Cauliflower Kootu

Cauliflower Kootu ~ South Indian Vegetarian Curry

cauliflower kootu
Cauliflower Kootu

Kootu, a traditional South Indian style thick stew, is an aromatic savory amalgamation of vegetables and dal flavored with a spice base that usually includes black pepper and coconut. There are many variations to the kootu masala based on the region it is prepared.

Cauliflower Kootu is a classic vegan curry featuring cauliflower, tur dal, coconut, tamarind and a mix of spices like coriander, black pepper and lentils that form the kootu masala. These simple ingredients make for a fresh hotpot packed with nutrition and flavor. Tamarind is the key ingredient that gives this South Indian vegetarian curry a slightly sweet-sour flavor that is balanced with the earthy kootu masala. I have added mixed vegetables like potato, carrot and green peas for boost the nutrition profile of the kootu. Kootu is usually best served with rice but you can serve the left overs with dosa or chapati. ๐Ÿ™‚

cauliflower kootu recipe
Our lunch ~ Cauliflower kootu, beans velluli karam, sun dried tomato pickle, sun dried chilies and gummadi vadiyalu

Cauliflower Kootu

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 5

 Main Ingredients:

  •  cauliflower


  •   Cauliflower florets - small head, washed and placed in salted hot water for 5 mts
  •   Potato - 1, medium size, peeled and cubed (optional)
  •   Carrot - 1, medium size, peeled and cubed
  •   Green peas - fistful (optional)
  •   Onions - 1, medium, finely chopped
  •   Tomatoes - 1, medium, finely chopped (optional)
  •   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  •   Tur dal - 1/2 cup, cooked
  •   Tamarind - medium sized lemon ball, soaked in 1/2 cup water and extract juice
  •   Salt to taste
  •   For tempering/poppu/tadka:
  •   Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  •   Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  •   Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  •   Oil - 2 tbsps
  •   Kootu Masala - dry roast and grind:
  •   Dry red chilies - 3
  •   Black pepper corns - 10-12
  •   Coriander seeds - 1 1/2 tbsp
  •   Chana dal - 1 tbsp
  •   Split gram dal - 1/2 tbsp
  •   Fresh coconut - 1/4 cup, grated

Method for making Cauliflower Kootu

Wash tur dal, add 1 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook the dal till soft and set aside.
In a heavy bottomed vessel, dry roast all the ingredients (except coconut) called for kootu masala on low flame for 6-7 mts or till you get a nice aroma. Add grated coconut and roast for 3 mts and turn off flame. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
Heat oil in the vessel, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add curry leaves and asafoetida and saute for a few secs.
Add the chopped onions and saute for 4 mts. Add turmeric powder and the chopped mixed vegetables and saute for 7-8 mts on low medium flame. Add the ground masala powder and mix well. Add tomatoes and saute for 4 to 5 mts.
Add the cooked tur dal and green peas along with a cup of water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid for 8-10 mts or till the vegetables are three fourth cooked.
Add the tamarind extract along with a cup of water and cook on low-medium flame with lid for another 10-12 mts or till the rawness of tamarind disappears and the vegetables are fully cooked. Turn off flame and remove to a serving bowl.
Serve warm with rice and papad.


  •   When the tur dal is cooking, do the preparation work. Prepare the masala, chop the vegetables and extract the tamarind juice.
  •   If you do not have fresh coconut, use dry unsweetened coconut powder.
  •   You can use a mixture of 2 to 3 dals like yellow moong and channa dal along with tur dal. Whatever dals you choose to use, see that it amounts to 1/2 cup of uncooked dal.


Cauliflower Kootu, an aromatic vegan curry among South Indian recipes, goes well with rice, pulao or rotis. You can add mixed vegetables to boost nutrition.
  • vijaya

    Wow good to see, I can make with tur dal becoz I have gas problem

  • Prash@YummilyYours

    Hi Sailu,
    Your blog was one of the very few I knew about much before I started blogging. Have tried a coule of your recipes and have liked them ๐Ÿ™‚ This one looks like a winner too!

  • Sruthi

    Can u please try to add “print this recipe” option.

  • Shalini

    Hi Mrs Sailu.
    I have tried this recipe and it was superb.
    Thank you for posting such tasty recipes.

  • Kiran

    Very nicely explained. Great for novice chefs like me…thanks.

  • Nancy Potumuthu

    I’m looking for the recipe for beans velluli karam, Have you posted it?

  • ~SupMRAJ

    This is my “go to” dish for cauliflower. Everyone loves it, it’s rich and tasty, so great with a nice chapati or naan. It’s hard for me to make anything else with my cauliflower other than this dish. Very well done, thank you for sharing!!