Kootu ( A gravy of mildly spiced vegetables and lentils ) is an essential part of the South Indian cooking. It is quite common for people in South India to make a dry curry dish called poriyal , as well as a kootu which is a mixture of boiled lentils with one or more varieties of chopped vegetables. Coconut may or may not be added to kootu, but of course adding ground coconut paste only elevates the taste to a delicious plane.
Once in a while we do add coconut to our kootu, which we call a one pot meal as it can easily prepared in a small pressure pan or cooker by adding all vegetables, lentil and required spices and cooked for 2 whistles. A simple tempering will round off the dish which makes a complete meal when mixed with rice.
Several vegetables make good tasty nutritious kootu such beans, carrots, snakegourds, bittergourds, pumpkins, cluster beans, raw plantains etc.
In this recipe for making simple kootu powder , I have made the step easier as it is just enough to afd the required quantity of the kootu powder to the chopped vegetables and boiled lentils at the time of cooking which reduces the step of freshly roasting and grinding the required qty of powder everytime you make kootu, besides we need jut 2 -3 tbsp of the powder everytime we make it and it is cumbersome to powder very small quantities.
Another advatage of this powder is we can make kootu without depending on the mixie to grind, just add the powder and , to make it more delicious add 2 tbsp of coconut milk powder which gives the same taste of freshly grated ground coconut paste.
3 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black pepper
4 tb sp udad dal split or whole
2 tbsp chana dal ( bengal gram)
2 tbsp tor dal ( pigeon peas)
4 red chillies
A generous pinch of asafoetida crystal or powder.
Dry roast all ingredients till aromatic, then blend to a fine powder.
Store in a cool air tight bottle and use when ever required. Add a pinch of turmeric powder to the kootu while preparing or add 1 tbsp turmeric powder to the mix prepared above.