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Monday, December 24, 2012

Opo Sqash and Green Beans Warm Salad

bottle gourd opo squash

Poduthuval, Poriyal, Thoran, Koottu are the generic names of some of the vegetable sides that typically accompany a  simple south Indian meal of rice and sambar or rasam. If the sambar or vetha kozhambu is spicy, then the vegetable side will be mild and complementary.

This combination of opo squash and green beans (plus carrots usually) is a favorite of mine, next only to the Chaenai Elavan Koottu. These days, as I don't serve a typical south Indian meal, the vegetable sides become either a warm salad or side for a weeknight meal. Opo Sqaush Carrot Mor-Kozhambu is more like a rich soup nowadays, served without the typical rice and spicy side.

I use frozen green beans and par cook it in the microwave to cut the cooking time. Then throw it in with the opo squash so they finish cooking together. Opo squash cooks up fast and is mostly water.

Tempering is quite an integral part of many south Indian dishes - either as a garnish or incorporated with the dish at the start. Heat oil in a pan, when shimmering add some split urad dal, when it turns golden brown add some mustard seeds and when they pop add the curry leaves. At this point, if using this as garnish, turn off heat and pour over the finished dish like sambar or rasam or vegetable salad like the recipe here, and stir well before serving.

Cooked Kadalai paruppu aka Chana dal is a favorite additive to vegetable sides to add some protein. Simply  cook it in the microwave or stovetop till soft but not mushy.

½ cup cooked chana dal
½ Opo Squash, peeled and diced
2 cups of par-cooked cut green beans or Italian green beans
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
salt to taste

curry leaves and cilantro for garnish

Tempering: 1 Tbsp oil, ½ tsp urad dal, ½ tsp mustard seeds, 4 curry leaves, 1 long dry red chili broken into pieces

Start the tempering, when mustard seeds pop add the vegetables, cooked chana dal, and salt cover and cook till veggies are done. Stir in coconut flakes if using, garnish and serve warm or at room temperature.

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