Nutritious Vegetable dal for rice eaters

Rice might be your staple food. We all know that rice in limited quantities can be a good supplement for carbs. Most Asians have rice as their staple food and that is very true of Indians. Where I come from, rice is a main part of the daily food – lunch and dinner. There are so many varieties of cooking that revolve around rice. When rice is such a main part, there needs to be other items that provide additional nutrients – vegetables and grains. These two are vital to our cooking. In our family, we take pride in eating a lot of vegetables.

This particular – don’t know whether to called it gravy, but I will – gravy is easy to prepare. We call it Thov-ve in my mother tongue, Kannada. Best thing is you don’t need any special powder, like in preparing sambar or rasam. Here is how you do it.

– First, wash about a cup of Toor dal, fill the utensil with at least twice water and pressure cook.
– While it is being cooked, you can cut a vegetable. It can be either a ridge gourd (heerekayi) or cucumber or even squash. Wash these vegetables (always). For the ridge gourd, pell of the ridges. For the cucumber, cut of edges and using the cut-off edge, rub the flat edges until you see a cream like material forming. This just takes away the bitterness from the cucumber. Cut these into not very small pieces – they should be about an inch cube.
– Cut 4 green chillies into small pieces.
– Cut a piece of ginger (an inch cube) into very small pieces.
– Now transfer the cooked dal into a pan. Add another cup of water (depends how much vegetable is being used) and bring it to a boil.

– Add 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste).

– Heat smaller pan on the stove top. Add 4-5 teaspoons of ghee (cultured butter) and let it heat up. Add a small spoon of sesame seeds. Leave it on medium flame for a minute. You will hear the seeds just popping. At this time, add half a teaspoon of jeera, the cut chillies and ginger. Once the sesame seeds start to pop, turn off the flame.
– Add the vegetable to above and let it on the pan.
– Add a teaspoon of shredded, dried coconut (optional).
– Let it simmer for 5 or so minutes until you think the vegetable is cooked. If using a gourd, it should be well cooked; cucumber can be moderately cooked.- Now add the prepared seasoning to the dal being cooked; mix. Turn off the stove.
– Squeeze 1/2 lemon.

You are done. Now you have an easy, nutritious side-dish to go along with rice.

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