Kootanchoru is a very popular South Indian (Tirunelveli) dish which is very simple to make. Don’t get intimidated by its name or by the long list of ingredients, it is actually a very simple, wholesome one pot meal prepared with rice, dal, vegetables, greens and legumes. It is very delicious and nutritious. If you do not want to use rice, you can substitute with millets like kuthiraivali, saamai or quinoa or samba ravai (only water measurement changes). Today let us learn how to make Kootanchoru following this easy recipe with step wise pictures and video.
Clean and chop all the vegetables into medium sized pieces. If you do not have all the vegetables, it does not matter. Add also, you can add more or less of a vegetable (for eg – if you like pumpkin, you can add more than a small bit). You can add any fresh legumes of your choice. You can add peas or field beans instead of pigeon peas. It is up to you.
Clean the greens, chop it and keep it ready.
Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of hot water for 20 minutes and extract thick juice. Discard the pulp.
Soak the dal in little hot water for 20 mins. This is optional. I do this always as dal gets cooked well in less time. (It also saves fuel).
Grind coconut, pearl onions, garlic, red chillies and cumin seeds to a fine paste adding very little water.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and hing. When dal turns golden brown, add chopped onions.
Saute until onion turn transparent.
Add the ground paste and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tamarind extract and boil for 4-5 minutes. Keep this aside.
In a pressure cooker, add tur dal, a cup of water, carrot, beans, potato, drumstick, cluster beans, turmeric powder, little salt and cook without whistle on medium heat.
When the dal is half cooked, add raw banana (vazhakkai), pumpkin, brinjal, raw mango, pigeon peas, drumstick leaves, arai keerai, needed salt, tamarind + masala mix, washed rice and 3 cups of hot water. (these vegetables and greens gets cooked faster, that is the reason we are adding it after the dal is half cooked, otherwise these vegetable will become mushy). Check for salt by tasting the water. If it is slightly salty, it will be perfect once the rice is cooked.
Mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
When the pressure subsides, open the cooker, add a tsp of ghee and mix well. Kootanchoru is ready.
Serve Kootanchoru with raita or appalam or chips or onion vadam. You can also fry 2-3 Vengaya vadagam and add to it.
Our Lunch that day
Note – I have written water measurement as 4 cups in the video. It is Total 4 cups of water. One cup for dal and 3 cups for rice. My apologies for the mistake. Kindly note that water measurement changes according to the quality of rice, so add accordingly.
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