In a South Indian meal combo or Thali, a poriyal falls under the category of sides, but do not undermine the importance of this side. You see, Poriyal is like the thread that strings together the pearls of delectables in a South Indian meal. It’s like this running theme in a Sapaad. A meal without poriyal would totally jeopardize the balance of the thali in terms of flavor, nutrition and texture. The poriyal-kuzhambu combination is so thoughtfully put together, that one must always make a poriyal and make the right poriyal.
Poriyal or Poduthuval as we call it in my family is a dry side-dish made of vegetables. Oil is tempered with seasonings, then in go the chopped veggies that are covered and cooked and it’s finished off with a sprinkling of coconut-green chilies- Jeeragam (Cumin seeds) blend. This is the traditional way of making the dish. But my MIL adds a couple of pearl onions to the coconut blend and the addition gives the dish a nice edge.
Given below is the recipe for beans poriyal but you could use this concept to make a variety of poriyals. Just substitute beans with any other vegetables such as cabbage, beetroot, carrot, flat beans etc. You just need to be mindful of the fact that the cooking time may vary for different vegetables.
RECIPE FOR BEANS PORIYAL – SERVES 4
- French Beans – 1 lb / 450 gms/ 3 cups chopped
- Water – 1/4 cup
- Coconut Oil – 2 tsps
- Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
- Urad Dal – 1 tsp
- Hing – 1/8 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Grated Coconut – 1/3 cup
- G. Chilli – 1
- Jeera- 1/2 tsp
- Pearl onion – 2 nos (Optional)
- Wash the beans. Remove the strings. Finely chop them.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, Splutter the mustard seeds, Add the urad dal and hing. When it turns a couple of shades dark, add the chopped beans, salt, turmeric powder and water.
- Mix well. Cover and cook. Give it a stir from time to time.
- While the beans is cooking, make the coconut blend. Throw the coconut, green chilli, jeera and pearl onions ( if using) in to a blender. Pulse 2-3 times until you arrive at a coarse homogeneous mixture.
- Taste the beans after the water has evaporated. If you feel like, it’s too crunchy, add 1 tbsp of water at a time and cook to get it to level of softness that you prefer.
- Sprinkle the coconut blend. Mix well. Cook for another minute or so. Turn off the stove. Serve!