Mung dal has that immediate effect of making you feel good – supported, nourished, loved. Because of this quality – Miso Soup has it as well – dishes with Mung dal have become our go-to recipes after late nights and missed sleep, when work is far too busy and when there is disruption in our lives. Often it is a simple Mung Soup or Mung Dal, or Kitchari, all made in under 30 minutes, but today we make Poritha Kootu.
Kootu (Koottu, Kothsu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and is any vegetable combination with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices (but usually without sambar powder). Occasionally Toor Dal is used. Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes black pepper is used, but it seems fenugreek is never used. Kootu is a thicker dish than Sambar or Kuzhambu. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker.
Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, uses red chillies in the paste. As usual, her recipe takes some unpicking as it a little maze-like. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel some of her recipes in Vol 1 of Cook and See. I feel like a sleuth as I work my way through her complex instructions.
Recipes for Kootu vary from region to region, town to town, household to household. Some places define Poritha Kootu by the inclusion of pepper and urad dal in its seasoning, which makes it a variation of Kootu. This is at odds with the way Meenakshi Ammal makes Poritha Kootu – her recipe does not include pepper.
I have used zucchini with other vegetables in this dish – zucchini is still a slightly exotic vegetable in India where it was only recently introduced. I have paired it with potatoes and drumstick. It’s kinda special, as the zucchini and drumsticks are home grown.
Similar recipes include Poritha Kootu with Coconut Chilli Paste and Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind.
Or perhaps you prefer Mung Dal recipes. We recommend Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Gentle Mung Soup, and Mung Soup with Amaranth Greens.
You can find all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.
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