Kootu is a very fragrant Lentils and pumpkin stew made with yellow moong beans and coconut and cumin seeds. Ash gourd or white pumpkin is called Poosanikai in southern part of India and is a delicious vegetable and is loved and added during the summer months. Its water content is high thus making it a perfect low carb recipes and is said to flush out toxins from our body.
Kootu is generally very warm and gentle in the belly so I love it on days when I don’t feel like having anything too spicy or heavy with oils. This is cooked with coconut and cumin and feels like a healing meal to gut every time I have it. This recipe is so versatile you can replace ash gourd with any vegetable of your choice.
Check out the step by step pictures below to make this delicious white pumpkin kootu or vellai Poosanikai Kootu or ash gourd kootu in a very simple method.
- 1/4 cup split moong beans (washed and soaked)
- 250 gms white pumpkin
- 1-2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1/4 cup Coconut (dry or fresh)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 no. red chilli
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 green chilli (optional)
- 1/2 medium size onion (finely chopped)
- 2 small size Tomatoes
- Wash and chop the white pumpkin into cubes and remove the seeds and set aside.
- In a pressure cooker, add the pumpkin, soaked moong beans, turmeric and little salt and 1 and half cup of water and pressure cook up to 2 whistles. (read notes)
- In a blender, add coconut, cumin seeds, red chilli and blend it with a little bit of water and blend to a smooth paste and set aside.
- Once the pressure is released from the pressure cooker, open the lid off the pressure cooker and check if the pumpkin and lentil are cooked through. Mix it well.
- Turn the flame back on once again and add the ground coconut cumin paste, salt to taste and stir well. Continue to cook for 5 mins on low to medium flame until all flavors come together and the whole mixture stars to bubble together.
- In a separate pan, add coconut oil, once hot add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle, once it does, reduce the flame to a low and add the finely chopped onions, green chilli and sauté until the onions and soft. Next add in the tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes are soft.
- Now transfer the onion, tomato mixture to the cooking pumpkin and lentil stew (kootu) and mix well. And turn off the flame.
- Transfer to a. Serving dish, drizzle a bit of coconut oil for enhanced flavor.
- Serve hot with rice.
- Alternatively you can cook the lentils separately in a pot with 2 cups of water and cook it to a smooth gravy consistency and the pumpkin in a separate pot with water and little salt till fork runs through it and then mix the lentil and pumpkin together. I suggest to cook the lentils and pumpkin separately as the cooking times for the two are different.
- If you can’t find red chillies, you can add green chilli to the coconut mixture while grinding.
- This tastes great without adding the ground coconut paste too.