Avarakkai Kootu or South Indian Broad Beans Vegan Curry
With the ongoing Navratri festival, we are consuming only no onion and garlic meals at home, like most TamBrahms or South Indians. So, when it comes to planning no onion and garlic meals at home, my preference is our very own South Indian cuisine.
What is exactly a Kootu? It is a vegan curry or gravy that is usually eaten as a vegetarian side along with Steamed Rice and some Sambar, Mor Kozhumbu or Rasam. Kootu is a mixture of Dal or lentils and vegetables thickened with a coconut based, moderately spicy gravy which can also be had with flatbreads like rotis or parathas too. Kootu varieties are umpteen and is much preferred at our home too considering how healthy and convenient it is to make them in the morning for lunch box and healthy as it uses very less oil, just a tsp for tempering that’s all. Choice of vegetables to be added for making a Kootu are also umpteen. Cabbage, Banana Stem or Vazhathandu, Chayote Squash, Padwal or Snake Gourd etc are hit favourites at our home.
But out of all the Kootu varieties, Avarakkai Kootu or Broad Beans Curry tops the list at home. It is my husband’s eternal favourite and I make it on days when we consume no onion or garlic based gravies. Wholesome, filling and quick to make in a pressure cooker, this mixture of vegetables and moong dal with a gravy of coconut makes it such a delicious lunch or dinner choice.
Kootu plays an important role in the elaborate ellai saapadu or the full kattu meals that we South Indians eat on a banana leaf along with a side of dry vegetable or Poriyal / Thoran. Sambar, Mor Kozhumbu and Rasam are the key gravies that are served with rice and the Kootu and Poriyals or Thorans form the vegetarian side.
Consuming protein is vital and dals, for vegetarians, like us tops the list any day. South Indians consume their share of dals either as breakfast in the form of idlis and dosas or adais which is certainly protein enriched and such Kootus which is a healthy mix of dal and vegetables.
The Avarakkai Kootu just needs some 10 mins of chopping, another 15 mins of cooking in the pressure cooker along with Moong dal and some turmeric and salt. Further this is thickened and given the Kootu status and personality with the addition of coconut based moderately spicy gravy that combines coconut, jeera or cumin seeds and some red chillies. The finale to this delicious gluten free and vegan South Indian curry is the tempering in coconut oil of mustard seeds and curry leaves with some more whole red chillies for the colour and spice.
Let us check out the recipe below and have this delicious South Indian Vegetarian side dish with a steaming bowl of rice or some phulkas for lunch.
Recipe for Avarakkai Kootu or South Indian Broad Beans Vegan Curry
Prep Time – 15 mins (includes soaking and chopping time)
Cook Time – 20 mins
Serves 3 to 4 nos.
- 2 cups of Avarakkai or Broad Beans finely chopped
- ½ cup of yellow split Moong Dal
- ½ tsp of Turmeric Powder
- 4-5 whole red chillies
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Jeera or Cumin seeds
- ½ cup of grated coconut
- 1 tsp of coconut oil
- Few curry leaves
- Salt as per taste
- 1 cup Water to cook the dal and vegetable + 5 tblsp water to grind the coconut gravy
- Wash and soak the Moong dal for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Finely chop the broad beans or avarakkai and keep aside.
- Pressure cook the avarakkai together with the soaked moong dal with 1 cup of water along with turmeric powder and salt for 3 whistles.
- Grind the coconut gravy – Grated coconut + 5 tblsp water + jeera or cumin seeds and whole red chillies and keep aside.
- Once the vegetable and dal is cooked, add them to a kadhai along with the coconut gravy. Mix well, adjust the salt and the thickness and prepare the tempering.
- Heat some coconut oil, add mustard seeds.
- Once it splutters, add some curry leaves and whole red chillies.
- Pour the tempering over the simmering dal and vegetable mixture.
- Switch off the flame and serve it hot with rice or phulkas of your choice.