Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blood is thicker than? - Molagootal?


Molagootal with Rice, Thogayal and Potato Curry

My husband and his brother were practically raised on this dish - "Keerai Molagootal". This is a dish from the Palakaad region and is typically eaten with rice. The traditional accompaniment is "Thogayal" (a type of chutney) or Pulikaachal (tamarind chutney). Keerai Molagootal is similar to a spinach dal, but has a few additional ingredients that add a layer of complexity to the taste.

For my husband and brother-in-law, this is the ultimate comfort food. My SIL often jokes that they have "molagootal" running in their veins rather than blood!! that is the power of this dish :-)

Contrary to what the name might suggest, there is no "molaghu" or black pepper in this dish!! But, with spinach and tur dal, it is a very nutritious dish, full of vitamins and antioxidants.


For the dal:
4 cups spinach leaves, chopped
3/4 cup tur dal, boiled
1/4 cup grated coconut

For masala paste:
2 tbsp udad dal
4-5 dried red chillies
1 tsp jeera

For seasoning:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chillies


1. Boil the spinach leaves in water, till tender and grind coarsely in the blender
2. Fry the masala ingredients in 1/2 tsp oil till the udad dal turns a deep golden brown and is aromatic.
3. Grind to a fine paste with the coconut.
4. Mix the ground paste, the ground spinach and tur dal and boil for 2 minutes
5. Add salt to taste
6. Heat the oil for seasoning
7. Add mustard seeds and when they pop, add the curry leaves and red chillies.
8 Add to the molagootal when the red chillies are fried.


Thogayal or chutney is a tangy accompaniment to the molagootal. There are no set rules about the ingredients for the thogayal and can be varied according to what's on hand.


3 tbsp udad dal
4-5 dried red chillies
1/4 cup grated coconut
2 green chillies
a small handful curry leaves
a small handful cilantro leaves
a small handful mint leaves (optional)
a lime sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
1/2 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste


1. Mix the tamarind in a little bit of water and extract a thick juice.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan
3. Add the asafoetida and the udad dal
4. Fry the udad dal over slow heat, till it is a deep golden brown
5. Add the dried red chillies and roast
6. Switch off the heat and add all the other ingredients
7. Grind to a coarse paste using very little water

Serve with molagootal. I love it it hot rice and ghee. This also goes well with chappatis, toast etc. The other day I noticed my little one with a bowl of thogayal and tortilla chips!!!



At Wed Mar 15, 06:43:00 AM 2006, Blogger spicehut said...

Looks good. It is something new to me...always looking for new ways to cook spinach. Maybe I'll make this next time.

At Wed Mar 15, 07:09:00 AM 2006, Blogger Priya said...

wow they look yummy. I live close to palakkad - Coimbatore . I never knew were this molagootal came from, Hmm now i know. My mom makes these quite often. But urs seems to be a little different. Should definetely try it. And i made the tomato rice yesterday and loved every bit of it. Its very hard to get a compliment from my husband and luckily he loved it to and its really nice. Thanx for sharing lovely recipes.

At Wed Mar 15, 08:13:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Priya said...

Hey Saffron,
A very nice twist to the usual palak dal.Will try this soon.
I love thogayal, but the blender I have does not grind it to a fine paste when I use small quantity...if it has to, then the amt of water shud be doubled which makes it a juice!!! :-(

At Wed Mar 15, 09:11:00 AM 2006, Blogger Ashwini said...

Yum yum. How long will the chutney keep? Is it fresh or dry coconut?

At Wed Mar 15, 09:33:00 AM 2006, Blogger Kay said...

Looks very appetising! I love how you've played with colors in the plate.

At Wed Mar 15, 11:19:00 AM 2006, Blogger shammi said...

Okay, you made me dribble on my keyboard. I LOVE molagootal (anything with spinach is good) and your photo was simply yummy!

At Wed Mar 15, 11:19:00 AM 2006, Blogger shammi said...

PS. I couldnt come over for dinner sometime in May, could I? :) I'm going to be in the US for about 2 weeks!

At Wed Mar 15, 11:40:00 AM 2006, Blogger KrishnaArjuna said...

Different recipe with spinach!! Another way to incorporate lots of greens into the meal. Thanks for the recipe, SH.

At Wed Mar 15, 12:56:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

spicehut, try it out. You do need a spicy side dish with it. Also, this is good for days that you don't want to eat anything with onion, garlic etc.

priya, glad the tomato rice worked out well. I made it for lunch today too!

priya(2), use tamarind water instead of regular water and that helps

ashwini, it is fresh coconut (shredded). I buy it frozen from the produce store. The brand is Rosan (from phillipines). V.V.good. My thogayal doesn't last long enough to go bad :) :)

kay, thanks!

shammi, sure!!

KA, thanks!

At Wed Mar 15, 02:53:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kitchenmate said...

SH: Definitely goes to my "must-dos" and the thogayal is again different from what I usually make. Beautiful pictures and it makes me drool:)

At Wed Mar 15, 03:52:00 PM 2006, Blogger Courtney said...

Hey Saffron...

We at the Naughty Curry blog have quoted you on chai in our Wise Words sideblog. After all, it truly is more than a drink at Starbucks! ;)

At Wed Mar 15, 04:15:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Naughty Curry, COOL!!


At Wed Mar 15, 07:23:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Annita said...

I haven;t even heard of the names Molakootal or Thogayal.Even the recipe sounds new to me..
Your recipes are all different I think..I love it..And BTB I made your Dahiwala Baingan today and it was a super duper hit !!!Will be posting the photos soon..

At Thu Mar 16, 01:29:00 AM 2006, Blogger Puspha said...

I'm gonna try this out very soon. Thanx for the recipe SH.

At Thu Mar 16, 11:19:00 AM 2006, Blogger sailu said...

Great pics,SH and healthy way to incorporate greens into our diet.

At Thu Mar 16, 12:05:00 PM 2006, Blogger Vaishali said...

Hi SaffronHut,
I know almost nothing about the food from the Palakkad region. The combination of ingredients and then the combination of dishes is totally new to me. Trying them out is going to be thrilling. One question though: Is it ok to use frozen spinach? Using (and hence selling) fresh spinach is not really the norm here in Germany.

At Thu Mar 16, 01:51:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Priya said...

Hi Saffron,
I realised today that I am allregic to some ingredient in the Potbelly sandwich....have had it twice till now..and both times I get a severe stomach ache within 5-10 mins of eating. :-) ... suffering from one rite now...had the sandwich for lunch :-(.
Clueless as to what cud cause it..??

At Thu Mar 16, 02:23:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

vaishali, sure you can use frozen spinach. Just thaw and cook as you usually do. Even microwave is ok.

Priya, oh dear!! so sorry to hear that. Perhaps the mayo in the restaurant was bad? Maybe you are allergic to cheese? Have you tried making this at home? any different results?

Hope you feel better soon.

At Sun Mar 19, 04:15:00 PM 2006, Blogger Menu Today said...

It looks great, i will try it out today itself!!!

At Mon Mar 27, 10:13:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi SH,
thank u for the yummy recipe. it tasted really mom makes this but yurs is quite diffrent.thanx for sharing yur recipe.
regards madhu.

At Thu May 04, 09:52:00 PM 2006, Blogger archana said...

Nice recipe, will try it out soon. Is udal dal and urad dal the same?

At Fri May 05, 05:20:00 AM 2006, Blogger shub said...

thanks a million for the recipe. My Mom makes this a lot, and I really love molagootal. As a student living away from home, making this and savouring it felt wonderful, and so close to home :) thanks a million...and back home we eat it with lemon pickle...I had to make to with avakkai pickle...tasty nonetheless!
and ur recipes, the pics and the blog ROCKS!

At Fri May 05, 06:06:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Archana oops, yes it is!! I will update the post. Thanks for pointing it out!

Shub Glad the recipe brought back fond memories for you!!

At Fri May 19, 07:42:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hai SaffronHut,
I tried this.its very very nice.I'm new to ur blog.Now i'm visiting it often.nice receipes.keep ur good work.bye.

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It was so delicious! I tried it out yesterday... Many thx for sharing this wonderful recipe with a german girl :)

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