Menasina/Black pepper Kootu

Kootu is a lovely South Indian daal. Most of the south indian daals have tamarind and that distinct reddish brown color. This kootu offers a break from that with no tamarind and more emphasis on freshly ground spices, esp. black pepper. I developed a  liking for it  after I made it from this old kannada cookbook called “Kalpalatha” by Mrs. Vedamma. This book was given to me by my sister Sharada when I came to the U.S. It has pretty much all the  traditional karnataka food recipes under titles such as Vividha annagaLu, Vividha huLigaLu mattu kootugaLu, PudigaLu etc. Thanks to that summer in Gandhinagar when just out of a whimsical fancy I taught myself how to read kannada, I am able to read and understand this book quite well.

Usually I make kootu with heerekayi/chinese okra, but this time I decided to make it with lilva papdi/avarekaaLu, carrots and beans. It turned out to be a very good combination. I usually make some extra kootu paste and freeze it. This makes it very easy to make kootu next time.


1/2 cup toor dal/togari beLe/pigeon peas
2 cups chopped vegetables (You can use whichever you like but some popular ones are beans, carrots, ridge gourd. When using Turiya/ridge gourd, I don’t add any other vegetable. For this recipe, I used Lilva papdi, carrots and beans.)
A few curry leaves
1+1/4 tea spoon ghee

For the paste:
1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
1 table spoon chana dal
1 table spoon coriander seeds
1 tea spoon cumin seeds
1 tea spoon black pepper
8 dry red chilies

1. Cook toor dal in approx. 3 cups of water until soft.
2. Chop the vegetables and steam cook by adding 1 cup of water until done.
3. In a small fry pan, add 1/4 tea spoon ghee and fry chana dal, coriander seeds, cumins seeds, black pepper and red chilies. (about 3 minutes)
4. Grind coconut and fried spices into a smooth paste by gradually adding about 1/2 cup of water.
5. Add the paste and cooked toor dal to the vegetables and bring kootu to boil.
6. Heat 1 tea spoon of ghee and do a vaghar/tadka with mustard seeds and hiing/asafoetida.


15 Responses to “Menasina/Black pepper Kootu”

  1. Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

    Hi Manjula,
    That’s wonderful to hear. Thanks for leaving your note here. It’s so nice to know that the dish was liked by everyone.


  2. Anonymous Says:

    I made your kootu yesterday for about 15 people. I used exact proportions that you gave, except I made for 3 cups toor dhal. It came out really good. I got big compliments. Thanks to you. I told them that it was your recipe and you deserve the credit. I have given them your recipe and the website link.
    Manjula Shankar

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry for the spelling mistake. I meant to say kootu recipe.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    This ok out recipe serves how many people? I want to make this next week for about 15 people. Let me know

    • Anonymous Says:

      Hi Manjula, this recipe would be enough for about 6 people. If this is a side dish, just double the qty. that should work.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Yummy! manu your food pics looks soooo yummy. I will definitely try. Your vongibath i tried in Dipti’s house was very tasty. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Hello Anupamajii,

    i loved this recipe just by looking at the picture.i’ll definitely prepare it to know whether i can use oil instead of ghee.

    • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

      Sure, why not? Ghee is suggested as this kootu is traditionally made using ghee. I have used oil instead of ghee and this dish tasted just as good.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and your interest in cooking kootu. I love to hear from my visitors.


  7. vishwanath Gundappa Says:

    wonder if a copy of this book is available …. I remeber this book my mom always had it in the kitchen and it had wornout so badly over the years and yet only she knew what dish was on what page…

    • Anupama Krishnamurthy Says:

      Hi Vishwanath,
      The copy I have is pretty old too… at least 20 years. I am sorry I don’t know if the book can be purchased now. If there is any particular recipe you want from this book, let me know and I’ll send it to you.


  8. Rita Says:

    It was nice to see this posting on the website.
    Mrs. Vedamma who wrote the cookbook you are referring to is my grandmother. She was a wonderful woman and a great cook.

  9. Varsha Says:

    This too came out so well. Thanks so much, Anupama.

  10. romaspace Says:

    from the paste ingredients I can sense a very delicious kootu. I am hungry now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: