‘HuLi’/ Sambhar and Saaru/Rasam are generally made with a spice powder, that is an essential part of everyday south Indian cooking.
‘Kootu’ on the other hand is made with a spice paste that is made fresh with coconut. Any combination of vegetables can be used, though individual vegetables also taste great.
The recipe for Kootu is as follows-
1. Mixed Vegetables- 1 cup, cut into 2 inch pieces or cubes- Ash gourd( Bhood kumbalkaayi), French beans, yam( Suvarna Gedde), Potatoes, ridge gourd( Heere kaayi),
Green Brinjal( Gulla)
2. Peanuts or Black Channa- 1/4 cup, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
3. Toor daal- 3/4 cup
4. Turmeric powder- 1/4 Tsp
5. Oil/Ghee- for Tempering
6. Tamarind- 1/2 Tsp paste, or a lemon sized ball soaked in water
7. Salt- To taste
8. Grated fresh coconut- 1 Tbsp
9. Mustard seeds- 1/2 Tsp
10. Asafetida- A pinch
11. Jaggery( Optional)- 1 Tsp
12. Curry leaves – A sprig
Dry roast the following ingredients separately, and grind them with the fresh coconut to make a thick paste-
1. Urad Daal- 1 Tsp
2. Peppercorns- 8 t0 10
3. Jeera- 1 Tsp
4. Coriander Seeds- 1 Tbsp
5. Cinnamon- a 2 inch piece
6. Red Chilies- 5 to 6
7. Asafetida- a pinch
Cook the vegetables, Channa, and Toor Daal, with a tsp of oil/ghee, turmeric and some salt. Add the tamarind paste, the coconut-spice paste, salt and jaggery. Bring to a boil. Check for seasoning. Make a tempering of the mustard seeds, asafetida and curry leaves in oil/ghee, and add to the Kootu. Serve piping hot with hot rice and ghee.

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