Dal Kootu (South Indian Lentils and Vegetables)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Dal Kootu (South Indian Lentils and Vegetables)

Kootus — or koottus — are a moist but not too saucy vegetable and lentil dish popular in South India, commonly served with rice or Indian flat breads. This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from a new-to-me cookbook featuring traditional South Indian dishes called Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India. I borrowed it from the library and promptly ordered a copy — this one is very highly recommended.

Dal Kootu (South Indian Lentils and Vegetables)Dal Kootu (South Indian Lentils and Vegetables)
Recipe by
Adapted from Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 19, 2008

Classic South Indian lentil and vegetable curry cooked in a spicy coconut paste

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  • 4 tablespoons split mung dal, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 4 tablespoons dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal, rinsed
  • 3 dried whole red chilies, broken into pieces
  • a few fresh or dried curry leaves
  • Place the split mung dal in a heavy pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain).

  • To make the paste, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, red chilies and asafetida. Stir for a few minutes until fragrant, then remove from heat and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the coconut and a few teaspoons of water. Process until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

  • In a large saucepan, cover the green beans, carrot, potato and fresh peas if using with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then add the salt, turmeric and the cooked mung dal. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are just tender, adding more water if necessary. If you are using defrosted frozen peas, add them now. Pour the paste into the pan and cook for another few minutes.

  • For the tempering, heat the ghee, butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, red chilies and curry leaves. Cook, stirring often, until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to pop. Transfer this to the cooked vegetables, cover, and let stand for a few minutes.

  • Serve hot over fresh cooked white rice and garnish with a few curry leaves.

Makes 4 servings

Dal Kootu (South Indian Lentils and Vegetables)


Arundathi said...

That looks great, Lisa. We make this very often at home - usually only have one or two veggies at a time - but this looks like a feast! :-)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Nice adaptation, Lisa. Hope you enjoyed it.
This cooking style is part of the food we eat at home.
And those chocolate peanut butter squares in your previous post look great.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That looks really good Lisa, I bet it packed a punch in the flavour stakes. Lovely presentation on the black plate.

I will have to investigate asafoetida powder!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, colorful mix of veggies and beans! I've also never found asafoetida powder, but must have tasted it somewhere, as I love Indian food and we eat in Indian restaurants quite frequently. Must venture downtown and look for it!

sunita said...

Lisa,I would happily gorge on that plate of food...I love having a variety of veggies in my dishes.

Have a great weekend :-)

Laavanya said...

Looks beautiful Lisa... the kootus I normally make are more saucy and have just one veggie and dhal. This looks like a nice variation.

Chef Jeena said...

What a colourful kootu recipe it looks great Lisa, so healthy too.