Kootu Curry: A Delightful Dish For Vegetarians
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Kerala is an integral part of the Indian subcontinent, and Kootu Curry is a special dish from ‘god’s own country’. It is a tempting, thick gravy-based dish prepared with veggies and legumes. It is one of the most significant dishes of Onam Sadhya, a popular festival of Kerala. The curry is a part of every celebration and festival in Kerala. There is even a famous saying in Malayalam saying, ‘you have to eat sadya/feast even if you have to sell your property for that’.

Now, such is the importance of Kootu curry in Kerala. Kootu curry is a vegetarian savoury meal with local flavours. It is best served with hot steamed rice. Also known as Kootukari, it is a stew made commonly with yam, lentils, and a few vegetables. All these ingredients made up the Sadhya Delicacy. It has a  semi-solid consistency. The dish is popular for its nutty and complex flavours and distinct textures. 

Kootu means a mixture. So, as the name suggests, the curry is a concoction or mixture of black chickpeas, yam, and raw banana with grounded coconut paste and added spices. The humble stew has a burst of spices. The aromatic coconut oil further enhances the flavour. It is mostly relished during the Boat Race Festival and other auspicious occasions. The scentful curry leaves add a flavourful kick to the cuisine. It is a bountiful bowl of rich nutrients. It is a homely curry from Kerala, India.

Here’s the recipe for Kootu Curry.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


½ piece peeled elephant foot yam

2 peeled raw banana 

½ kg black chickpea 

1 cup grated coconut 

3 sprigs curry leaves 

1 tsp red chilli powder 

½ tsp turmeric powder 

½ tsp pepper powder 

3 dry red chillies 

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp salt

3 tbsp oil


, Wash the black chickpeas and soak them for 30 minutes. 

. Put the black chickpeas into a pot with water, salt, and turmeric powder. 

. Close the lid and boil the chickpeas.

. Grind the grated coconut and set aside.

. Peel and cut the elephant yam and raw banana into small, equal cubical pieces. Wash them.

. Take a pot, put the washed elephant yam, add salt and water. 

. Mix them and place the pot over flame. 

. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside.  

. In another pot, add raw bananas and water. Place the pot over the flame. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft and set aside.

. Now, heat a large skillet, add cooked raw bananas, boiled black chickpeas and elephant yam.

. Add grinded coconut paste with other spices – red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix the ingredients properly. 

. And cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove and keep aside.

. Now, in a small pot, add some oil and add mustard seeds, let them sizzle. Then add dry red chillies, curry leaves and grated coconut. Fry them well.

. Pour the fried tadka into the cooked curry pan and mix.

. Serve hot and enjoy the Kerala style yam and banana curry.