This is an extremely simple and delicious Kootu. There are many types of Kootu, made with different kinds of pulses and vegetables. For this Kootu I sometimes use Tuar Dal or Mung Dal, both are equally delicious. Either one tastes very good with Dosai or rice or roti. Today I have made it with Mung Dal. When you make it with Mung Dal the Kootu is a bit thicker compared to when you use Tuar Dal.
Mung Dal - 1/2 cup
Pooshinikkai/Kumbalanga/Ash Gourd - 3 cups of 1" cubes
Onion - 1 medium sized chopped
Tomato - 1 1/2 medium sized chopped
Green Chili - 2 sliced lengthwise
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
I have made the Kootu in a cooker so you might need to adjust the cooking time accordingly when using a pan for the Mung Dal or Tuar Dal to be cooked enough to mash.
In a cooker heat oil and then add the onions & green chili. Then add the tomatoes and Pooshinikkai cubes, followed by the Dal, turmeric powder and chili powder. Add 2 to 3 cups of water, just enough to cover all everything in the cooker, and salt to taste . This mix will become more watery as the Pooshinikkai will also release water as it cooks. cook for up to 3 whistles on low to medium heat. If using Tuar Dal cook for up to 4 whistles.
Remove from fire let it cool until all the steam is released.Move to serving dish. In a small saute pan heat oil and then splutter the mustard seeds, Urad Dal and curry leaves pour over the Kootu.
Ash Gourd is not only integral part of the Sadya, but is regularly used in homes to make down to earth kootan/ pachadi for lunch.
It is also used in some parts of the country to ward of evil !! You will see huge ash gourds tied up to new building /homes almost from the beginning of the construction.
Ash gourd is also know to have medicinal values.