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Cabbage Kootu / Cabbage Vegetable Lentil Coconut Stew

Simple easy Cabbage kootu, a traditional Tamil recipe of cabbage stew with cooked arhar dal / pigeon pea lentils and a coconut cumin chili paste, enhanced with winter vegetables and a touch of ginger. Tempered with mustard seeds and cumin in coconut oil.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish, soups stews
Cuisine: Indian, south indian, Tamilian
Keyword: Cabbage, Kootu, Vegetable Stew
Servings: 4 serving
Author: Sujata Shukla


For the Cabbage Kootu

  • 2 cups cabbage chopped small
  • ¼ cup broccoli chopped small
  • ¼ cup green capsicum/ coloured peppers chopped small
  • ¼ cup potato diced 1" slices
  • ¼ cup pigeon pea lentils/ arhar dal / towaram paruppu
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder for the lentils
  • ¼ cup Peas shelled
  • ¼ cup tomato sliced
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • teaspoon salt or to taste

For the Coconut spice paste:

  • 1 cm ginger sliced
  • 1 green chili sliced
  • 2 curry leaves
  • ¼ cup coconut grated
  • ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Peppercorns

For tempering:

  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp Mustard seeds rai/ kadugu
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seeds /jeera/ jeeragam
  • a pinch Fenugreek seeds / methi/ menthiyam
  • 1 dry red chili
  • a few curry leaves

For Garnish:

  • a sprig coriander minced


Prepare the vegetables and lentils

  • Pressure cook the potato, peel and dice into cubes about an inch in length. Pressure cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric, till soft. I usually place the potatoes in the cooker with the dal, in a separate bowl.
  • Wash the cabbage, broccoli, tomato and capsicum well. Chop the cabbage into very small pieces and dice the other vegetables into small pieces to a uniform size so that they cook quickly. Only the potatoes will be kept at a larger size. Soak the peas in a cup of water till ready to use.

To Make Coconut Spice Paste

  • Grind the grated coconut, sliced green chili, cumin seeds, peeled sliced ginger, pepper corns and just 2 curry leaves with enough water to make a smooth thick paste. The coconut should be ground well.

To Make the Cabbage Kootu

  • Boil the cabbage and peas in a pan with water just covering the surface, and a pinch of turmeric, just sufficient to cook the cabbage, till almost done.
  • Add the cooked diced potatoes, capsicum, tomato and broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes
  • Mix the cooked paruppu/ dal/ lentils and coconut paste together and whisk/mash till the dhal combines nicely with the paste. Add the mixture to the pan of vegetables. Add salt, cook for another 5 minutes. Keep the Kootu a little fluid, not thick and dry.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle, add fenugreek / methi seeds. Add cumin seeds. Add one dry red chili. Turn the chili over so that both sides are fried. Add curry leaves and immediately pour the tempering on the prepared cabbage kootu. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with chapatis. Goes well with rice and  rasam or vathalkuzhambu (spicy tamarind soup)