Back when I was engaged and had those rare weekends at home, my mom would go on and on about how I never seemed to help her with any household work. She would wonder how I would be able to manage running a house all alone once I was married! I have no idea how I do it now. But it was true. I was so lazy back then and the only help I would offer, was cooking in the kitchen! 🙂 I would ask her for recipes, or look at her collection of Tarla Dalal books and me and mom would decide on a menu. She would show me where all the ingredients were kept and leave me to do the cooking.
That’s what I would expect her to do.. “leave to me to do the cooking!” But that never happened. She would drop in every 2-3 minutes and monitor. Even if I was handling the situation perfectly, she had her comments on how I should keep the flame on medium, how I should clean the counter as and when I spilled some water, or how I had to keep the spice boxes where it belonged once I was done using them! I used to get irritated, frustrated and angry! I never understood why that was until now!! Until I got my own kitchen..I take after my mom!
I knew RB could cook before we got married. Being the health conscious guy he is, no wonder he had to learn his skills around the kitchen. After talking to his mom and his friends here in the US, one thing I learned about his cooking was that he could make “kootu” very well. Even when his roommate “Doops”, who is a very good cook himself said his kootu was good, I was under the impression that he was trying to be nice 🙂 I asked RB for his recipe. When he told me how he makes it, something would make me want to do it myself, my way ! I never used to let him in the kitchen first few months post wedding, unless it was for chopping vegetables, making chapati dough or following tried and tested recipes which has precise measurements in it. Even now he doesn’t cook all that often. And in those rare days, I ask him to cook something, he would confirm with me if he was using the right dal or where I kept my ingredients. That would send me into panic mode and I would rush in to see if everything was ok 🙂 He is a pretty decent cook actually! But I have never been able to give in the reins fully! Now I understand what went on in my mother’s mind back then.
So few days back, I was totally tired after my workout and asked RB to make his “kootu”. I made a resolution not to step inside the kitchen until he was fully done. Somehow I managed to do it. Not once did I go to the kitchen to check on what he was doing. His kootu was actually delicious and surprisingly simple. I have decided to let him cook more often from now 🙂
Here’s his recipe. I usually make it differently with ground coconut paste. His version is more of a dal than a kootu. Delicious nonetheless!
- 1 big chayote / chow chow chopped into cubes
- 1/4 cup moong dal
- 1/2 onion chopped finely
- 1 tomato chopped
- 1/2 tsp sambar powder (substitute – garam masala)
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 green chillies slit
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-6 black pepper corns
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- a big pinch of asafoetida
- 1/2 tbsp oil/ghee
- salt as needed
In a pressure cooker, add oil. When hot, add mustard seeds, green chilly, turmeric and let the mustard crackle. Add the onions and saute until it becomes soft. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute for couple of minutes.
Add the chopped chayote, washed moong dal, sambar powder, coriander powder, salt and saute for a minute.
Add water to it making sure the dal and chayote are immersed in water. Cook the dal and vegetables for 2 whistles.
Coarsely crush the cumin and black pepper in a mortar and pestle.
Take a small pan/tadka pan and add oil/ghee. When it becomes hot, add the crushed cumin and black pepper, curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add it to the cooked dal and chayote. Mix well and serve hot with rice or chapatis.