The creaminess of fresh coconut and some simple spices make this Courgette/Zucchini with mung lentils such a comforting dish. I just cannot have enough of it! It is one of those simple dals that are a regular feature at our home. If you love mild, light food (I mean who can resist a dish like mung beans curry?) then I urge you to try this oh! so simple recipe. I am sure that you will love it as much as we do.
Do you love courgettes? Yes?! Then you have company - me! I love courgettes too. It is a vegetable that I did not grow up eating. In India we do love summer squashes (bottle gourd/calabash, ridge gourd etc.) but we used to not get courgette - until recently, that is. This recipe is traditionally made using ridge gourd. When I moved to England I adapted this recipe and ridge gourd with courgettes.
I, Therefore, dedicate this recipe to all of you who, like me, have adapted some of your cooking to include ingredients that you have not grown up eating. What is one such ingredient that you have welcomed in your kitchen with all your heart? Do let me know in the comments.
What is Kootu?
I make sure that we have lentils, beans or legumes in some form or the other everyday - after all we need our daily dose of protein! This spinach dal is also a firm favourite in our household. Ok, now coming back to this dal. Kootu is a Tamil word for dal preparation with some (mostly one) vegetable in it. Cabbage, spinach and ridge gourd kootu are most common. This vegan mung lentils preparation is my adaptation of this popular South Indian dish where I replace the ridge gourd with Courgette. Courgette has many similarities to ridge gourd - from its outward appearance and when cut. This mild, flavourful dish that has fresh coconut ground with some simple spices is easy to make and can be had on its own as a light meal. It tastes great with with hot rice drizzled with ghee, sautéed beetroot and some popadums. Yum!!
When I say this dish is light, I meant it! At 150 calories per serving (approximately, see detailed calories chart after the recipe card) and a good amount of protein and fiber, this dish can be a meal on its own on days when you want to have something light and grain free. This recipe is vegan (if you use oil and not ghee) and suitable for children 12 months upwards.
Recipe Ingredients and Steps for Courgette/Zucchini with Mung Lentils:
This recipe involves 3 simple steps to it 1) Grinding of the fresh coconut and spices into a paste 2) Cooking and simmering the vegetables and lentils 3) Tempering of spices in ghee/oil and adding this to the dish at the end of the cooking process.
For the spice paste, you will need:
- Coconut: I do recommend fresh coconut for this recipe. These days coconut is easily available in most Indian supermarkets and greengrocers. Frozen coconut pieces work well for this recipe too. If using the frozen version, remember to immerse the pieces in lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes before grinding. This will soften the pieces and they will grind evenly. In the absolute case that you cannot find fresh or frozen coconut, you may use desiccated coconut.
- Green chilli: Use the milder variety. Just hint of chilli kick and the flavour is what we need in this recipe and not the intense heat.
- Black Peppercorns: Use whole pepper corns. These will add a light punch to this dish.
- Cumin Seeds: The deep, satisfyingly savoury taste of this spice is a ,must for this dish.
Grind all the above with about 30 ml of water to a not-so-smooth paste.
For the boiling and simmering you will need:
- Courgette/ Zucchini: Of course! This is the star ingredient. I use the dark green long ones for this recipe. Cut each courgette half lengthwise and then cut each half into half inch wide 'half moons'.
- Mung Lentils: These small, bright-as-a-sunshine yellow lentils cook fast and taste incredible. They are also the source of protein in this dish. Wash them well a couple of times and keep aside. Have you tried this Tangy, Lemony Dal which uses these lentils?
- Turmeric: Use ground turmeric. Turmeric brings that deep yellow hue and additional health benefits to this dish.
- Water: Just regular hot water.
For the tempering, you will need:
- Coconut oil: Use neutral oil if you do not have coconut oil at home. However, I recommend that you use coconut oil to enhance the 'coconutty' flavour of this dish. If you are not particular about the dish being vegan, you could use ghee for that sublime taste!
- Cumin Seeds: For that added crunch.
- Mustard Seeds: Use the dark brown/ black whole mustard seeds. They add a distinct nuttiness to the dish. remember to let them splutter in the oil/ghee and only then the tempering is well done!
- Curry leaves: Essential to South Indian cooking, Curry leaves add such a fragrance to this dish. Use fresh, frozen or shade dried ones available in super markets/ Indian green grocers.
Love Dals? Then do check these other dal recipes
- Sautéed Chickpea Recipe with fresh coconut
- Spiced vegan cous cous salad
- Nourishing Green Moong Dal Recipe (Vegan, GF)
Recipe Card for Courgette/Zucchini with Mung Lentils and fresh coconut (Kootu)
While you are here do check out these recipes as well:
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 5.4g||7%|
|Saturated Fat 4.2g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 19.2g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 4.6g||16%|
|Total Sugars 2.3g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.|