Usually for any palya recipe, the tempering is done followed by stir frying the vegetables in water or oil until the vegetables are soft. But my mom never prepares palya this way. She always boils the vegetable in pressure cooker (may be 1 or 2 whistles depending on the vegetable she is cooking) & then adds tempering to it. During my initial cooking days, I used to fight with her for stir-frying the vegetables in oil or water for more taste, but she always smiled & refused to do so. I never understood why she was oblivious about my proposal. Even she failed to convince me, partially due to my ignorance about intricacies of cooking.
After many years, I have understood the importance of boiling the vegetables. For those who don't know: Stir-frying the vegetables spoils the nutrient levels of the vegetables & steaming or boiling the vegetables holds most of the nutrients. Hence, it is advisable to boil the vegetables whenever possible. I need not say that, I have started following my mother now :)
Seemebadane/Chayote Squash: 2 medium sized or 500 gms
Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds: ½ tsp
Urad dal: 1tsp
Channa dal: 1 tsp (optional, our family prefers this)
Curry leaves: 4 chopped or whole
Green chillies: 2 chopped
Cliantro/Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp finely chopped
Grated coconut: 2tbsp (optional)
Salt: according to taste
Lemon juice: ½ tsp (optional)
- Peel the skin; discard the seed of chayote squash. Cut them into 1/2inch cubes & pressure cook for 1-2 whistles. (Add around 1/4th cup water while cooking the vegetable). Allow it to cool for a while.
- In a broad pan, heat oil. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds followed by urad & channa dal. Fry till the dal turns golden brown. Add curry leaves, cilantro, green chillies & sauté for 10secs.
- Add the cooked vegetable to the pan (discard excess water), salt & cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the flame; add coconut, lemon juice. Mix well & serve it as a side dish for rice, roti or dosa.
- Do not add more water while boiling the vegetable as it has to be discarded for fry sabzi like this.
- On a second note, by chance if you add more water, do not throw the water, store the water & use it while preparing sambar. The chayote squash boiled water can safely be used while preparing sambar as it doesn't smell pungent like cabbage or radish.
- Have you tried frying the cilantro/coriander leaves in oil along with curry leaves? Try it out; the aroma of fried cilantro is just too good to resist.