Go Back
+ servings
This South Indian Cabbage Dal, or Cabbage Kootu, is perfectly spiced and mellowed with coconut milk. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free - HolyCowVegan.net
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

South Indian Cabbage Dal, Cabbage Kootu

The spices in this South Indian Cabbage Dal, or Cabbage Kootu, are mellowed by the sweetness of coconut. It is the quintessential Tamil dal and it goes perfectly with rice or even a south Indian bread like dosa. A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dal, Main Course
Cuisine: gluten-free, Indian, nut-free, Soy-free, Vegan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 137kcal


  • ½ small head of cabbage (about four cups chopped), finely chopped
  • ½ cup pigeon peas (tuvar dal). Pink lentils are a fine substitute.
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • About 10-15 curry leaves (not sprigs but the individual leaves)
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut or ½ cup coconut milk (fresh or canned is good)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

For the masala:

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp blackgram dal (udad dal)
  • 1 tbsp chana dal (Bengalgram dal)
  • 1 dry red chili pepper, like arbol pepper or Kashmiri chili pepper (use more or less based on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns


  • Pressure-cook the split yellow peas and cabbage with enough water to cover and turmeric. If you use an Indian pressure cooker that "whistles" allow the lentils to cook for three whistles. If cooking in a saucepan, cover by an inch of water and cook 30 minutes or until the dal is really soft. If cooking in an Instant Pot, set the pressure to high for 15 minutes.
  • Heat ½ tsp of the oil and add the masala ingredients. Fry them until the dals turn golden, remove to a blender, and grind into a smooth paste along with coconut or coconut milk.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and when the mustard sputters, add the dal and masala and mix. Add water if too thick.
  • Bring the dal to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for another five minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve hot with rice and papad.


Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5.5g | Fat: 6.2g | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg