Chow Chow Kootu

Chayote Squash Mung Dal

Dal is as universal as pasta is. There are so many varieties of dal and many more ways to cook and pair it with. Adding vegetables to dal makes it more delicious and wholesome. One can find dal in pretty much every regional cuisine in India. The type of dal used may vary depending on what grows in that particular region and the vegetables added can change from season to season.

This recipe is a Tamil cuisine classic, a simple yet flavorful dal/curry we call a Kootu, that pairs very well with roti, rice or any grains/carb of choice. This is my mother’s recipe and one of my favorites. A few key spices that add flavor and the yellow split mung dal helps bring it all together, making it a healthy and wholesome side.

This is a recipe that can be made in a pressure cooker, Instant Pot or in an open pot. The mung dal cooks really fast and chayote squash/ chow chow, is a water vegetable, which means cooks quickly and absobs flavors very very well !

Variations :

  1. Use the given South Indian style spices and make it the traditional way or use readymade coriander powder, a mild chili powder and some coconut milk for a quick and modern adaptation. Will highly recommend drizzling some coconut oil in the end for that extra kick of flavor.
  2. If cooking open pot, toast the mung dal until you smell that nice toasty smell, add water to cover the dal, turmeric and ket boil. Then simmer, and cook until dal is soft. Moong dal gets very foamy, so stay close and keep stirring to avoid over boil. Add the chayote squash when the dal is halfway done….soft but not muchsy yet stage !?! (I will add that howto one day soon).
  3. This usually is a no onion no garlic recipe, but feel free to add both, they do work well in this recipe.

Recipe : Chow Chow Kootu

Prep Time : 15 minutesCook Time : 20 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves – 4 Dal/Curry

Ingredients :

  1. Chow chow / chayote squash – 4 (medium sized ones)
  2. Split Yellow Mung Dal – 1/2 cup
  3. Fresh/Frozen/Desiccated Coconut – 2 tablespoon
  4. Kootu / Homemade Spice Powder – 2 tablespoon
  5. Sambar Powder – 2 teaspoons (optional)
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  8. Powdered jaggery – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  9. Water as needed

For the tempering :

  1. Coconut Oil : 1 tablespoon or as desired
  2. Black Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  3. Asafetida – 1/8 teaspoon
  4. Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Curry Leaves – 4 or 5

How to :

  1. Wash and soak the moong dal in hot water for 5 minutes. I cooked the dal in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, on High pressure for 5 minutes, wait 2 minutes and slowly release pressure. Remove and set aside until the squash cook.
  2. Wash and peel the chayote squash. Cut them in half horizontally. Then remove the seed and the pith surrounding it. Chop them into cubes, small or medium your choice.
  3. I have used a stove top pressure cooker to cook the squash ( when I am short on time, my pressure cookers are a huge time saver), add the squash to the cooker, then the turmeric, sambar powder and salt to taste.
  4. Fill the cooker with just enough water to cover the squash and set it on medium high for 5 to 7 minutes. This squash cooks really quickly.
  5. Once the pressure settles enough to be able to open the pressure cooker, remove lid and add the cooked mung dal to this and mix well. Check for salt.
  6. In a small blender jar, add the fresh coconut, curry leaves, the kootu powder and 3 tablespoons water and make a fine paste.
  7. Add it to the squash-moong mixture in the cooker, set it on simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until it starts to froth up.
  8. For the tempering, heat up the coconut oil in a small pan and once hot, add the black mustard seeds, let it crackle, next add the cumin seeds, asafetida and a couple of curry leaves. Pour this over the squash mixture and turn of the heat.
  9. Serve warm with some steamed rice & rasam or roti or even dosai.

You can use orange/red lentils instead of moong dal and any vegetable like cabbage, ridge gourd, beetroot, carrots or a mixture of all of the above for this recipe. the more the veggies better the flavor ! A customizable recipe and a very simple yet absolutely lip smacking one ! Hope you will enjoy it as much as we do ! Thank you for stopping by !

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