Keerai Mulakootal (Spinach & Lentils, Palak Dal)

Mulakootal is an iconic Palakkad (district of Kerala, India) dish. I know of no Palakkadian who does not relish a mulakootal. There are several types of mulakootals. The one presented here is made with spinach. But you can use any greens. This is a bland dish that pairs excellently with steamed rice or Indian breads. As it is bland, I normally accompany it with a spicy potato or colocasia (arbi, chembu) roast. Or a spicy chutney (thogayal), a tamarind based chutney (inji puli, pulikachal) or another tamarind based main dish (pumpkin or okra cooked in a tamarind base). Several combinations possible. But my personal favourite is a mulakootal with a tender mango pickle (vadu mangai). Yum!

100 gms pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam)
1 tsp red chilli powder (mirchi powder, milagai podi)
3 cups spinach (washed and chopped)
1/4 coconut, grated
2 dried red chillies, roasted
1 tbsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
For The Seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 tsp split black gram
Wash and cook the pigeon peas in a pressure cooker (perhaps about 5 whistles)
Open lid after steam releases naturally
Set aside
Add the spinach, salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder to a deep vessel
Cook well (add very little water, only if necessary)
Grind the coconut, cumin seeds, roasted red chillies and roasted split black gram into a paste (no water necessary)
Add the cooked pigeon peas to the spinach
Add the ground paste
Add sufficient water and cook to 10 minutes till all ingredients are mixed well
Remove from flame and set aside
Heat a small wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the split black gram
Roast till the black gram begins to change colour
Pour over the mulakootal
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice or Indian breads

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Shubha says:

    Mulagoottal is a fabulous dish! Thanks for posting! (In my family we use moong dal also for this).


    1. Thank you. Yes, one can also use moong dal.

      On Fri, 27 Apr 2018 at 13:13, wholefoodplantbased wrote:



  2. mistimaan says:

    Nice recipe


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