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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Green Tomato Dal (Koottu)

With the cold setting in, our vegetable garden is withering, so, we had to harvest all the green tomatoes. I have not found green tomatoes sold in stores (tomatillos aplenty, of course), but, maybe I haven't been looking in the right stores...

"Dal" (dhaal) in general is a wonderful side or main dish, served with rotis or rice, or eaten as a soup by itself. Dal dishes can be made with either moong dal or toor dal, although moong is my favorite. I love the versatility and heartiness of moong dal.

"Koottu" is a south indian term referring to a certain style of making sides - while this recipe is strictly not a traditional koottu, I use the terms dal and koottu interchangeably as my method of preparation of each sort of overlap.

Instead of green tomato, any suitable vegetable can be used to make this koottu/dal: i like opo squash, chayote squash, red ripe tomatoes, ash gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, or even tomatillos as alternatives.

2 cups dry split yellow moong dal (not the whole green moong)
2-3 medium green tomatoes,cut into chunks
1 medium yellow onion,diced
3-4 green chilies, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice
3 Tbsp grated coconut (dry or fresh)*

1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
2 Tbsp oil
salt to taste
water as needed

for tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp split (dehusked) urad dal - optional
*can be omitted without seriously compromising the outcome

  1. pressure cook the moong dal, or just boil 6 cups of water and add the moong dal and let it cook till it gets mushy; set aside
  2. heat oil in cooking pot, when oil starts shimmering, add the tempering - urad dal first, and when it starts turning light brown, add the mustard seeds, then cumin seeds; mustard seeds will spatter, keep a screen lid handy and cover the pot, turn the heat down if needed so as not to burn the tempering
  3. when spattering dies down, add the chilies, ginger and onions, a little salt, turmeric, asafoetida and sautee; the smell of ginger and onion sauteeing after the tempering is very appetizing
  4. then add the green tomato chunks, a little water, cover and let it cook till green tomatoes are a little soft
  5. add the cooked moong dal, coconut, more water if it is too thick or dry, adjust salt to taste and cover and simmer till green tomatoes are well done, but not mushy, and the dal has the consistency of a thick soup
  6. off heat stir in lemon juice and garnish with cilantro leaves
  7. serve warm with basmati rice, or roti, assorted indian achar (pickle) or pappadam
  8. alternately, cook the dal with more water so it has a hearty soup consistency and just have it as a soup - makes a great filling, healthy dinner on cold winter nights

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  • At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Indhu said…


    I tried your "Green Tomoto Dal" yesterday, it was delicious. Thank you so much for such a wonderful receipe. Now I no need to worry about all my green tomotoes.

    Indhu S


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