Saagu is a traditional dish from south India in which vegetables are cooked in a coconut-cilantro gravy. This is a small twist of that recipe. I add moong dal or lentils while making saagu to pack in some protein and make the dish more filling. I don’t like a lot of coconut so I cut down on it. And I add some mint as it gives such a unique flavor to the cooked veggies and lentils. You can add any veggies of your choice – I generally use green beans, chayote squash (chow chow), green peas, carrots and kohlrabi (knolkol) 🙂 This is a one pot meal! I love those! They are easy to cook and also involve very little clean up! This dish works as a great side dish but if you are a veggie lover like me, then you would probably eat it like a main course stew 🙂 The only prep work that this dish requires is vegetable chopping!
- 1 cup yellow moong dal
- 150 grams fresh green beans
- 3 medium chayote squash(chow chow)
- 2 small carrots
- 1 medium kohlrabi(knolkol)
- 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
- 2 small bunches of mint leaves (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 small bunch cilantro/coriander (about 1/2 – 1 cup)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 dried red chillies (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
- Wash the veggies well. Chop the green beans finely. Peel the carrots, chayote squash and kohlrabi and chop into small bite sized pieces. Keep all the veggies of a consistent size so that they mix well together. Wash the moong dal well in cold water and keep it separately. Keep the green peas also ready.
- Grind the ingredients listed from 7 – 11 in a blender to get a smooth paste.
- You can cook this in a pressure cooker or in any large pan on the stove top. I have mentioned the method using pressure cooker here. If you don’t have a cooker, please refer to the notes section for details.
- Take a large pressure cooker. Add 1 tsp oil to it. Once it is heated add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the washed moong dal, veggies and ground mint-coconut paste. Add 3 cups of water. Add salt to taste.
- If you are using frozen green peas and they need to cook longer, you can add it in right now with the other veggies. If you are using fresh peas you might want to add it at the very end. Put the cooker lid on and cook for 3 whistles.
- Let the pressure release. Then open the lid. Add in the green peas in case you did not add it before. Check for salt and spice. If you need more spice, add in red chilli powder to taste. Let the whole mixture come to a boil. Serve hot with Indian breads and rice.
- If you are not using a pressure cooker, follow the same steps in a large thick-bottomed pan. Cook with lid closed for about 20 – 30 minutes till the lentils get cooked.