|Brinjal and Chickpea Pitlai|
Although Pavakkai Pitlai (made with Bittergourd) is the classic recipe, amma used to make Chickpea/Channa pitlai for me and my sis, since we detest Bittergourd completely! Well, I added eggplant too, for that's my hubby's first love!
What's Pitlai? It's a thick gravy with tamarind juice and freshly ground spices as the base. It's different from the commonly known Sambar - there is no Sambar powder used, no Fenugreek in Pitlai and the quantity of Tuvar dal used is very less, comparatively.
Different vegetables(one at a time) can be used in Pitlai. Avarakkai (Broad beans), Kothavarangai (Cluster beans), potaoes, yam (Chenai kizhangu) are commonly used in Pitlai. Cooked Mocha kottai (Field beans/ Hyacinth beans) or Channa Dal (kadala paruppu) can also be added to the tamarind extract.
On to the recipe -
Set A - To be roasted in 1 tsp of oil and ground coarsely
Dhania (Coriander seeds) - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Channa Dal (Bengal gram dal/ கடலை பருப்பு) - 1 tsp
Urad dal (உளுத்தம் பருப்பு) - 3/4 tsp
Dried red chiilies (மிளகாய் வற்றல்) - 6 nos.
Grated Coconut - a handful (add finally if you're using dessicated coconut)
|Freshly ground spice powder for Pitlai|
Tamarind - a small lemon sized ball
Salt - 1 tsp or to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Black mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 3/4 tsp
Red chillies (dry) - 2 nos.
Hing / Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - a few (optional) - to garnish
Brinjal - 1/2 of a big one or 6-8 small ones
Chickpeas / Chole - 2 handfuls (soaked overnight and pressure cooked till soft)
Toor dal ( துவரம் பருப்பு) - a handful (pressure cook or alternatively soak for 2 hours and cook in a pan with sufficient water)
- Temper mustard, urad and red chillies in a teaspoon of oil.
- Cube brinjal and fry them in oil for 3 minutes.
- Then, add tamarind extract (seeds and strands removed) and cook the vegetable with some salt.
- Add the cooked tuvar dal and let everything cook together for 5 minutes.
- Add the freshly roasted and ground spices now. Let boil together.
- Add the cooked Channa/ Chick peas / கொண்ட கடலை to the gravy that's getting cooked.
- Add hing (பெரும் காயம் ) and curry leaves as well.
- Check for salt levels.
Pitlai should generally be thicker than Sambar. Add some rice flour (not too much, as it would spoil the taste) and that helps to thicken the gravy, if required.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped.
|Pitlai is ready!|
Ammamma (mom's mom) adds roasted coconut shavings to the pitlai finally. I love that taste :)
Being a South-Indian specialty, Pitlai is enjoyed with steaming hot white rice! Some Mor Kuzhambu aka Pulisseri for the rice would make this a complete meal and this is such a classic combination !!!