Kootanchoru is a traditional one-pot meal prepared for lunch by our maternal grand mother when we all gathered during summer vacation. She used to prepare this delicious one-pot meal with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, drumstick leaves, raw banana, raw mango, jack fruit seeds, etc. and serve with home-made appalam & vadagam. We still remember those mixed flavors of vegetables, spices and vadagam emanating from her kitchen while we all play in the courtyard. The main attraction for kids in this meal are buttery jack fruit seeds & succulent mango flesh enclosing its seed.
Health Benefits: Kootanchoru is prepared with rice, lentils, vegetables & spices and is a complete meal with necessary carbs, protein, vitamins & minerals.
How to serve Kootanchoru: Kootanchoru is usually served in two portions as shown below.
- For the first portion we used to pour coconut oil (or ghee) generously over hot kootanchoru and this can be relished with deep fried appalam.
- For the next portion we like to mix curd with kootanchoru and it tastes divine with vadagam & appalam.
Here is an authentic Tirunelveli style kootanchoru recipe :
Time taken: 40 min
Serves : 4
- Boiled rice (puzhungal arisi)- 1 and 1/4 cups ( 250 g)
- Green gram (paasi paruppu) or red gram (thuvaram paruppu) – 1/2 cup (100 g)
- Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder (manjal podi) – 1 tsp
- Asafoetida powder (hing/ perungaya podi) – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Water – 1000 ml
- Drumstick (murungai) – 1 No.
- Raw mango (maangai) – 1/2
- Potato – 1 No.
- Carrot – 1 No (large)
- Beans – 5 Nos.
- Broadbeans (avarai)- 5 Nos.
- Red pumpkins (manjal poosani) – 10 cubes
- Eggplants (brinjal/ kathrikai) – 5 Nos
- Jack fruit seeds (pala kottai)- 10 Nos.
- Drumstick leaves (murungai ilai) – a handful
- Red Chillies (milagai vatral) – 14 Nos
- Garlic (poondu) – 4 pods
- Cumin seeds (jeeragam) – 1 tsp
- Tamarind (puli) – Please refer the image below
For Tempering :
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Mise en Place:
- Wash rice & lentils and soak in one liter of water until the prep work is done
- Soak tamarind in hot water.
- Wash & chop all vegetables as shown in the picture above.
- In a mixer-grinder jar add red chillies, cumins & garlic and grind into a coarse powder.
- Remove fiber or seeds, if any, from tamarind, add into red chillies mixture and grind into a fine paste.
- Heat a heavy bottom pressure cooker with oil, add all vegetables, turmeric powder, red chillies paste & asafoetida powder and saute until their aroma is released.
- Add rice soaking water and bring them to a boil.
- Add drumstick leaves, washed rice & lentils and salt.
- Mix all ingredients together & bring them to a boil.
- Close the pressure cooker & simmer for 10-12 min.
- Meanwhile, we can keep appalam & vadagam ready. First we need to deep fry vadagam in low flame followed by appalam in medium flame.
- Also heat a small pan with oil for tempering, add mustards, when spluttered add curry leaves & keep aside.
- When pressure is released from cooker, mix rice & vegetables gently with a wooden spatula.
- Garnish with tempering before serving an aromatic kootanchoru.
- I have made 2 changes in my grandma’s recipe: * Replaced red gram (thuvaram paruppu) with green gram and omitted raw banana (vazhaikai) as both cause flatulence.
- Ingredients responsible for koontanchoru’s wonderful aroma are cumin seeds, garlic, drumstick leaves, asafoetida powder (asafoetida block helps to make it even more flavorful) & coconut oil; so I suggest you to use all these ingredients without fail.
- This is a moderately spiced rice dish, you can adjust the red chillies according to your palate.
- I have seen people adding crushed vadagams while tempering, but my grandma didn’t, this also gives a wonderful flavor.
- I have used home-made vadagam prepared by my mother’s sister, an expert in making vadagam and she always uses shallots instead of onions.