Kootanchoru – Easy Cooker Method

If you are from the south there is no need to explain what kootanchoru is.The minute we hear the word, we all start to salivate! It’s a delicacy from Tirunelveli. Unlike biriyani, this dish is cooked without any aromatic spices like fennel, clove, cardamom etc. It’s a very tasty one pot meal made with a medley of seasonal vegetables, rice, lentils and an authentic South Indian masala paste. What makes it unique is the seasoning added at the end as a garnish.

If you have ever seen your grandma or your mom cook kootanchoru, I guarantee that you will get intimidated.This recipe has a lot of ingredients, and it’s cooked in a particular sequence. But I’m going to simplify the process and make kootanchoru in a jiffy with a help of a pressure cooker.

🍲This recipe serves 4 to 6 people

List of Ingredients


  • Chow chow – 1
  • Carrot -2
  • Avarakkai or Green beans – 1 bunch
  • Potato -2
  • Green peas – 1/2 cup
  • Drumstick – 1
  • Vazhakkai/ Raw banana / green plantain – 1
  • Raw mango – 1/2 slice

📍You can also add baby brinjal, butter beans and a handful of chopped greens like murungai keerai/drumstick leaves, venthaya keerai / methi leaves or any other greens of your choice. It truly enhances the taste

For the paste

  • onion/ chinna vengayam -1 small or 5-6 shallots
  • Garlic – 5 pods
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Red chili powder – 1 heaping teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon

Other ingredients

  • Toor dal – 1/2 cup
  • Rice – 1 cup

📍I have used Ponni boiled rice. You can also use any raw rice, Sona masoori rice etc. Don’t use any aromatic rice like basmati rice or Jeraga Chamba rice. It will change the taste of the dish.

  • Tamarind extract – 1/4 cup
  • Asefotida – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 2 teaspoons
  • Water for rice – 3 1/2 cups
  • Water for dal – 1 cup

For the seasoning

  • Oil -3 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Crushed onion vadagam – 2 tablespoons
  • Curry leaves – a handful
  • Grated coconut- 2 tablespoons

Prep work

  • Cut all the veggies in lengthwise
  • Wash drain and keep it aside
  • Wash and drain toor dal and
  • cook it with 1 cup of water and turmeric powder in a pan
  • Make sure all the water is absorbed
  • Once it’s cooked Keep it aside and let it cool.
  • Do not mash. It has to hold its shape.
  • Even it’s not completely cooked through its ok

📌 prepare the tamarind extract

  • Take a small lemon size tamarind and dissolve in 1/4 cup of water.

📍Prepare the paste and keep it ready


  • In a big cooker add a tablespoon of oil
  • Once it’s hot add all the veggies
  • Sauté it for a minute
  • Add little bit turmeric powder and asefotida, mix it well
  • Now add the paste and sauté it for a minute in low flame

📍While it’s sautéing wash and drain the rice and keep it ready

📌It’s very important that you do this just before you add it to the cooker otherwise the rice becomes a mash when it’s cooked.

  • Now add the rice and cooked toor dal to the veggies
  • Use the spatula and gently mix it together.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups of water,
  • Add the prepared tamarind extract (don’t add all of it, add only 2 tablespoons and reserve the rest)
  • 📌if you are adding raw mango keep in mind it adds sourness too, so its better to add the tamarind extract little bit at a time, taste and then add more if necessary.
  • Now add salt mix it well
  • Taste again, this is the best chance to add more spice( red chili powder , tamarind and salt) if needed. Mix it well
  • Put the cooker lid on and the weight
  • Keep it for 3 whistles and switch off the stove
  • You can smell the nice aroma now.
  • Let the steam subside completely, until then don’t try to open the lid.
  • 📍Alright let’s open the lid, you will see all the veggies on top, but there shouldn’t be any excess water.
  • 📌If there is excess water it needs to cook more just keep it in low flame put the lid back and cook until it’s done. No need to put the weight.
  • Take a spatula and gently mix. Transfer it to a serving pot.

Now we have to make the unique seasoning

  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add the mustard seeds once you hear the pop add curry leaves, broken onion vadagam and grated coconut, fry them until the coconut gets dry now add a 1/2 teaspoon of asefotida mix it well until you get the aroma.
  • 📌 if don’t have onion vadagam it’s okay just add the regular seasoning.
  • 📌 I add coconut since it adds a nutty taste but it’s optional
  • Take it out of the heat and sprinkle this mix on top of the rice.
  • Just before you serve it gently mix the rice so it’s evenly spread.

Serve this tasty kootanchoru with thayir pachadi, appalam and vathal.

since this rice tastes so good the next day, I always make a huge batch so that we some leftovers.

This one pot wonder is a crowd pleaser in my household. My grandma used to make this during summer vacation when all my cousins come to visit. A make shift stove is placed in the backyard a huge pot is placed and in goes the ingredients one by one cooked in sequential order. Once it’s done the aroma makes everyone gravitate towards the backyard. It’s such a pleasure to sit and enjoy this dish with an extended family. Brings back so much nostalgia! I hope you make it and enjoy it as much we do!

Published by LATHA

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