Thiruvadirai or Arudra Darisanam , a very important festival for devout Tamil Shavites falls during the Tamil Marghazhii month usually Pournami day and it is the birthday , star of Lord Shiva.
A delicious dish called Kali is offered to the Lord as Prasad or neivediyam and usually devotees who fast on the day consume only Kali and Kootu a rich medley of winter vegetables usually tubers and some vegetables like Pumpkin, yam, brinjal, field beans, double beans, flat beans , plantain, ash gourds.
It is a tradition to follow ones family recipe and it varies usually from different districts of Tamil Nadu For instance Thalagam is a delicious blend of spices, coconut and lots of vegetables with dal and slightly sweet and spicy. Tirunelveli people follow such recipes, whereas the Tanjore belt has somewhat similar recipe for gravy but with variations.
Usually 7 vegetables are selected for preparations of such kootu/ gravy.
The recipe which I also follow is from my mothers side of the family who are steeped in the cultures of Palakkad tradition and I find the recipe delectable and utterly lip smacking, simple to prepare and yet blends amazingly with the Kali which is a sweet jaggery rice and lentil preparation.
Called Poduthuval which is normally prepared with Kaavathu ( Asiatic yam, also called as Perumvalli or Vetrilai Kizhangu a large tuber which is mainly carbohydrates and usually consumed by Keralites.
While it is normal to prepare this Poduthuval with Kavathu and avaraekai ( beans ), it is also prepared with other vegetables like the ones mentioned above.
If you are unable to get Kaavathu/ Greater yam , you can use the regular yam and other vegetables usually available in winter months.
2 cups of mixed vegetables like( pumpkins, ash gourds, Kaavathu ( Greater Yam ), raw plantain, field beans, double beans, Colocassia )
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
some curry leaves.
1 cup of fresh grated coconut scrapings
5-6 green chillies.
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp Split udad dal
2 red chillies.
Wash the vegetables and peel the skin and cube them to slightly big chunks.or cubes.
In a pressure cooker, add the vegetables which are chopped with the turmeric powder and little salt, and very little water and cook upto 1 or 2 whistle only. You can also cook them in a broad pan . the vege tables must not become mushy when cooked.
While the cooker is getting ready, grind to a little coarse paste without adding water , the coconut scrappings with the green chillies and keep aside.
When the cooker has cooled down open the lid, remove the vegetables and keep aside.
In a broad pan, add the coconut oil, when it becomes hot, splutter the mustard seeds, add the red chiillies, throw in some curry leaves, udad dal and when the dal turns golden , add the cooked vegetables gently.
Add the ground coconut and green chilly paste and mix gently, adjust salt, and let it cook for couple of minutes.
Take care not to smash the vegetables while mixing the coconut green chilly paste.
Add a tsp of coconut oil if you wish.Garnish with curry leaves and remove.
This is such a delicious blend of vegetables and simple spices , it goes well with rotis and rice and can be prepared on other days too as a side dish.