Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nellai Special Kootanchooru | Kootanchooru Recipe | Mixed Vegetable Curry Rice from Tirunelveli | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

 Kootanchooru Recipe

Hi Supermoms,

'Kootu' means 'to mix or to join' in Tamil. 'Chooru' means rice. A tangy mixture of various vegetables, lentils and rice that is cooked together is called 'Kootanchooru'. This dish is native to the Tirunelveli District ( Nellai) of Tamil Nadu , India. It is considered a picnic food as it is easy to prepare , carry and also tastes great even when eaten cold. 

The Kootanchooru might remind you of the Bisi Bele Bath of Karnataka as they look similar. While the bisibelebath is cooked (traditionally) without vegetables, the Kootanchooru has plenty of vegetables.Also, the spices used for both are completely different.  The main speciality of this dish is that all garden fresh (local and seasonal) vegetables are used.  Even better, the vegetables from one's own garden adds to the deliciousness of the Kootanchooru. 

Par boiled rice and lentils are cooked/simmered along with the vegetables for great tasting Kootanchooru. In short, a one pot healthy dish. They are served in banana leaves and vadams/appalams are perfect accompaniment. 

 Kootanchooru Recipe

Nellai Special Kootanchooru :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 45 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Important Note : Vegetables that you can use for this dish are :

Brinjal/Eggplant ( smaller variety , halved)
Yellow pumpkin ( de-seeded, peeled and cubed)
white pumpkin ( de-seeded, peeled and cubed)
Raw Banana/plantain ( peeled and cubed)
drumstick (cut into 2 inch pieces, use tender ones )
drumstick leaves ( if available)
cluster beans OR Lima beans  ( cut into 2 inch pieces)
tomatoes ( the local variety, optional)
raw mango ( cubed with skin , optional)
15 shallots / sambar onions ( peeled)

Ingredients :

1 cup par boiled rice/puzhungal arisi ( I used Sona Masoori par boiled rice)
1/4 cup pigeon peas/tuvar dal 
2 cups mixed vegetables ( chopped)
medium gooseberry size tamarind ( soak in warm water and extract the juice) 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
rock salt to taste 

For the Masala ( grind raw):

10 shallots/sambar onion
1-2 green chillies ( adjust according to the heat of the chillies) 
6-7 dry red chillies ( I used Salem gundu milagai variety)
1/4 cup fresh coconut ( finely chopped)
4-5 garlic pods  ( peeled)

For tempering :

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (OR you can use thalippu vadam for added taste) 
10 shallots /sambar onions ( finely chopped) 
pinch of asafoetida 
1 sprig curry leaves ( roughly torn)

Method :

1. Wash rice and dal and soak it in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes.
2. Grind the masala and set it aside.
3. Heat an earthen pot or heavy bottom vessel/ pressure cooker with oil.
4. Add all the vegetables, turmeric powder, salt and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
5. Add the extracted tamarind juice , and the ground masala.

6. Add the soaked rice and dal along with the water.
7. Partially cover and cook the mixture till the rice and dal are completely cooked and soft.
Chef tip: You can pressure cook upto 2 whistles and switch off. But , avoid drumstick if you are pressure cooking. 
8. Heat a pan with oil and temper with ingredients given under 'For tempering '.
9. Pour it over the rice and mix well.

I always add a teaspoon of hot ghee to the rice, it adds great flavour . If you are vegan, you can skip this step .

Your wholesome and delicious Kootanchooru is ready !!

Nellai Special Kootanchooru |

Happy Cooking !

With love,


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