Tuesday, October 15, 2013

KootanChooru...A Tirunelveli Special One pot meal...

This is the dish which I had been waiting for to make.My Husband HH keeps recalling  the taste of this dish which he had tasted at his neighbour's house in Tirunelveli.Since my marriage I had been searching for an authentic Kootanchooru recipe.The one I had posted is the traditional recipe of Tirunelveli.I should say the taste is just unexplainable...
I got the recipe from one of my friend who is also a food blogger Asiya Omar
I just gave a try and the dish tasted too good.Thank u Asiya for sharing the recipe..
After relocating to Tuticorin one of my friend who is a native of Kovilpatti introduced this tasty authentic dish to me.One  of her aunt makes yummy Kootanchooru..It tastes very good even when it is not hot...but unfortunately I could not get the recipe from her :)
This dish is a perfect and healthy combination of lentils,greens,vegetables and rice.
A quick brief about how this dish got its name...
In earlier days kids used to play Seppu at the backyards..Kids play a realistic drama by bringing in real ingredients and cook a meal...Like one kid brings rice,other lentils,some other vegetables,some greens etc..They mix them in a pot add water make it to cook and make a meal.Then they share them with all the friends..This builds the teambuilding,cooperation,sharing concepts with the kids..But now with the advent of computers and video games and changing family structure to nuclear family this type of playing is not found in Big cities..Still it prevails in small villages ...
This is a step that makes the kids to learn cooking too!!
Make this healthy one pot meal and share this authentic,traditional dish of Tirunelveli with your kids...
For the recipe click read more below:

Recipe Source:Asiya Omar
200gms of Par Boiled Rice
50 gms of Thoor Dhal/Thuvar Dhal
1/4 kg of mixed vegetables(I used brinjal,drumstick,Raw banana,carrot,potato)
                                   (Usually they add only country vegetables for this dish)
1 Cup of drumstick leaves/Arai keerai/any greens
1/2 Tsp of Turmeric powder
Tamarind of small lemon size
Salt to taste
To grind(raw)
2 Tbsp of freshly grated  coconut
1 Tsp of Jeera/Cumin seeds
4-6 nos of Dry red chillies.If u want it more hot then add 1 more extra
10 nos of shallots/Small onions
To Temper:
2 Tbsp of gingelly oil
1 Tsp of Mustard seeds
1 Tsp of whole Urad dhal
1 Tbsp of Talippu Vadam(Optional)
1/4 Tsp of Hing/Asafoetida
Few curry leaves

  • The traditional dish calls for country vegetables only.But I used
Drum stick- 1 no.;Brinjals-2 Nos;Potato-1 medium sized; carrot-2 nos;Raw Banana/Plantain- 1/2 )U can change the vegetables according to ur choice.
  • U can use any type of green leaves but drumstick leaves impart a special taste to the dish.


Wash the rice and dhal mixture.Soak them atleast for half an hour.More the soaking time less the cooking time.
Soak the tamarind with about 10 Tbsp of water.After it gets soaked make a thick tamarind water out of it.
Keep them aside.

Grind the items mentioned in "To grind".Grind them raw.As I reduced the amount of rice I reduced the number of chillies too..But u use 4-6 chillies for 200gms of rice.
Add little water to the mixture and grind them into a nice smooth paste.

Chop the vegetables and keep them aside.Wash the drumstick leaves and keep them aside.
Heat a pressure cooker..
Add the rice and dhal mixture.Add about 4 cups of water(for 1 cup of rice-4 cups of water) and allow it to cook.
Cook the mixture till it is half cooked.
Cook them in a open pan in low flame.
After the rice n dhal mixture gets half cooked keep it aside.

Simultaneously when u cook the rice n dhal mixture,Heat up another pan with a tsp of oil.
To it add the vegetables and saute it well.
Add turmeric powder and saute it well.

Then add the drumstick leaves and saute it.
To it add tamarind water and mix well.

Close the pan with a lid and cook it till the veggies gets cooked.
Then to the pan add the grinded mixture of red chillies,cumin seeds,coconut and onions.
Mix them well.Add little salt(salt for the veggie mixture alone)

Cook it till the raw smell goes.
Add the cooked veggie mixture to the half cooked rice.
Mix well.Add salt for the rice mixture(Check for salt as u had added salt already for the veggies mixture)
Then add 2 cups of water and mix well.

Then heat the pressure cooker.
Add the whistle and cook the mixture in low flame for 5 -7 minutes or for one whistle

Then open the pressure cooker after the steam subsides.Even if little water remains in the bottom no problem.The mixture will turn thick on cooling.If u don't want the water then U can cook it in open pan for 2-3 minutes in low flame.

Switch off the flame and keep the dish aside.

Heat a tempering pan.Add 1 -2 Tbsp of oil.
Add mustard seeds and leave it to splutter.
Then add whole urad dhal .

Then add thalipu Vadagam which imparts a nice aroma for the dish.If u don't have don't worry ..Skip off this.
Add Curry leaves and Hing/Asafoetida.

Add it to the rice and give a quick stir.
Serve it with papad or with Vengaya Vadagam.

While eating u can add  ghee on the rice !!

  • More the soaking time of the rice-Dhal mixture less the cooking time
  • If the dish is had after 1 hour the taste gets increased..
  • Try to use some country vegetables and drum stick leaves.
  • As par boiled rice takes time to cook the dish tastes very yummy as the cooking time is more.So use only par boiled rice.
  • If u want the dish to be more mushy then add 1/2 a cup of water more.
  • Thalippu Vadam is available in all leading stores.I got it from Spencers....