March 25, 2018

Poricha Kootu / Kuzhambu

How to make Poricha Kootu / Kuzhambu

                 Kootu is a typical Tamilian side dish. This is a medium thick stew made with dal, vegetables, and a coconut based spice mix. This version is called "Poricha Kootu and it's one of the many healthy dishes from the South Indian cuisine. There is another version of this which is made with lots of garlic, ideal for lactating moms. Be sure to check the notes on the bottom for other variations of this dish. Serve it with rice, a side of pickle and papad. This being my mom's recipe, that I had written down a long time ago comes from my recipe diary for this  CCC# 54: Mar Week 4.


Ash Gourd/Vellai Poosani, peeled & cubed - 250 gms
Onion, chopped - 1 (Optional)
Tomatoes, diced - 2 no:s
Toor dal - 1 cup (cooked soft)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 Tbsp
A sprig of curry leaves
Half a lemon's juice (optional)

For the masala:

Roast and grind the following into a fine paste.
Oil - 1 tbsp
Dry red chilies - 2 no:s
Urad dal - 1 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 Tbsp
Coconut  pieces or grated - 1 cup

Stovetop method:

  • Pressure cook the Toor dal until soft with 2 cups water and a few drops of oil and set aside.
  • Heat a pan over low-medium heat and add all the ingredients listed in the masala group except the coconut and saute until golden crisp and fragrant. Finally, add the coconut & saute for a few mins. Let cool, add a little water and grind into a fine paste.

  • Heat a larger pan with a tsp of oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and saute until golden brown. Add chopped onions to the pan and saute for a while. Add the tomatoes, ash gourd, salt, turmeric powder and water; cover & cook until the ash gourd is soft. Add the ground masala paste, cooked Toor dal and let boil for two minutes and remove from heat.

  • Optionally, you can squeeze half a lemon into it after the Kootu has cooled down a bit. 
  • Serve hot with steamed rice and your favorite sides.


  • You can use a mixture of Toor dal & yellow moong dal for variety.
  • A variation of this kuzhambu is made with lots of garlic, ideal for lactating moms.
  • The ash gourd can be substituted with any country vegetables like brinjal, chow-chow, pumpkin, bitter gourd, snake gourd, drumstick, broad beans or a combination of veggies.
  • By diluting the recipe to have lesser vegetables & more gravy you can achieve the Kuzhambu consistency. 
  • Vengaya vadakam can be fried and added at the end for an aromatic finish.

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