poriyal is a tamilian word for dry curry. these vegetable based dishes have no sauce and are the perfect accompaniment to spicy foods like rasam and sambhar. some of the vegetables used to make poriyal are cabbage, yam, beans, potatoes, eggplant and plantain stem. from the cookbook dakshin (by chandra padmanabhan), i learn that poriyals can be steamed, boiled lightly in their natural juices or stir-fried over low heat. this is very healthy way to ensure that the freshness and wholesome goodness of the vegetables are retained.
my favourite is bean poriyal with freshly made rotis, a light daal and lots of raw onion. to make bean poriyal, you need about 500 g (a pound) of fresh green beans finely chooped, grated coconut (it's ok to use frozen though obviously fresher the better!), a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a teaspoon of urud dal, a teaspoon of chana dal, a few red chillies, a pinch of asafoetida and a handful of curry leaves or chopped coriander.
temper all the ingredients (except the beans and the grated coconut) in a few tablespoons of oil. when the mustard begins to crackle, add the beans. season with salt and then add a few tablespoons of water. cover and cook the beans till they are tender. right before you are ready to serve, add the grated coconut (and coriander in case you didn't use curry leaves in the tempering), mixing thoroughly before serving.