In November I posted a recipe for beetroot poriyal. Poriyals, as I said in that post, are more a genre than a specific dish: a stir-fry of vegetables along with some tempered spices and lentils. As with a number of dishes from all over India, this kind of tempering happens at the very beginning, infusing the fat in which the vegetable will cook—unlike tadka which is deployed at the end to set the flavours of the main ingredients off. I also noted in the beetroot recipe that my standard poriyal prep used to be with cabbage but these days is more likely to be with Brussels sprouts. Sprouts are more fiddly to prep—even if you’re using a food processor to shred them—but they give off less water than cabbage and I quite enjoy their more savoury flavour in this kind of a dish. And past the time/hassle it takes to prep the sprouts, this is a very easy dish to make.
- Brussels sprouts, 1 lb, trimmed and shredded
- 1 tspn black mustard seeds
- 3-5 dried red chillies
- 1 tspn urad or channa dal or a mix of both
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1 tspn freshly grated ginger
- 1 tspn coarsely ground coriander seed
- 1/2 tspn haldi
- 1 pinch jaggery or brown sugar
- 2 tblspns shredded, dessicated coconut
- Salt to taste
- 2 tblspns neutral oil of choice
- Heat the oil over medium heat and add the mustard seeds.
- Once the mustard seeds start popping add the red chillies, the dal(s) and the curry leaves. Saute till the leaves are glossy but don’t let the chillies scorch or the dals darken too much.
- As soon as the curry leaves get glossy add the onion. Saute for 2 minutes or so.
- Add the ginger and saute for another minute or so.
- Add the haldi and ground coriander. Saute for another minute or so.
- Add the shredded sprouts, salt and sugar, mix thoroughly.
- Raise the heat and stir-fry for five minutes or so, keeping it all moving.
- Cover the pan and cook at medium-low heat till the sprouts are at your preferred texture. You may need to uncover the pan occasionally and stir so that the bottom layer does not scorch too much.
- When the sprouts are almost where you’d like them mix in the dried coconut and cover for a few more minutes.
- Serve with rice and dal—it is a particularly good side-dish with this toor dal.
- Please note that I am not from any of the parts of the country where a dish like this would be made (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh). I am not therefore following a traditional recipe; I am not sure, for example, if sugar would normally be added anywhere in the south but it’s a Bengali reflex.
- If you have a good sambar powder that you like you can add a tspn of that along with or in place of the ground coriander.
- You can leave the onion and ginger out if you like.
- You can use fresh coconut in place of the dessicated; in fact, that’s probably more traditional but I prefer the nuttier flavour of dessicated coconut in a dish like this.
- I say to be careful to not let the sprouts scorch too much but a bit of caramelization is a good thing.