Mullangi And Carrot Mulakootal (Radish And Carrot Dal)

Mulakootal is a traditional ‘dal’ native to Palakkad. The dal is in quotes since South Indians do not have a concept of dal – it is normally a kootan, a wet dish to be mixed with rice. Mulakootal is a bland kootan. It normally is made with vegetables such as ash gourd, spinach, Chinese potato (koorka), chayote squash (chow chow), elephant yam, peas, potatoes,,,, (or combinations thereof).
This combination of radish and carrot was taught to me by my mum. I am not sure if this combination is traditional. I suspect it is not since traditional Kerala cuisine does not use carrots. So, it must be something she experimented with. Whatever the case may be, it is delicious indeed!

1 medium sized white radish, cubed into small pieces
1 medium sized carrot, cubed into small pieces
100 gms pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/4 coconut, grated
Salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
For The Seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Wash and cook the pigeon peas in a pressure cooker, adding sufficient water, for about 6 whistles (the number of whistles may vary depending upon your pressure cooker)
The pigeon peas must be well done and mushy
Set aside
Cook the vegetables well, adding salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder
Set aside
Grind the coconut and cumin seeds into a coarse paste (sprinkle a little water, if necessary)
Mix the cooked pigeon peas, vegetables and coconut paste, adding sufficient water
The amount of water depends upon the desired consistency of the final dish
Boil for 10 minutes till all ingredients are well mixed
Add curry leaves and remove from flame
Set aside
Heat a small wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the split black lentils
Roast till the lentils turn golden brown
Switch off flame and add this seasoning to the cooked ‘dal’
Serve hot with steamed brown/red rice or Indian breads

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