Mor Kootu is a yogurt based gravy that is often used with a few vegetables – cabbage, ash gourd, taro, cucumber and vazha tandu (stem of the plantain). It’s not a raita, its not a Mor Kozhambu, or an avial. It has a distinct taste and personality of its own. Although I am not really aware of its history much, I think this was specially invented by the Maamis to help us cool off on the rather hot summer days that we have to suffer.
- Ash Gourd – 200-250 gms
- Curd – 1 cup (1/2 cup more if you want more gravy)
- Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
- Hing – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
For the paste
- Coconut – 1/4 cup cut pieces or scraped
- Cumin – 1 tsp
- Green Chilly – 1 nos
For the tempering
- Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves – 4-5 nos.
- Red Chilly – 1 no.
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Wash, Peel and cut Ash gourd into cubes. Parboil the ash gourd cubes with turmeric and hing. In a microwave this should take about 4 minutes on high.
- Grind the ingredients for the paste coarsely with very little water.
- Add this to the parboiled Ash Gourd pieces and cook for a minute.
- Beat the curd, add salt and mix well.
- Reduce the flame to low and add curd. Simmer for a minute – be careful not to over heat, the yogurt should not separate. Take off flame and transfer to serving dish.
- Heat oil in the tempering ladle or vessel – pop the mustard seeds, add curry leaves and red chilly broken into two and toast. Add this tempering to the Ash gourd kootu.
- Use thick curd that isn’t sour. Although many recipes call for sour curds, IMHO Kootus are not meant to be sour. They are meant to tease your senses with subtle notes of spices and flavourings used.
- Mor Kootu works as both a gravy to mix with rice and a dish on the side. The quantity of curd added can vary depending on how much gravy you’d like the kootu.
- The oil that one uses for tempering can be used to enhance the flavour. I used coconut oil which worked very well.
- It tastes like a piece of heaven when chilled. You’d be able to savour this experience completely only if you live in parts as hot as mine. (I live in Chennai)
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