Pitlai is a dish that has a consistency between sambhar and kootu. The ingredients match those of sambhar as well as kootu. Has more vegetable quantity than sambhar. Though I mix rice to it and have it like sambhar, ideally it is a very suitable side dish to go with moar kuzhambu.
Pitlai is mostly prepared with bitter gourd, and if prepared this way, you do not find them very bitter. However, you may use other vegetables like brinjals, chayote, broadbeans etc. You may combine vegetables and cooked legumes, or combine three or more vegetables. The preparation then will be named Sambangi pitlai ( I am not aware as to why the name has been derived thus)
Eggplants, I read, are very useful if you are on a weight loss diet. Low in carbohydrates and rich in fibre make them excellent for weight watchers. They are also rich source of host of other minerals.
1 cup cubed brinjals
1/4 cup cooked thuvar dhal
Pulp extracted from a marble size tamarind
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt as required
To be roasted and ground to a coarse paste:
1 table spoon coriander seeds
4 dry red chillis
1 teaspoon channa dhal
3/4 teaspoon urad dhal
2 teaspoons fresh grated coconut (you may add more coconut if desired)
few drops of oil for roasting (optional)
2 teaspoons gingley oil ( any cooking oil)
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dhal
2 dry red chillis
few fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Wash and pressure cook thuvar dhal until soft. It is not necessary to mash it.
Soak the tamarind and extract the pulp.
Cook the cubed brinjals until soft. ( I microwave them for 4 minutes on high)
Roast the ingredients for the masala. I dry roast them. Oil is only optional. Grind adding some water to a coarse paste.
In a pan bring the tamarind extract to a boil. Add salt and turmeric powder and simmer.
Put the cooked brinjals in and simmer for few minutes.
Add the cooked dhal and the ground paste. Allow to come to a boil and keep on heat for a few more minutes.
Remove from the stove.
Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the red chillis and urad dhal. Fry until the dhal is golden brown. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves to this tempering just before removing from the stove.
Temper this to the cooked pitlai.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Enjoy with steamed rice.