Poriyal is a stir fry of finely chopped vegetables tempered with curry leaves, some mustard, red chilly and lentils etc.. topped with a generous amount of freshly grated coconut. The vegetables used for poriyal may vary from cabbage to beans to beets, carrots, okra or even some squashes like Chayote squash or Zucchini. The vegetables are cooked lightly for poriyal, keeping the textures alive but he flavours from the tempering are rich and Earthy and that makes a poriyal the perfect warm salad for me.
Poriyal is a dry stir fry of Tamil origin but it is cooked in Karnataka as well, known as Palya in that part of the country. I used to know this stir fry as Foogath or Foogad as my mom had learnt it from one of her friends and this name had stuck with us. The name could be a matter of origin of the stir fry, may be with a few changes in the tempering or the final taste but the stir fry remained a favourite with me owing to it's simplicity and quick recipe. The vegetables need to be finely and uniformly chopped for poriyals but I love my knife and the chopping board and often chop my vegetables again even after my maid had kept them cleaned and chopped her way. Like I put my cleaver to good use and chopped the cabbage fine after my maid had kept it diced and ziplocked for the day.
I like the poriyals served as salads more than a side dish as a subzi. I often make poriyal into a fancy appetiser serving like these tart shells filled with a broccoli poriyal. Adding mung sprouts to my poriyal is another change that I love doing. Those who swear by authenticity may squirm at this, but I don't shy away from experimenting and trust my own taste buds rather than an authentic recipe.
Recipe of cabbage d mung sprouts poriyal...
finely chopped cabbage 1.5 cup
mung sprouts 1 cup
grated fresh coconut 1/4 cup (loosely packed)
lime juice 2 tsp
salt to taste
pepper powder to taste
sesame oil (or any oil you wish) 2 tsp
hing (asafotida) 1 pinch
curry leaves 10 springs
mustard seeds 1 tsp
urad daal (split) 1 tsp
chopped chillies 1 tsp
minced ginger 2 tsp
Heat oil and tip in hing and mustard seeds first and then the other ingredients together. Let them all sizzle for a few seconds and then add the chopped cabbage. Toss and stir fry for about 2 minutes, add salt and pepper. Mix well and add the coconut, sprouts and mix again to coat everything together.
Take off the stove, add lime juice and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Another most frequently made poriyal in my kitchen is this green beans and carrot poriyal with mung sprouts. I sometimes get lazy and use dehydrated coconut shreds rather than grating it fresh. The trick is to re hydrate the shredded coconut in hot water before using and add it a minute before you take the poriyal off the stove. Making poriyal with more than one vegetable can be a bit tricky if both vegetables have different cooking time. I microwave the beans for a couple of minutes before adding it to the tempering. That saves time and keeps the texture and colour of the beans nice and fresh.
Note that tempering for the different poriyal variations will be the same. Just the way the vegetables are cooked, the way they are added one after the other would change.
Recipe of beans-carrot-mung sprouts poriyal..
finely chopped beans 1 cup
finely chopped carrots 1/2 cup
mung sprouts 3/4 cup
shredded fresh coconut 1/4 cup
salt and pepper to taste
lime juice to taste
Tempering ingredients will be similar to cabbage poriyal.
Steam the green beans till half done. I prefer microwaving it in a covered bowl for 2 minutes.
Prepare the tempering while the beans are steaming. Add the carrots as soon as the tempering sizzles and stir fry for a minute. Add the hot steamed beans and cook for another minute of two, tossing it all the while.
Add the coconut and sprouts, mix well and take off the heat. Mix lime juice and serve as desired.
How do you like these poriyal salads? Try making them with gourds and you would see how tasty the gourds become. Okra tastes great with such a tempering but needs a bit more cooking time. I sometimes add a bit of rasam powder to my poriyal salads to make them more zingy.
Make changes as per your taste but use fresh seasonal vegetables for poriyal salads. These will be full meals when you want a light yet satisfying meal for yourself. Ar just add a couple of table spoons of cooked plain rice or couscous to poriyal salads and see how it turns into an absolutely hearty meal.