Cabbage Kootu / South Indian Vegan Cabbage Gravy

Cabbage Kootu is a South Indian Gravy or Curry with vegetables and lentils. Thickened with ground coconut paste and tempered with curry leaves, tastes best with rice and chapati as side dish.

Cabbage Kootu / South Indian Vegan Cabbage Gravy

Starting the week with a wholesome South Indian recipe with a delicious mix of vegetables and dal or lentils. Presenting, Cabbage Kootu, A South Indian Vegan Cabbage Gravy. A No Onion, No Garlic Vegetarian Main Course Recipe.

Kootu is a thick gravy vegetable with lentils, has a coconut masala base and is eaten with Sambar Rice, Mor Kuzhambu or Rasam Rice. Made regularly at home, it is an easy to put together gravy vegetable served with chapati or rice.

Cabbage Kootu great as side dish for chapati
Thick Cabbage Curry Ideal to mop with Rotis and Phulkas

Kootu can be made with a variety of vegetables. Popular varieties are Pudulangai or Snake Gourd, Yam / Suran and Mixed Vegetables that include peas, carrot, french beans etc. I have a recipe on the blog “Avarakkai Kootu” or Vegan Broad Beans Curry, made in a similar way. Do check it out.

Cabbage Kootu is an excellent lunch box recipe. Quite easy to make early morning, especially when you can prep vegetables the previous night. Best part is you just need a pressure cooker to dump the ingredients and cook, followed by a 5 minute grinding of the coconut gravy base and a quick tempering in coconut oil. The Kootu is ready to serve! Feeds a family of 2 or 12 with the same ease of preparation.

For Cabbage Kootu, however, I prefer sauteing the cabbage in a wide pan instead of pressure cooking. Overcooked Cabbage is simply off putting to the palate. We like the crunch in vegetables and hence opt for this method. Also, with this method of sauteing, one can control the overpowering smell of cooked cabbage.

Cabbage Kootu with tempering of curry leaves in coconut oil
Kootu with tempering of curry leaves in coconut oil tastes best!

How I make the Cabbage Kootu?

  • Saute the cabbage in a wide pan to ensure al dente cooking. It also helps in reducing the strong smell of cabbage.
  • Never Cover and cook cabbage. Cabbage contains a lot of water so adding a lot of water for cooking would lead to mushy cabbage.
  • I have used 2 varieties of dal or lentils (Toor Dal and Yellow Moong dal) making it more richer in taste and nutritious too.
  • Roasting the ingredients for the gravy base in coconut oil and grinding it with some water
  • Tempering with coconut oil and curry leaves is a must for a good Kootu.

This Cabbage gravy or Curry is easy to carry for lunch (stays fresh) and can be refrigerated and used the next day too. The consistency (thick to slightly runny) depends on you entirely. We prefer thick Kootu that can be easily scooped with Rotis or Phulkas for lunch. Usually, Kootu thickens the next day and the consistency can be adjusted by adding a little water.

Toor Dal and Moong Dal
Chopped Cabbage
Coconut Masala or Gravy for the Cabbage Kootu
Cabbage cooked with turmeric and salt
Cooked and Mashed lentils
Ground Coconut Paste for Gravy
Cooked Cabbage
Mixing of all ingredients for Kootu
South Indian Cabbage Kootu

Cabbage Kootu

Vidya Narayan
Cabbage Kootu is a South Indian Gravy or Curry with vegetables and lentils. Thickened with ground coconut paste and tempered with curry leaves, tastes best with rice and chapati as side dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 cup Moong Dal 1 cup is 250 ml measurement
  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal or Tur Dal, Arhar Dal
  • 4 cups Chopped Cabbage (heaped cups)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tbsp Urad Dal
  • 1 tbsp Jeera or Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Grated
  • 5-6 nos Whole Red chillies I have used Beydagi Chillies
  • 1/2 cup Water to grind + some to adjust gravy consistency as required
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1-2 nos Whole Red chillies
  • Few sprigs of curry leaves


  • Wash, finely chop cabbage and keep aside.
  • Pressure cook the dals with 1 cup of water until soft and mushy.
  • Heat a pan or Kadhai, add the finely chopped cabbage, some turmeric powder and salt to taste. Saute this on low heat until the cabbage is cooked. Add very little water to avoid burning at the bottom. DO NOT COVER AND COOK
  • Now for the gravy mixture, heat a small pan, add 1 tblsp coconut oil.
  • Add the urad dal and saute until they have browned a bit. Now add whole red chillies.
  • Now, add the grated coconut and jeera and saute until the coconut has roasted slightly.
  • Remove from heat, allow it to cool and then grind into a thick paste (by adding some water)
  • Mash the cooked dal and add it to the cooked cabbage.
  • Also add the coconut gravy with some salt to taste and mix well.
  • Allow it to simmer for couple of minutes, switch off the flame and prepare for tempering
  • Heat a small tempering pan, add oil, urad dal, mustard seeds, whole red chillies and curry leaves.
  • Once mustard crackles, pour the tempering over the cabbage kootu. Stir well and serve immediately.


  • For best and authentic South Indian taste, always use coconut oil especially for tempering. 
  • If you don’t have grated coconut handy, chop few pieces of coconut and add accordingly. 
  • Generally, Kootu is thick in nature, add water as per the desired consistency.
  • Stays fresh in refrigerator for couple of days. 
Keyword Cabbage Kootu, Cabbage Recipes, Side dish for chapati, South Indian Kootu Recipes
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @masalachilli_vidyanarayan or tag #masalachilli_vidyanarayan

Looking for some more South Indian Side Dish Recipes for Chapati? Try our Avial {Kerala Mixed Vegetables}, Chettinad Mixed Vegetable Curry and Pineapple Pachadi.

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Vidya Narayan

Views: 4617

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nithya

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe yesterday. This is the first time we are tasting kootu. It tastes good and my family loved it it. The detailed recipe is easy to follow. All clear instructions.

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you for your valuable feedback Nithya and glad your family enjoyed the Kootu recipe. Means a lot. Have a great day!

  2. Swati

    Very interesting recipe of cabbage with dals. With coconut, curry leaves it ,ust be so rich in flavours!!
    We make cabbage stir fry or with peas and potatoes.. This one sounds a very comforting meal with fresh hot chapatis or rice ..

    1. Vidya Narayan

      Thank you so much, it does go well with both rice and roti. Also, no need to make any sookhi sabzi when such curries are on the menu.

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