If you see a Tamilian spread in all its glory, you may have a tough time looking for empty pockets on your plate. The spread is loaded, but nothing ever seems unnecessary or 'too much'. One such dish from Tamil Nadu that we truly adore is Peerkangai Kootu. It is semi-thick preparation that is made with peerkangai or ridge gourd, moong dal and grated coconut. If you are even remotely privy to South Indian cuisine, you would be well aware of the use of gourd vegetables in the preparations. These gourd vegetables are cultivated in huge numbers, so many households grow these gourds in their backyard itself and use the same in their curries and stir-fry dishes.
Ridge gourd, or torai as it is known in other parts of the country, is brimming with health benefits that we have heard of quite often. Its high fibre content helps regulate digestion and heart health. It is also a very good source of vitamin A, C, magnesium, iron and B6. Like all vegetables, ridge gourd is also water and nutrients. This low-cal vegetable thus makes for an excellent weight-loss-friendly food.
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Another star ingredient of the dish is moong dal which is used in a very interesting fashion in this recipe. This is not your regular watery dal, moong dal is pressure-cooked separately and then combined with ridge gourd, coconut, urad dal and curry leaves to make a rich concoction that hits the spot.
Ridge gourd is also known as torai
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Both moong dal and urad dal are tremendous sources of protein. Protein, as we all know, is often called the building block of life. It helps you build muscle, aid muscle recovery, and is good for your hair, skin and nails. It is also a very crucial component of a weight loss diet. Much like fibre, protein also does not get digested too quickly. And because it stays in your system for a considerable amount of time, it imparts a feeling of fullness. If you feel full, you would naturally maintain a safe distance from other high-fat foods, and thus reduce chances of weight gain.
Peerkangai Kootu is actually super easy to make at home. It can be made in less than 30 minutes. You can pair it with rice or any bread of your choice. Here's the step-by-step recipe with ingredients.