What’s with the name of this dish ?
I think I mentioned in a post before (Fenugreek) that “soppu” in Kannada refers to green leafy vegetables. This includes spinach, silver beet, fenugreek leaves and a whole host of leaves that were easily and regularly available where I grew up in Bangalore. “Soppu” was usually more expensive than vegetables but given it is full of minerals and vitamins, mum never skimped on them. We’d have soppu 2-3 times a week quite easily.
“Palya” is another Kannada word that usually refers to any cooked vegetable. Potato palya, carrot palya, beans palya are commonly heard in a Kannada household. “Mudhdhe” means (to me at least) a sticky ball of rice/rice+lentils/several different flours. The addition of lentils to these cooked greens makes them sticky and if cooked long enough, it can come together into a sticky ball.
In England, I don’t often find the greens that I grew up on and even if I did, I couldn’t tell one from the other because mum and dad always shopped for them not I. So, for this dish, I’ve gone with spinach which you should be able to get your hands on in most places. In this particular form of the recipe, I use frozen spinach but the fresh kind can be easily substituted. With fresh spinach, expect a lot more moisture and a slightly longer cooking time.
250 gms of frozen spinach or 1 bunch of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of toor dal , cooked (Picture 1 below)
1/2 cup of dessicated coconut (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
salt to suit your taste
For the tempering: (you can leave this bit out if you don’t have the ingredients)
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2 dried, red chillies (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1. Microwave the frozen spinach until it is soft (pictures 2 & 3)
2. Heat the oil and add the remaining tempering ingredients to the oil (picture 4).
3. When the mustard starts to splutter and fly out at you, add the spinach and mix well (picture 5).
4. Add the cooked dal and dessicated coconut to the spinach and mix well (picture 6).
5. Cook the palya until all the water has evaporated and it comes together as a thick mixture (pictures 7 & 8)
6. Serve while hot with hot rice or with unleavened flatbread (roti).
7. Alternatively, eat it on its own with some natural, unsweetened yoghurt to make a low-starch (calorie) meal.
1. If you are using fresh spinach (or other greens), chop the bunch into thin slivers and add it into the tempering at step 3 above. Let the spinach release it’s moisture and wilt. You will notice the green colour getting darker as it wilts. Once it has wilted fully, go on to step 4.
mudhdhe = mu as in move + they
palya = pal as in pulverise + yeah
roti = row + tea
soppu = So + p + pooh