Kootu is a type of dish made in South India which traditionally uses ground coconut paste. This differentiates it from Sambhar or Rasam. Puli Kootu is a variation of this preparation where tamarind is used as the stock base and it gives the dish a tangy flavour. I decided not to use coconut and try this as a veggie-filled side dish. Later I realized that this stew pairs well with rice too! The secret to nailing this dish would be in the ground spices which impart the salty-spicy balance to the dish. Try making it as it has minimal oil usage and has the wholesome nutrition of lentils that you will love!
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Ingredients for cooking:
- 1 1/2 cup beans, cut into medium length sticks
- 1 cup carrot, cut into medium length sticks
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 small ball size of tamarind
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- Salt to taste
Ingredients for grinding:
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 tsp chana dal
- 3 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp urad dal
- 2 red chillies
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- Some coriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp ghee (optional)
- Soak the tamarind in a small bowl of warm water for 10 mins. Then extract the juice and keep it aside and discard the seeds.
- Take toor dal in a vessel and rinse it 2-3 times. Then add 1 cup of water to it along with salt and turmeric and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Mash this dal and set it aside.
- Now take a pan, add in the chopped beans and carrots along with a bit of salt and water and cook it with a lid on low flame. This will take around 10 mins.
- While the veggies are getting cooked, heat a small pan for frying the grinding ingredients. Add ghee/oil and add peppercorns to it. Once the peppercorns sputter, take them out into the mixer jar. Now in the same pan, add all the other grinding ingredients and roast them till the dals turn golden brown and then switch off the flame. Transfer these ingredients into the mixer jar and wait for these ingredients to cool down a bit.
- Add cumin seeds into the mixer jar and grind all the ingredients together. The paste should be nice and smooth.
- After the veggies have semi-cooked, add the tamarind juice to it so that the veggies absorb the flavour of tamarind.
- Next, add the ground spice mixture to the stew and mix well.
- After the veggies are fully cooked, add the mashed toor dal into the mixture along with a cup of water and let it cook in medium flame. Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame.
- In a small pan, take mustard seeds and peanuts and roast them together as this will act as seasoning.
- Add the seasoning into the boiling stew and mix it well. Finally garnish with coriander. The kootu/stew is ready to serve with rice or rotis.
- If you don’t like large pieces of peanut, toast them separately and then break them up in a mortar and pestle / grinder.
- Don’t overcook the vegetables. Cut them into the same size so that they cook evenly
- The lentils and the tamarind should balance each other. If you like a more tangy dish, feel free to add a little more tamarind.