Kootanchoru is a traditional one-pot meal prepared for lunch by my maternal grandmother at our family gatherings especially in the summer vacation every year. She used to prepare this flavorful rice dish with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, drumstick leaves, raw banana, raw mango, jackfruit seeds, etc. and she served us kootan-choru with home-made fried appalam & vadagam. The main attraction for kids in this meal are the nutty jackfruit seeds & the mango seed encapsulated by tangy fleshy mango. I still remember the mixed flavors of vegetables, spices and deep-fried vengaya vadagam emanating from her kitchen when we all played in the courtyard.
Health Benefits: Kootanchoru is prepared with rice, lentils, vegetables & spices and is a complete meal with necessary carbs, protein, vitamins & minerals.
How to serve Kootanchoru: Kootanchoru is usually served in two portions as shown below.
- For the first portion we pour coconut oil (or ghee) over warm kootanchoru and this can be relished with deep fried appalam.
- For the next portion we add curd into kootanchoru and enjoy with vadagam & appalam.
Here is an authentic Tirunelveli style kootanchoru recipe :
Cooking Time : 40 min
Serves : 5
- Boiled rice (puzhungal arisi)- 1 and 1/4 cups ( 250 g)
- Green gram * (paasi paruppu)- 1/2 cup (100 g)
- Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder (manjal podi) – 1 tsp
- Asafoetida (hing/ perungaya podi) – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Water – 1000 ml
- Drumstick (murungai) – 1 No.
- Raw mango (maangai) – 1/2
- Potato – 1 No.
- Carrot – 1 No (large)
- Beans – 5 Nos.
- Broadbeans (avarai)- 5 Nos.
- Red pumpkins (manjal poosani) – 10 cubes
- Eggplants (brinjal/ kathrikai) – 5 Nos
- Jack fruit seeds (pala kottai)- 10 Nos.
- Drumstick leaves (murungai ilai) – a handful
- Red Chillies (milagai vatral) – 14 Nos
- Garlic (poondu) – 4 pods
- Cumin seeds (jeeragam) – 1 tsp
- Tamarind (puli) – Please refer the image below
For Tempering :
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Mise en Place:
- Wash rice & gram and soak in one liter of water until preparing vegetables & masala for this meal.
- Soak tamarind in hot water.
- Wash & cut all vegetables as shown in the picture above.
- In a mixer-grinder jar add red chillies, cumins & garlic and grind into a coarse powder.
- Remove fibers or seeds, if any, from tamarind, add to red chillies mixture and grind into a fine paste.
- Heat a heavy bottom pressure cooker with oil, add all vegetables, turmeric powder, red chillies paste & asafoetida and saute till they release nice aroma.
- Add rice soaking water and bring them to a boil.
- Add drumstick leaves, rice & gram and salt.
- Mix all ingredients together & bring them to a boil.
- Close the pressure cooker & simmer for 10-12 min.
- Meanwhile, keep appalams & vadagams ready by deep frying vadagams in low flame followed by appalams in medium flame.
- Also heat a small pan with oil for tempering, add mustards, when spluttered add curry leaves & keep aside.
- When pressure is released from cooker, mix rice & vegetables gently with a wooden spatula.
- Garnish with tempering & aromatic kootanchoru is ready to serve.
- I have made 2 changes in my grandma’s recipe: * Replaced red gram (thuvaram paruppu) with green gram and omitted raw banana (vazhaikai) as both cause flatulence.
- Ingredients responsible for koontanchoru’s aroma are cumin seeds, garlic, drumstick leaves, asafoetida & coconut oil; so adding them more (or even less) than the measurement given above makes its own impact.
- This is a moderately spiced rice, you can adjust the no. of red chillies according to your palate.
- I have seen people adding crushed vadagams while tempering, but my grandma didn’t.
- I have used vadagam prepared by my mother’s sister, she is an expert in making vadagam and she always uses shallots not onions.