Kootukari recipe for Onam

Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown channa, washed and soaked overnight
  • ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 whole coconut, grated, about 2 cups
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 + 1 red chillies
  • 3 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 +2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes, soaked in water to avoid discoloration
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar / jaggery
  • 1 ½ + 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 cups + ½ cup + ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste

In a pressure pan, add the soaked channa along with 3 cups of water, ¼ tsp turmeric powder and salt and pressure cook on high flame for 7 whistles*

In a kadai, cook the green plantains along with ½ cup of water, ¼ tsp turmeric powder and salt for about 5 minutes, until the plantains are cooked. Set aside.

Grind the grated coconut along with the cumin seeds, 4 red chillies, pepper powder and 1 sprig of curry leaves to a coarse mixture using the Slo Grind dial in the mixer grinder**. Set aside half of this coarse mixture. To the remaining half, add ¼ cup of water and grind it to the fine paste using the High speed dial.

To the cooked channa along with about 1 cup of its cooking water, add the cooked plantains and the finely ground paste along with salt and bring it to a boil. Simmer covered for 5 minutes. Add the palm sugar / jaggery and mix well.

While the above mixture is simmering, heat a pan and add 1 ½ tbsp of coconut oil. To this add the coarse coconut mixture and sauté on medium flame until the mixture caramelises evenly and becomes very fragrant. Toss this into the simmering channa and plantains and mix well.

In a frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of coconut oil and temper the mustard seeds along with the remaining red chilli and curry leaves. Pour this over the simmering kootukari and stir gently.

The Kootukari from Shalini’s kitchen involves the usual suspects but the caramelised coconut intensifies the flavours and makes this dish stand out from the rest of the spread during sadya. This recipe uses brown channa along with green plantains. Yam can also be used instead of the green plantains, alternately.

*Use the Elgi Ultra Endura+ pressure pan
**Use the Slo Grind dial in the Elgi Ultra Duramix 750p

Shalini Sivakumar meticulously prepares an Onam sadya every year for her family following the culinary traditions of the Palakkad district in Kerala as her family and her husband’s family originally hail from there. The Kootukari is a family-favourite which is made frequently in her kitchen and it also takes centre-stage during the sadya lunch.

Shalini now lives in Coimbatore but has lived many years in the Middle East owing to her husband’s work. She continued to cook the traditional food of Kerala through those years and her cooking style has remained authentic. Her Mutton stew and Egg stew are her daughter’s favourite and are usually mopped up with Appams. Her Mambazham Puliserry with ripe mangoes during the mango season is also in great demand among her family members.

Shalini enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. While she is not busy, she loves watching movies in theaters with friends and family. She also loves to travel and visit new places.

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