Pooshanikai or Ash gourd is commonly used to tease a girl or a boy who is stout “Ava paaru pooshanikai maadhri irruka” , meaning “look at her she looks like an ash gourd” , but the fact is if you eat Ash gourd regularly , you can loose oodles of weight and not resemble this gourd. One of the best variety of gourds that has more than 70% of water in it , high in vitamins B and C also consists of iron , potassium and calcium.
Helps in combating diseases related to intestine and also helps in combating stomach ulcers. This is also an excellent natural diuretic that is suggested for chronic kidney failure patients.
Pooshanikai Paruppu Masiyal , is a moong dal based stew that is cooked in tamarind extract. This is not very spicy and not very tangy either , does not require any kind of masalas or powders to prepare this dish.
There are 3 major ingredients that has to be prepared before starting this dish
1. Cook the moong dal / paitham paruppu / dehusked green gram in pressure cooker up to 4 whistles or if cooking in microwave then cook in power high for 15 minutes. Add a pinch of turmeric to the moong dal.
2. Soak a small gooseberry (amla) sized tamarind in lukewarm water for 10 minutes and later take out the extract , it should be about 200 ml of strong extract.
3. Remove the seeds of ash gourd and remove its skin , chop it into small cubes and cook them in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked , add a pinch of salt while cooking them. When you insert a knife , it should go in easily , then the ash gourd is cooked,.
Once these are done , Take a wok , on medium heat , add 4 tbsps od sesame seed oil (ONLY) , the secret to making this dish delectables lies in the oil and that is sesame oil , nothing else can be replaced with this oil for this dish.
Once the oil is heated up , add a small pellet of compounded asafoetida or 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder , 1 tsp mustard seeds , 1 tsp channa dal , 1 tsp white urad dal and 1 tsp methi seeds / fenugreek seeds , 3 dried red chillies (break their stalks and then add the chillies) , 2 green chillies , 5-6 curry leaves . Saute all of this for a minute or until the dals and methi seeds turn brown in color. Now add the tamarind extract along with ash gourd and its stock. Let this boil until the raw smell of the tamarind extract leaves or it should boil vigorously for about 2 minutes in medium high heat. Now add the required amount of salt , and then add the cooked moong dal. Give this a good mix. Check the consistency , it should be slightly thicker and not runny in consistency , it should almost be like a sambar’s consistency. If it is too runny , then in a small cup mix 2 tbsps of rice flour with little water and make paste , add this paste to the masiyal and mix it , allow it for one boil and switch off the heat. Transfer pooshanikai paruppu masiyal to a serving bowl and serve it hot with plain rice.
Pooshanikai Paruppu Masiyal
- Remove the seeds of ash gourd and take out its skin. Chop it into small cubes. In a vessel add 200 ml of water and bring it to a boil. Add the chopped ash-gourd , little salt and 3 curry leaves.
- Meanwhile , in a kadaai or wok , on medium heat , add sesame oil and all the other ingredients mentioned under Tempering. Add the ingredients in the above mentioned order only. Saute them for a minute or so.
- Now , simmer the heat and pour in the tamarind extract , increase the heat to high and allow this to boil. Add salt (remember that you’ve added salt for the ash gourd too , so add wisely in this stage).
- Once the raw smell of the tamarind goes away , add the cooked ash gourd along with its stock. Mix it thoroughly.
- Now add the cooked moong dal and mix. Switch off the heat and serve it hot with plain rice.
- OPTIONAL STEP : If the consistency of the masiyal is too lean or runny , then in a small bowl mix 2 tbsps of rice flour and little water. Make this into a paste and add it to the boiling masiyal , mix it thoroughly then switch off the heat.