When people think of combining vegetables and dhal in Tamil cooking, they primarily think of Aviyal. There is another dish, Saalna that is a complete contrast to aviyal both in the type of vegetables and spices used. Saalna does not use strong flavoured vegetables like drumsticks and cluster beans. It also uses cloves and cinnamon, instead of cumin and garlic like aviyal. It may not be as famous as aviyal, but is no less delicious. It is an ideal dish to celebrate the harvest and can be served with Venn Pongal.
Both Bengal gram and red gram dhals provide, on average, 21g of protein per 100g. This dish uses 1 cup of these dhals and thus gives a whopping amount of vegetable protein. The vegetables contribute a great deal of fibre. This saalna is very easy to prepare and offers a high protein and high fibre nourishing side dish for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who wishes to introduce more vegetable protein in their diet.
- ½ C Red Gram Dhal
- ½ C Bengal Gram Dhal
- 2 T diced Onion
- ¼ C diced Coriander Leaves
- ¼ C diced Mint Leaves
- 2 Unripe Bananas
- 4 Brinjals (Eggplant)
- 2 large Potatoes
- 200g Avaraikkai (Broad Beans)
- 1 medium Unripe Mango
- ¼ C Vegetable Oil
- 1 T Salt
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ¾ C Coconut scrapings
- 4-6 Green Chillies, deseeded
- 2 T grated Ginger
- 1 T Coriander Powder
- 3-4 Cloves
- 3 small Cinnamon pieces
- Pressure cook the dhals together for 15 minutes.
- Pare the skins of the banana and potato. Cut into 3 cm cubes.
- String the broad beans. Cut into 3 cm pieces.
- Remove the stems of the brinjal, and quarter lengthwise.
- Remove the stem of the mango. Cut the fleshy portion from the kernel. Discard the kernel.
- Boil 2 cups of water in a medium pan. Cook the potato, banana, and broad beans till half done. Add the brinjal, mango, and turmeric powder, and continue to cook till the brinjal loses its opacity. Add the ground masala and salt and mix. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan. Add the onion and fry till it becomes translucent. Add the coriander and mint leaves, and fry till a lovely aroma arises.
- Add the cooked dhal and vegetables. Stir gently. Adjust salt. Bring to boil.
- Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- If you wish to save time and fuel, place the dhals in one pressure cooker pan and the vegetables, i.e., banana, potato, and broad beans, in another pan and cook at the same time.
- The brinjal can be cooked along with the mint and the coriander leaves. Add a cup of water after frying, and cook till the brinjal is done.