Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


According to my mom, when guests visit your home, you must provide them with a proper meal, which at the minimum consists of the following:

  1. Sambar
  2. Rasam
  3. Dry curry
  4. Kootu (wet curry)
  5. Yoghurt

I have fallen short of basic courtesy on several occasions because I have never made kootu. That is before today, of course.

Kootu (the recipe I was given)
Moong dhaal – 1/4 cup
Vegetables (can be made with any of 1/2 cabbage, 3 zucchinis, 2-3 Bangalore Katrikkai, or a combination of 1/4 cabbage, 1 carrot, a bunch of beans, 1/4 cup of peas)
(Garnish fried in oil) 1/2 tsp urad dhaal 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

Boil moong dhaal in 1 1/2 cups of water. Add some turmeric powder. When the dhaal is about half way cooked, add the vegetables and in medium heat, cook until vegetables are tender to touch. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of kootu powder. Season with mustard seeds and urad dhaal. Add curry leaves. Enjoy!
Kootu powder: Roast 1 tablespoon of urad dhaal and 2-3 red chillies in a few drops of oil, until the dhaal turns golden brown. After it cools a bit, add 1 tablespoon of grated (fresh) coconut, 1 tsp cumin, and grind them together, either as a paste or a dry powder.

Kootu (what actually happened)
So i had a whole cabbage that I wanted to use, and I didn’t quite have 1/2 cup of moong dhaal to double the recipe, but I went with it and added a carrot for good measure. When it didn’t fit in my largest cooking pot, I started to get worried. Thankfully, the cabbage reduced in the water, but it still didn’t look right. The tablespoons of kootu powder came to the rescue, and I actually had what looked and tasted like kootu. Well, maybe I could have chopped the cabbage finer.


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