The 7 kari kootu is usually made on the Thiruvaadhirai festival to consume with the Thiruvaadhiraikkali, a sweet dish made with roasted and powdered rice cooked with jaggery.
Ideally the kootu will have those vegetables grown during an Indian winter, as the festival is celebrated in the Tamil calendar month of Margazhi (period mid December to mid January).
As the name suggests it shall be made with 7 different vegetables. But we usually end up adding more vegetables than the suggestion. The kootu tastes best with creeper grown veggies like ash gourd, pumpkin, broad beans, snake gourd and most importantly lima beans is added. Other than these you may add sweet potatoes, potatoes, yam, chayotes etc.
Certain vegetables like ridge gourd, bottle gourd and drumsticks are not allowed on festival cooking ( I'm not aware why, though). On other occasions you may add these to the kootu.
It is a very vegan dish which goes well with hot steamed rice. Being a kootu freak, I consume bowls of this just like that. I refrain having anything else when I cook this.
The recipe I share below serves 4 full servings.
2 cups vegetables, suitably cut or diced in big chunks.( use any of the above mentioned.You may add or reject according to your taste)
1/2 cup thuvar dhal
A big lemon size ball of tamarind
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
To be roasted in 3 teaspoons oil and ground to a coarse paste:
12 -15 long variety dry red chillis
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons channa dhal
1/4 cup fresh dessicated coconut
6 teaspoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 dry red chillis
2 green chillis slit lengthwise
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Few fresh curry leaves.
Wash and suitably string/ peel and cut vegetables into big pieces. Cook tubers separately and the vegetables separately. If you are using fresh Lima beans or green peas, you may cook them with other vegetables. If using dry beans, soak them ahead suitable for use.
Soak tamarind in water for about half an hour and extract pulp until thoroughly drained of pulp.
Pressure cook thuvar dhal very soft adding the tuemeric powder. Keep aside.
Roast the ingredients for grinding, cool and grind to a coarse paste adding water.
Take a heavy pan. Place it on high heat. Heat the oil for tempering and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the rest of the tempering. Toss until the green chillis turn slightly white.
Add the tamarind extract and salt. Bring to a boil.
Add the cooked vegetables and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes until the raw flavour of tamarind subsides.
Add the pressure cooked dhal and a few minutes later the ground paste.
Allow to boil and continue to boil for only three further minutes.
Switch off the heat. Give one thorough mix and serve hot.
At the final point adding a teaspoon of coconut oil will make it very delectable. I make this often whenever I have random mix of vegetables.
This vegan dish is off to It's a vegan world - Indian hosted this month by Erbe in cucina an event started by Vaishali of Holy Cow! Vegan recipes.