Kootu. This is one of the simplest and quickest South Indian curries to make with minimal prep using pretty much any kind of vegetable you have on hand (cabbage, carrots, green beans, flat beans, eggplant, yam, chayote squash, etc…). Made with minimal ingredients, kootu when eaten with rice/millet/quinoa feels like a warm hug! This is made both in Kerala and TamilNadu and is also called Molagootal (love saying that!! :-)) or Poricha Kootu respectively…And when accompanied with a hearty root vegetable like Vazhakka Podi , cold Kosumalli/Kosamiri and a super cold onion raita, you will need to simply switch off the phones and head to bed because I promise you, there will be a serious need for a super long siesta!!
Forget the calling, focus on the eating…cook and see I say!!
- 1/2 cup chopped Cabbage
- 1/2 cup chopped Pumpkin (red)
- 1/4 cup of Tur Dal or Mung Dal
- 1/4 cup of Freshly grated Coconut
- 2 tbsp of Cumin seeds
- 2 Green chilies
- 4 Black Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tbsp Urad dal
- 1 tbsp Chana dal
- 2 Dried Red chilies
- 5-6 Curry leaves
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder
Chop 1/2 cup of cabbage and add to the pressure cooker along with 1/4 cup of either Tur Dal or Moong Dal. Add water just to cover the vegetable and the dal. Cook it the vegetable and the lentils are cooked down.*
Heat 2 cups of water in a pan. Add 1/2 cup of red pumpkin chopped in big chunks. To this, add 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder. Cook till the pumpkin is cooked through but firm.** Drain off the excess water and transfer the cooked pumpkin gently on to a bowl and keep aside.
Add 1/4 cup of freshly grated coconut + 2 tbsp of cumin seeds + 2 green chilies + 4 black peppercorns to a blender jar and grind to a thick fine paste with some water.
Add the cabbage and dal mixture to the pan and add the ground masala to it. Add salt to taste, cover and cook till everything blends together.
Add the cooked pumpkin and mix gently.
For the tempering:
Heat 1 tbsp of oil + 1 tbsp of mustard seeds. When they crackle, add 1 tbsp each of Urad dal and Chana dal and 2 broken dried red chilies. Sauté till the dals become light brown. Turn off the heat and tear of 4-5 curry leaves into the mixture. Mix well.
Transfer the Poricha Kootu to a serving bowl. Spoon the tempering all over the Kootu
Drizzle 1 tbsp of coconut oil over the Kootu to give it an added flavor ***
Take a plate. Add your choice of base (rice/quinoa/millet). Pour 2-3 ladle full of Kootu over it. Enjoy with cold Kosamiri
Notes to the Chef:
* You may want to put another container with rice/quinoa/millet as well in the cooker so that you can dive into the eating part right away 🙂
** Most folks may add this to the vegetable/dal mixture and pressure cook it, but then invariably, the pumpkin gets overdone and does not make for good visual appeal of the dish...which, you know by now is paramount for me! So, I prefer to cook the pumpkin separately. But yes, it is an added step that can be eliminated!
*** It is traditional to temper it in coconut oil, but I prefer the taste of raw coconut oil floating in the kootu...and having it's own identity! 🙂