Kootanchoru Recipe

This is an absolutely yummy traditional food from my home town Tirunelveli and one of my most favourite dishes. I guess this is also prepared in some of the villages of Tamilnadu. This dish brings back many evergreen memories to me as this is our family’s favourite picnic lunch. Nothing can satisfy your hunger like this after bathing for hours in a river or a waterfall. People who have experienced that great feeling would agree with me 🙂

Made with rice, dal, vegetables, spinach and spices, this is a complete and a healthy food. This is also a best way to use the leftover vegetables in your refrigerator. Here I am sharing the fuss-free and an easy pressure cooker method that is suitable for today’s busy life. I admit that kootanchoru cooked in open vessel tastes better but this pressure cooker version also tastes great! Appalam or koozh vathal is the perfect accompaniment for this. Try and enjoy this truly satisfying forgotten recipe of Tamilnadu 🙂


The tall white hat of a chef is called toque.

Cuisine : Indian – Tamilnadu
Category : Main course – Rice
Serves : 4-5

Preparation Time : 15 min
Cooking Time : 45 min


Heat oil in a pressure cooker → Add the vegetables and saute for 3-4 min → Add the tamarind extract, water, salt & turmeric powder → Allow it to boil and add rice & dal → Mix well → Grind red chillies, cumin seeds, garlic and small onions to a fine paste and add → Add grated coconut → Mix well and pressure cook till 3 whistles and simmer for 7-10 minutes → Now add the drumstick leaves to the hot rice → Heat oil in a pan → Add mustard, urad dal, chopped big onion, chopped small onions, curry leaves, asafoetida & onion vadagam one by one → Fry till brown and add to the rice → Mix well and serve hot.


  • 2 cups Rice
  • 1/2 cup Toor dal
  • 1 Drumstick
  • 10 Beans
  • 1 small Carrot
  • 1 medium Potato
  • 3 Brinjals
  • 10 Broad beans
  • 1/2 Plantain
  • A handful of Drumstick leaves
  • A small lemon size Tamarind 
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Gingelly oil
  • Salt as required
  • 7 cups Water

  To grind:

  • 7 Red chillies
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 10 cloves Garlic
  • 15-20 Small onions

 To temper:

  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp Urad dal
  • 1 Chopped big onion
  • 10 Chopped small onions 
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
  • 3 Onion vadagam
  • 3 tbsp Gingelly oil

1. Wash and soak the dal in water for an hour.
2. Wash the rice thrice.
3. Soak tamarind in a cup of water and extract the juice.
4. Clean and cut the vegetables lengthwise (I have soaked brinjal, potato and plantain in water as they turn black soon). Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. Add the vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes.
. Add tamarind extract, 6 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder.
. Mix well and allow it to boil. Meanwhile grind all the ingredients given under ‘To grind’ to a fine paste.
. When the water starts boiling, add the rice and dal. Mix well. Add the red chilli masala paste and grated coconut. Mix well and pressure cook till 3 whistles. Simmer for 7-10 minutes and switch off the flame.
. Heat 3 tbsp gingelly oil in a pan. Add all the items given under ‘To temper’ and fry till brown. Add the cleaned drumstick leaves to the cooked rice.
. Now add the tempered onions. Mix well and serve hot with appalam/koozh vathal.


  • Don’t cut the vegetables into thin strips. They become mushy after cooking.
  • Soak the dal in water atleast for an hour so that they become soft while cooking.
  • Raw mango pieces can be added for a good flavor. Add them just a few seconds before closing the pressure cooker. If you add them with the other vegetables, they become too soft and the flesh gets mixed with the rice. Only the skin remains.
  • Adjust the quantity of the red chillies according to the variety you use.
  • Use tender drumstick leaves. Add them at last. The heat of the rice is enough to cook them.
  • Small onions, drumstick leaves, onion vadagam and gingelly oil impart a very good flavor to the dish.


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