelty, especially in the animal food industry. Sharan’s founder, Dr. Nandita Shah, recently told me of this great opportunity for a vegan/aspiring vegan who might be looking to spend some time in India. If I had a year to myself and if I were about a decade younger, I’d have jumped at this opportunity myself, especially since it involves not only my favorite work, animal rights and veganism, but also because the position is based in Auroville, an international community in Pondicherry near the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which calls itself a city “dedicated to unity.” Trust me, this is one of the most unique and beautiful places anywhere on Earth. Read more about Auroville here.
If you’re interested, email Nandita at email@example.com.
Finally, I am running late with announcing this month’s cuisine for It’s A Vegan World because, as you might have guessed from my breathless post, I have been rushed off my feet. But I will have the announcement up in a day or two, and hope everyone will participate. I will also post the roundup of IAVW: British very soon. Do hold your breaths, all, because we have some delicious recipes for you that would be fit to serve to the Queen herself!