Zucchini Kootu is a south Indian style semi-solid gravy prepared using Zucchini, yellow moong dal, spices and fresh coconut paste and served with rice.
What is Zucchini Kootu?
Kootu is a traditional semi-solid gravy or dal recipe prepared using lentil, vegetable and coconut masala paste. It is a staple food in the state of Tamil Nadu and a few regions of Kerala in India.
It is a very simple yet flavorful curry prepared in a few simple steps. There are many variations available but all of them mostly include the dal and any vegetable. I used yellow moong dal and zucchini for today’s recipe, prepared using a pressure cooker which makes the cooking easy and quick.
It is not only vegan but also prepared without onion and garlic. You definitely love this no onion and no garlic zucchini kootu recipe.
Recipe Ingredients & Variations
The main ingredients are dal, vegetables and coconut for making this zucchini kootu.
I used yellow moong dal. I always soak yellow moong dal for 30 minutes. I prefer cooking this kootu in a pressure cooker which makes the job easier. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then it can be cooked in an open pot too which takes a little extra time and water. I usually remove the scum that forms on top of the dal before adding the vegetable.
All types of squash based vegetables can be used for making kootu. I used zucchini squash, also known as seemai suraikkai in tamil. Courgette, Baby marrow and Summer Squash are the other names of it.
Fresh coconut works well for any kootu recipe. however, if you don’t have it, it can be replaced with frozen. Make sure to thaw it well before grinding.
There are many variations available for kootu recipes, it depends on the vegetable and the lentil.
Check out my other Kootu recipes.
Few make kootu with onion and tomato, few make it with toor dal while some use kootu masala. Instead of green chilli, dry red chillies can be used. Some people use a tsp of rice flour while grinding coconut for thickening. Kootu can be prepared without coconut too. Refer cabbage dal and watermelon rind dal recipe for making kootu-style dal.
Easy Zucchini Kootu
- 1/4 cup yellow moongdal / split moongdal
- 1 cup zucchini heaped & chopped
- 1 and 3/4 cup water adjust as needed
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1/4 cup coconut fresh & grated
- 3 greenchillies adjust to taste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp urad dal
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- a pinch asafoetida
- 2 dry red chillies broken
- 1 sprig curryleaves roughly torn
- Soak yellow moong dal in a cup of water. you can wash the dal in running water before or after the soaking. after 30 minutes, drain the water.
- Add the soaked yellow moong dal to a pressure cooker. add a cup of water.
- Switch on the flame. While the da heating up, white scum forms on top of the dal. Using a ladle, remove the scum alone carefully without the dal.
- After removing the scum, add the chopped zucchini. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
- Mix well, cover the pressure cooker and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Allow the pressure to release automatically and open the lid.
- Meanwhile, grind coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds by adding 1/4 cup water.
- Add the coconut paste to the cooked zucchini dal mixture. Rinse the mixie jar using 3/4 cup water and add it to the pressure cooker. Adjust the water as per the consistency you need. the kootu becomes thick once cooled down. so, keep this in mind while adding water.
- Mix well and boil once. Do not boil more.
- Heat coconut oil in a seasoning pan, splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, asafoetida, dry red chillies, and curry leaves.
- Allow the seasoning to fry and let it be aromatic.
- Add this seasoning to the kootu. Mix once & serve warm with rice.
- Do not pressure cook more than 3 whistles and do not boil the kootu for a long time. otherwise, zucchini becomes mushy.
- Use coconut oil for a very good flavor.
- Adjust the water as per the need.
Step By Step Instructions-How to make Zucchini Kootu
1. Step by step Instructions on how to make zucchini koou starts by soaking the yellow moong dal in a cup of water. Wash the dal in running water before or after the soaking. After 30 minutes, drain the water. Add the soaked yellow moong dal to a clean and small pressure cooker. Add a cup of water
2. Switch on the flame. While the dal is heating up, white scum forms on top of the dal. Using a ladle, remove the scum alone carefully without the dal.
3. After removing the scum, add the chopped zucchini. I chopped zucchini into 1/2-inch small pieces without removing the skin. It is time to add turmeric powder now.
4. Mix well, cover the pressure cooker and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Allow the pressure to release automatically.
5. While the pressure from the pressure cooker subsides, Let us prepare the coconut paste or coconut masala. Grind coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds by adding 1/4 cup water. It should be a smooth paste.
6. Open the pressure cooker lid, and slightly mix the dal using a ladle. Add the coconut paste to the cooked zucchini dal mixture. Rinse the mixie jar using 3/4 cup water and add it to the pressure cooker. Adjust the water as per the consistency you need. The kootu becomes thick once cooled down. So, keep this in mind while adding water.
7. Add salt to taste, mix well and boil once. Do not boil more.
8. Heat coconut oil in a seasoning pan and when it is hot, add the following ingredients one by one by keeping the flame medium. The ingredients are mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, asafoetida, dry red chillies and curry leaves.
9. The mustard seeds splutter, urad turns brown, dry red chillies and curry leaves become crisp and release nice aroma. Immediately turn off the flame.
10. To avoid the ingredients spluttering on us, you can partially cover the seasoning pan with a lid.
11. Add this seasoning immediately to the kootu. Mix it using a ladle.
12. Serve hot or warm. If you want to serve it later, cover it using a lid so that the aroma of seasoning is retained for long hours.
Storage & Serving Suggestions
The Kootu tastes best when it is consumed on the same day of preparation. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of one day. Reheat the kootu using the microwave for a few minutes until it gets warm.
For the stovetop method, use the double boil method or reheat on a low flame to get the best results. As we used coconut in this recipe, reheating in high flames results in a paste like gravy.
Kootu typically served with Steamed Rice. A pairs well as a side dish with other tamarind-based gravies called as puli kulambu in tamil.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Do not cook more than the mentioned time and do not over boil it. Otherwise, the zucchini becomes mushy.
- If you don’t have time to soak moong dal, you can still use it in this recipe, just add the zucchini after it is half cooked.
- All Zucchini varieties can be used in this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use Instant Pot instead of stove top Pressure cooker?
yes. you can very well use the instant pot. Pressure cook it in HIGH mode for 5 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally. The instant pot cooking time vary depending on the dal quality.
Can I use Yellow Zucchini instead of green zucchini?
yes. you can replace green zucchini with yellow zucchini
Can I make this recipe without coconut?
Coconut is a must in Kootu. however, if you want to skip it for various reasons including the unavailability of coconut or health reasons, then you may consider referring cabbage dal recipe. Simply replace the cabbage with zucchini. Rest all procedure are same.
If you have tried this recipe or have any questions, don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear your feedback and glad to answer your queries. You can also Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube for other updates from my kitchen about Office Lunchbox, Kid’s Lunchbox and simple meal plate ideas.