ELAVAN MOLAGOOTAL (ASH GOURD STEW)
Molagootal is a healthy, wholesome and honest dish that is made up of vegetables, lentils and coconut. It’s typically made using spinach, cabbage, gourds along with mixed vegetables such as potatoes, drumsticks carrots, beans and peas.
In today’s version, the star vegetable is White pumpkin/Ash gourd/Elavan. Elavan along with potatoes, carrots, peas and drumsticks is cooked in a little water along with salt and turmeric, toor dal/pigeon peas is cooked and added to the boiled vegetable medley, the mixture’s brought together by ground coconut, green chilies and jeera(cumin seeds) and finally finished off with a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
In my household, Mondays are for Molagootal. After a weekend of debauchery, I find this to be the best dish to revitalize and rejuvenate my system. It’s a highly forgiving dish and no matter how you make it, you’ll only end up with a palatable and nourishing meal.
Given that the dish is a mild one and in order to balance the flavors, a platter with Molagootal would typically include items that are sour and spicy, such as rasam or any kind of pulikachal (tamarind based condiment) or sometimes a spicy and tangy kothamalli thogayal (Corriander Chutney) or a yennai katrikkai (Roasted brinjals) or any such roasted vegetable would be a good match with Molagootal.
Check out recipe for KEERAI MOLAGOOTAL
THIS RECIPE SERVES 6
- Elavan/Ashgourd – 400 gms diced to yield 2 cups
- Potato – 1 small diced to yield 1/2 cup
- Carrot – 1 small diced to yield 1/2 cup
- Peas – 1/2 cup
- Drumstick – 1 small chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
- Toor Dal – 3/4 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Salt – 2 tsps
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Coconut oil – 2 tsps
- Mustard seeds – 1.5 tsps
- Urad dal – 1.5 tsps
- Curry leaves – a few
- Dry Red Chilli – 1
- Coconut – 1 cup
- Green Chilli – 1
- Cumin Seeds – 1.2 tsps
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Wash and soak the toor dal for 15 mins. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or until well-cooked. Mash and keep aside.
- Dice the vegetables into 1 cm pieces. Toss the veggies into a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1/2 cup water, salt and turmeric. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium-low until the veggies are almost done. About 10 mins. Alternatively, you could pressure cook the veggies for 1 whistle
- Grind the coconut, green chilli and cumin seeds into a fine puree with 1/2 cup water. Add more water if needed.
- Add the cooked toor dal and the ground coconut mixture to the veggies and mix well. If it’s too lumpy and thick, add a little water to lighten it. Bring to a boil.
- Heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and let splutter. Add the urad dal and when it starts browning, throw in the red chilli and curry leaves and as soon as the urad dal turns a couple of shades darker, pour the seasoning over the molagootal. Mix well.
- Serve hot with rice
- The drumstick is optional and is mostly there for flavor only. There are no hard and fast rules for the number of vegetables to be used. This is what I’ve used, but you could use more of some veggie and less of another or omit something altogether. You could also throw in some green beans into the mix.
- It’s not mandatory to soak the toor dal. I find that the dal cooks better when soaked for a little while.
- You could use red chillies in place of green chillies.
- I’ve used just one green chilli here because I like this dish served mild. But you could add another one if you’d like to pack a punch!