Friday, December 03, 2010

Cabbage Kootu

Oh, the things you wish you'd known earlier! Do NOT rent the apartment on the topmost floor of a building when you're in a city like Madras. The view may be nice but it is always H-O-T! Even when the temperature outside is pleasant. Not looking forward to our electricity bill!

It has been 6 weeks since we moved here. Except for the weather (which has not been too bad lately) and light bulb moments like above, it has been quite nice. Contrary to the general opinion that the city is not so cosmopolitan and only Tamil works in Madras, I've found that English works quite alright too. Even Hindi, to a certain extent. A few shops here and there that did not have English speaking/understanding folks but I could still manage with my toota-phoota Tamil or with help from other patrons. The only trouble I have is with the maid, who understands no word of English - even basic stuff like "go" or "come". She likes to talk, that Chinnamma. The fact that I don't get 95% of what she says does not deter her at all from going on and on in eloquent Tamil! We still manage to communicate with each other though - me in sign, Kannada, English, Tamil, all mixed in and she, after much training from me, in shortened Tamil with words that she now knows I get! :)

The traditional kootu does not have garlic, lemon juice nor sugar. I tend to add garlic in most dishes these days. The lemon juice and sugar came about in an effort to offset an accidental overdose of salt in this dish. And it worked well too. Goes to show why you never say "never" when it comes to cooking. You don't know which no-no thing you did that brought about your next signature dish! Right? So, here's my recipe for cabbage kootu.

Cabbage Kootu


2 cups cabbage
1/4 cup tuar dal
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
salt to taste

For grinding (with a little water):
1 tbsp coconut gratings
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
5-6 peppercorns

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed and finely chopped garlic (optional)


Cook dal and cabbage in a pressure cooker, with a bit of turmeric.
In a pan, do the tadka and add the cooked dal and cabbage.
Mix in the ground masala.
Add salt, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.
Serve hot with chappatis or rice.


Sharmilee! :) said...

My fav looks super yum with rice

Kurinji said...

looks yummy n try to learn few tamil words, otherwise can't manage.

Prathibha said...

Looks perfect and gr8 combination wid rice...:)

LG said...

Looks yummy!

AshKuku said...

Hey that looks yum & tempting with rice ganji.... wow!!!! SWARGA!!!!!


Priya said...

Love cabbage kootu anytime, my fav..

Pari said...

Dear Vani, I can relate to u so much as even I lived on the topmost floor in Chennai and I had to learn the basic words in Tamil to explain it to my maid. I remember she telling me "akka nalla irakka" everytime I added the malai to her tea.
The kootu looks good for a quick meal.

lata raja said...

Top floor?? beware when there is a water problem dear girl!I learnt practical lessons on basics of water and pressure! Otherwise Chennai is my favourite city too. Chennai-ites are not conversant in hindi, Thanglish will help...and I think your maid will keep you educated enough with her constant Tamil.
Kootu with a bit of tang from the lemon is something I should try.

indosungod said...

The top floor has benefits too doesn't? less noise, less pollution and far from the madding crowd.

this kootu looks tasty. I made one yesterday but a bit different.
Good Luck with learning Tamil.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Kootu looks yum...Never tried it with cabbage before.. got to do it..Tamil is a rather difficult language.. I never managed it though my Mother mastered the script but not the language LOL!! Good luck with Tamil and life in Madras :)

Kairali sisters said...

That looks yummy, Vani..I never tried to cook cabbage this way, shall try soon...

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

LOL @ your Chinnamma story :D Howz ur lil one liking Chennai? Kootu looks delicious!!

Bong Mom said...

That reminds me of the househelp in B'lore. All I got by with was "mari".

The cabbage reminds me of a dish you made while here with coleslaw

indianspicemagic said...

Yummy and delicious.Love the colour of the kootu.

Santosh Bangar said...

tempting kottu i like it bec my daughter makes it oftenly as her in-laws are tamalian
is time here very new recpes do visit my blog

Jayashree said...

Luckily, Chennai doesn't have water supply problems anymore....or that would have added to your top floor woes. On the bright side, you will have fewer mosquitoes making it all the way to the top floor :-)

Vani said...

Sharmilee - yeah, great with rice too :)

Kurinji - thanks. managing alright so far with my limited Tamil. but you're right - always good to know a bit of the local language.

Pratibha - yeah, love it with rice too, even though I had this with phulkas

LG - thanks :)

Ash - hmm. rice ganji. Never thought of that. Should be good. Swarga even :) Hope you're well. Not seen any posts in a long time.

Priya - I'll check your blog for your recipe. Would love to see your version

Pari - same situation as me. Yeah, the help will surely get us going faster with Tamil, na?

Latadi- yeah, heard some horror stories about the water situation here. We made sure the apartment had 24 hr water supply before we signed the lease. So far so good on that front :)

ISG - We lived on a higher floor in Bangalore too and loved it. yeah, lots of benefits for sure.

Smitha - I'd have thought the script would be more difficult. kudos to your mom! and thanks, girl. need god wishes our way :)

KS - thanks :)

Ramya - M is doing fine. Adjusted well to her new school and quite alright with the weather too. She misses her friends from Bangalore though. She's forgotten about most of her friends from NJ now though.

San - another friends mentioned the same one day. She just added "maadi" after English words and that worked just fine. It's not that easy here though.

ISM - welcome! and thanks :)

Santosh - welcome! looking forward to seeing your blog too :)

Jayashree - dunno about fewer mosquitos. There certainly seem to be a lot here and immune to most remedies too, those pesky things! and yeah, no water issues, thank God! :)

meeso said...

Yum, I love me some cabbage! :P