Pitlay is a sambar like kuzhambu or lentil gravy, with a medley of vegetables cooked in thick tamarind juice. The spices added give the dish a lovely taste and makes it different from sambar. Its unique to Tamilnadu and Palghat cuisine.
Recipe taken from Cook and See Vol 1
- Vegetables to be used : Yam (senai), colocasia, Potatoes, brinjals, drumstick, chow chow, bitter gourd, cluster beans, sabre beans.
- Any one of the above or combination of two or three, chopped medium sized – 1 cup,
- Red gram dal 1 cup (cooked soft),
- Tamarind (NEW) a small lemon size / 15 to 20 grams
- Salt 1 teaspoon,
- Coriander leaves few,
- To be ground to paste : Coriander seeds 1½ teaspoon, Bengal gram dal 1 teaspoon, black gram dal ¾ teaspoon,dried red chillies, coconut gratings 1 cup,
- For Tempering : Oil 1 tablespoon, mustard ½ teaspoon, black gram dal ¾ teaspoon, dried red chillies 2, curry leaves few, asafoetida.
- Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of water.
- In a kadai or a deep pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil, add coriander seeds, bengal gram dal, black gram dal, dried red chillies and coconut gratings. Shallow fry to brown and grind to coarse paste.
- In the same pan, heat rest of the oil, add mustard as it splutters, add black gram dal, red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves, shallow fry for half a minute.
- Add vegetable chosen (chopped) and shallow fry. If colocasia or potatoes are used, cook, peel separately and add in the pan. Other vegetables can be added directly and half cooked.
- Meanwhile extract juice from the softened tamarind by squeezing it, to get a thick juice, add the juice to the vegetables, add salt and turmeric powder.
- Cook in low heat for 4 to 6 minutes o till the vegetables are nearly cooked .
- When the tamarind is bubbling and the vegetables have nearly cooked, add the paste and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Now add cooked red gram dal and simmer for 4 minutes or more, so that ingredients come together to make a thick golden gravy.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves/ curry leaves .
- Serve with hot rice .
- Dried beans like garbanzo beans , mochai, soya beans, brown chick pea beans etc can be cooked and added to Pitlay.
- Soaked Bengal gram dal can also be added .
- One tablespoon of rice flour can be added to get a thicker Pitlay.
- Please note most Tamilian cuisines use , groundnut oil or sesame oil for tempering and deep frying , some times coconut oil too, to get the authentic taste of the dish.