A curry with groundnuts as the main ingredient was something totally new to me as a newly wedded girl in my husband's home.
Soon I realised that this side dish gained a unanimous support in the 10 member family! When the general lunch menu of the house called for dal, sambhar, rasam, poriyal and curd to finish off, this curry was a rescue for the lazy days. Kadalai Kathirikkai Koottu served as a sumptuous meal with hot steamed rice, rasam and curd!
This is a 'Koottu' ( lentil based curry) I make at least once a month for years since then.
Get ready with:
Pacha Kadalai / de-shelled peanuts or groundnuts - 1 cup
Kathirikkai / brinjal - diced 1 cup
Moong dal, lightly roasted - 1/2 cup
Finely minced shallots - a tbsp
Jeera powder-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- a fat pinch
Sambhar powder - 1/2 tsp
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tsps
Oil- a tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Urad dal- 1/4 tsp
Finely minced shallots - a tsp (optional.. I don't add this.. but it enhances the flavour of the curry)
Red chillies- 1 or 2, broken to three pcs each
Curry leaves- a sprig
Soak groundnuts overnight. Rinse and pressure cook ( I use a 3 ltr pressure cooker body) till soft with enough water and salt. Remove to another vessel along with the cooked water.
Give a quick rinse to the roasted moong dal. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce and while it simmers, stir in shallots and the powders (jeera, turmeric and sambhar). Add salt. Stir along the brinjal pieces and coconut gratings lastly. Pressure cook for 1-2 whistles (not more than that).
Open the lid after the steam vents off and season the curry. You know how to do it, right?
Heat the oil in a separate kadai, crackle the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal, followed by the minced shallots. Caramelize them, throw in the red chilly bits and the curry leaves. Pour this over the curry and you are done.
Check the final consistency of the curry. It shouldn't be too thick nor watery. It does thicken while cooling down.
The softly cooked groundnuts combine well with the brinjal chunks soaked in the moong dal base, seasoned to perfection! The 'Koottu' is healthy, mild and flavourful. Goes well with steamed rice, rotis and phulkas.