Kootu Variety 1: Poricha Kootu (Lentil and vegetable mixed gravy)

Srilatha Sides, South Indian Leave a Comment

Print Recipe
Kootu (Mildly spiced vegetable and lentil gravy)
Kootu means mix in general, and is a typical side dish famous in Tamil Nadu. It is a medium thick stew made with a dal, a single or mixed vegetables, and a coconut based spice mix. There are different versions of kootu, and this version is called "poricha kootu". It's one of the healthiest dishes in the South Indian cuisine. Eaten with rice, with a side of raita or pickle and papad, it makes a wholesome meal. You can use either toovar dal or spit moong dal for the lentil. Any vegetable or combination of the following can be used: Chayote squash Carrots and peas Ash gourd (white pumpkin, poosanikai) Broad beans (avarakai, papdi) Cabbage Yellow pumpkin (manjal poosanikai)
Course Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium Chayote squash, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup Cooked toor dhal or yellow split moong dhal See basics on how to cook toor dhal (red gram) or moong dhal
  • 11/2 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp for the vegetable; 1 tsp for the dish
Ingredients to roast and powder - spice mixture
  • 1/2 tsp Oil/ghee
  • 1 tbsp Split or whole white black gram/urad dhal
  • 1 tsp Whole black pepper
  • 1 or 2 Dry red chilies
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Fresh or frozen grated coconut If using frozen, take it out to thaw about 45 mins prior to cooking
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves Wash and pat dry
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing/asafoetida
  • 1 tsp White urad dhal/black gram
  • 4-5 leaves Curry leaves optional
  • 1 Dry red chili optional
  • 1 tbsp Oil/ghee
Course Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium Chayote squash, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup Cooked toor dhal or yellow split moong dhal See basics on how to cook toor dhal (red gram) or moong dhal
  • 11/2 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp for the vegetable; 1 tsp for the dish
Ingredients to roast and powder - spice mixture
  • 1/2 tsp Oil/ghee
  • 1 tbsp Split or whole white black gram/urad dhal
  • 1 tsp Whole black pepper
  • 1 or 2 Dry red chilies
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Fresh or frozen grated coconut If using frozen, take it out to thaw about 45 mins prior to cooking
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves Wash and pat dry
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing/asafoetida
  • 1 tsp White urad dhal/black gram
  • 4-5 leaves Curry leaves optional
  • 1 Dry red chili optional
  • 1 tbsp Oil/ghee
Instructions
Prep
  1. Chop chayote squash into cubes
  2. Cook red gram or moong dhal according to instructions in the recipe under Basics, and keep ready
  3. Gather ingredients for roasting and powdering
  4. Gather seasoning ingredients and keep ready
Main
  1. Boil the squash in about 1/4 cup of water, with a pinch of turmeric, and 1/2 tsp of salt; about 10 minutes on medium heat. Increase the water if using more quantity of vegetables, just enough to cover. Watch it to make sure the water does not evaporate completely, making the squash burn. Turn the heat off when the vegetable is fork tender but not overcooked and mushy. It should have a slight bite to it.
  2. While it's cooking, heat a small pan and add the ghee/oil for roasting the spices for the powder. When it's hot, add the spice ingredients one by one, starting with the urad dhal, and black pepper
  3. When the urad dhal starts to turn golden, add the red chilies, curry leaves and coconut and fry till the coconut is toasty and reddish brown, but not burned
  4. Turn the heat off, and transfer to a plate or bowl to cool
  5. When cool enough, make a coarse powder using your favorite blender/spice grinder
  6. Add this spice mixture to the cooked vegetable and mix it well
  7. Add the cooked dhal, and 1 tsp of salt and mix everything well
  8. Turn the heat on to low-medium and cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring to make sure the dhal and the spice mix do not stick to the bottom
Finishing/Tempering
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil/ghee for the seasoning in a small pan
  2. When hot, add the seasoning ingredients, starting with mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the rest of them and stir with a spoon until the popping slows down, a couple of minutes at the most. Turn the heat off.
  3. Pour over the prepared kootu!
Recipe Notes

This one is almost always requested by my son whenever he's home.

Kootu is typically eaten with rice, and a side of a spicy vegetable curry such as sweet potato curry, potato curry, plantain curry.
Other combinations:
- Cucumber raita/plain yogurt
- Papads - roasted or fried
- Pickle
This version is called poricha kootu, and is a staple in Tamil brahmin kitchens.

Share this Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *