Koorkai is a favourite for me even when I was in Madras, as this was a pretty seasonal root, that you would get only during december/january. It is an important addition to the vegetables that we use in “Thiruvadharai Upperi”. My mum would soak it for some time and rub is against a rough surface so it would get clean. Cleaning the Koorkai is the most difficult portion of labour before relishing its taste. Then you would have to painstakingly remove the skin and chop it before you cook it in steam, AND THEN it becomes ready to be used in Mozhukkuperati, or upperi or molagootal….So much for this rare tuber!!!
I was really missing it when I moved to the U.S, but when I visited my aunt in PLano, in December `08, I found cleaned, cut and frozen koorkai in in indian store near her place. I was delirious with joy and I guess I bought 4-5 packets, as my husband was darting looks that very clearly spelt “baffled”. Not that I minded. I knew this was a seasonal vegetable and I had to stock up for the year! Today was an exceptionally cold day and I really felt like having this fragrant vegetable, so I combined to make a Poriyal with Avaraikkai and Mochai. In my mind, I guess I was trying to make up for the root, by adding a pulse and a high fibre vegetable.
It`s a pretty simply recipe, so here you go…
Avaraikkai – 1 cup (Valor/Broad Bean) chopped in to 1 inch pieces.
Koorkai – 1 cup. (cleaned and chopped in to small pieces)
Mochai – 1 cup ( Valor Lilva)
Coconut – 3 tsp.
Mustard seeds, Broken Urad dhal, Curry Leaves, Red Chillis (2-3)
- Take a kadai and pour in two spoons of oil and allow to get hot. Slip in the urad dhal and the red chillies and allow it to get a little brown and now drop in the mustard seeds and the curry leaves and a dash of hing.
- Add the chopped vegetables and add sufficient salt and sprinkle water and allow to cook on a medium low flame.
- Allow to cook for a good fifteen minutes and sprinkle dessicated coconut.
- Serve HOT with Vengaya Sambar.