Zucchini Kootu

The recipe I am sharing today came from a reader and now a friend, Champa. Champa has a talent for making beautiful cakes, but she doesn’t have the time to blog herself. She is always sharing great ideas and tips with me, though.

Last week I was telling her how my vegetable garden is producing beautifully sleek zucchinis with pristine snow-white flesh faster than I can cook them up. I have been trying to give away as many as I can to friends and neighbors, but there aren’t many takers since most people I know have vegetable gardens of their own and zucchini is perhaps the easiest vegetable to grow. I’ve even considered leaving the zucchini outside people’s doorsteps anonymously, after they had refused my offer :)

But Desi, who tends to be more sane than I am, won’t have any of that, so to avoid wasting the beautifully fresh zucchini I have been forced to come up with creative ways to incorporate this healthful veggie into our meals. Zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, zucchini cornbread, zucchini pancakes, zucchini subzi, zucchini in salads, zucchini pakoras…you name it and I’ve done it.

Anyway, Champa sent me some more ideas for zucchini, including this recipe for a traditional kootu from Karnatake. It sounded so good, I made it rightaway, and both Desi and I loved it. While I cook kootu in the traditional Tamil style quite often, this recipe was a little different and the zucchini was delicious in it.

So here’s the recipe. Thanks, Champa, for a keeper.

And have a great Tuesday evening, all!

Zucchini Kootu

Boil together, preferably in a pressure cooker until tender:

1 large or 2 small zucchini, chopped in a 1/2-inch dice

3/4 cup chana dal (bengal gram dal)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

In a small skillet, heat 1/2 tsp canola or other vegetable oil


1 tbsp chana dal

1 tbsp urad dal (black gram dal)

2-3 red chillies, broken into pieces

2 tsp black peppercorns

Roast until lightly golden-brown and fragrant. Put in a blender along with:

1/3 cup thick coconut milk

A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)

Blend until smooth, then add to the dal-zucchini mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.

Simmer together for about 10 minutes.

Heat in a small skillet 1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil.


1 tsp mustard seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

A pinch of asafetida (hing)

When the mustard sputters, add it to the dal.

Turn off heat and serve hot with boiled rice or rotis.


I recently wrote about Sharan, a wonderful group based in India that supports a healthy vegan lifestyle and opposes animal cruelty, especially in the animal food industry. Sharan’s founder, Dr. Nandita Shah, recently told me of this great opportunity for a vegan/aspiring vegan who might be looking to spend some time in India. If I had a year to myself and if I were about a decade younger, I’d have jumped at this opportunity myself, especially since it involves not only my favorite work, animal rights and veganism, but also because the position is based in Auroville, an international community in Pondicherry near the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which calls itself a city “dedicated to unity.” Trust me, this is one of the most unique and beautiful places anywhere on Earth. Read more about Auroville here.

If you’re interested, email Nandita at nandita@sharan-india.org.

Finally, I am running late with announcing this month’s cuisine for It’s A Vegan World because, as you might have guessed from my breathless post, I have been rushed off my feet. But I will have the announcement up in a day or two, and hope everyone will participate. I will also post the roundup of IAVW: British very soon. Do hold your breaths, all, because we have some delicious recipes for you that would be fit to serve to the Queen herself!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

15 thoughts on “Zucchini Kootu

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    August 5, 2009 at 12:12am

    Your friend is one skilled cook. The zucchini kootu looks and sounds great. Thanks to you for publishing it.

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    August 5, 2009 at 1:45am

    Hi, This looks great, I hope to try this soon!…thanks for sharing.
    Peace, Stephanie

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    August 5, 2009 at 1:48am

    Hi! Great way to cook zucchini. The curry looks yummmy. Do let me know how to grow zucchini as they are very expensive here.

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    August 5, 2009 at 12:44pm

    Anudivya, Stephanie, Thanks.

    Pari, where are you located? If in the U.S., it is easy to buy zucchini seeds at any nursery and even at some supermarkets. I usually start the seeds in March or April and transplant the seedlings into the vegetable patch by May or June, since it takes a while to warm up here in the Northeast.
    If you’re outside the U.S., you might be able to order the seeds online. Remember to prepare your vegetable bed thoroughly with lots of good soil and compost.

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    August 5, 2009 at 2:15pm

    ha,can imagine how that zucchini kootu will be tasting…cant resist..thanks Vaishali…

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    August 5, 2009 at 2:18pm

    Kootu looks delicious. My zucchini decided only to flower and wither, no zucchini for me, the plant itself is in a very sad condition. Do I need to add any plant food??

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    Jaya Wagle

    August 5, 2009 at 2:28pm

    That looks yummy Vaishali. Reading your blog makes me wanna convert to a Vegan. Hopefully, one day soon :)

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    August 6, 2009 at 1:07am

    A friend and I were talking about different zucchini recipes just yesterday evening! Second telepathy ;)

    I have tried making paratha, muthia, simple sabji with summer sqashes.

    recipe looks amazing and will try it tomorrow!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Red Chillies

    August 6, 2009 at 3:44am

    Totally new to me, in fact I am new to the concept of Kootu. Looks good.

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    August 6, 2009 at 6:50pm

    That is a great dish. Thank you for posting. I still have not make the mango cheesecake yet as mango season is done so i will have to hunt for canned mango. I like your bowls and plates.

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    September 21, 2009 at 5:05pm

    Hi Vaishali, I just made zucchini kootu and it tastes absolutely fabulous. Thank you so much for the recipe. This is the second recipe I tried from your blog and again, it’s a definite keeper. I’m pretty sure every recipe post of yours is a delight once made, I have loads more to try…

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    September 21, 2009 at 6:09pm

    Hey Anu, glad you liked the kootu and thanks for letting me know! It’s one of my favorites too :)

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    April 2, 2014 at 2:00pm

    I made it it’s awesome

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