Kootanchoru is a traditional one-pot meal served for lunch by my maternal grand mother whenever we gathered during vacation. This meal used to be prepared by her with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, raw mango, jack fruit seeds, etc. and served with home-made fried appalams & vadagams. I, my siblings & my cousins used to have lots of fun when we fight with one another for more jack fruit seeds and appalams. We still remember mixed flavors of vegetables, spices and vadagams emanating from her kitchen while we play in the front yard.
As this one-pot meal is a mixture of rice, lentils, vegetables & spices, it turns out to be a complete meal with carbs, protein, vitamins & minerals.
How to serve Kootanchoru:
- First mix kootanchoru with coconut oil (or ghee) and serve with appalams.
- Next mix kootanchoru with curd and serve with vadagams & appalams.
I have tried my level best to recreate this Tirunelveli style kootanchoru as authentic as possible; please check the recipe as below:
Cooking Time : 40 min
Serves : 5
- Boiled rice (puzhungal arisi)- 1 and 1/4 cups ( 250 g)
- Green gram * (paasi paruppu)- 1/2 cup (100 g)
- Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder (manjal podi) – 1 tsp
- Asafoetida (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 & gram and soak in one liter of water until preparing vegetables & masala for this meal.
- Soak tamarind in hot water.
- Wash & cut 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 fibers or seeds, if any, from tamarind, add to 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 and saute till they release nice aroma.
- Add rice soaking water and bring them to a boil.
- Add drumstick leaves, rice & gram and salt.
- Mix all ingredients together & bring them to a boil.
- Close the pressure cooker & simmer for 10-12 min.
- Meanwhile, keep appalams & vadagams ready by deep frying vadagams in low flame followed by appalams 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 & aromatic kootanchoru is ready to serve.
- 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 aroma are cumin seeds, garlic, drumstick leaves, asafoetida & coconut oil; so adding them more (or even less) than the measurement given above makes its own impact.
- This meal is moderately spiced, add more or less red chillies according to your taste.
- I have seen people adding crushed vadagams while tempering, but my grandma didn’t.
- I have used vadagams prepared by my mother’s sister, who is an expert in making this, she uses only shallots not onions. Soon I will post a recipe for this after consulting her.