Ezhukari Kootu (7 Vegetable Curry)

Along with Thiruvadirai kali, this wet dish containing seven different vegetables is also prepared and served along with the sweet kali. It is a different experience pairing a sweet dish with a salty accompaniment. This combination is only made for the Thiruvadirai festival. One of the ‘must have’ vegetables for this dish is greater yam, also called kavathu or kachil in Malayalam and mitti ka aloo in Hindi. I rarely find this root vegetable in the Delhi region. I therefore tend to prepare this only for Thiruvadirai. For the last couple of years, however, I have been buying a lot more of this vegetable during the Thiruvadirai season. I then use it to prepare the kootu in both Tamizhnadu (ezhukari) and Kerala (kavathu avarakkai) styles. Detailed in this post is the Thamizhnadu kootu.
Normally, any combination of vegetables can be used. It varies from household to household. I used three root vegetables (greater yam, taro root and elephant yam), three vegetables (pumpkin, broad beans and carrots) and one legume (lima beans).

4 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables
1/4 cup lima beans (mochai)
1/3 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A large marble sized ball of tamarind
Salt to taste
To Be Ground
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
1 1/2 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
5-6 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp rice (I used brown rice)
1/4 cup grated coconut
To Season
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (sabut methi, venthiyam)
1 dried red chilli
1 sprig curry leaves
Wash and cut all the vegetables into medium sized cubes
Set aside
Add the pigeon peas and turmeric powder to a pressure cooker
Cook for 3 whistles or until soft
Let steam release naturally and open the lid
Mash the pigeon peas
Set aside
Add the lima beans and a little salt to the pressure cooker
Cook for 3 whistles or till done
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Set aside
(Note: You can cook the pigeon peas and the lima beans simultaneously if you put them into separate vessels, place these vessels in the pressure cooker and cook)
Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes
Extract the juice
Set aside
Heat a wok and roast the coriander seeds, red chilies, Bengal gram and rice
Remove from flame when the Bengal gram turns golden brown
Once cool, grind to a fine paste adding a little water
Set aside
Cook the vegetables, adding salt, in a little water till half done (and the hardier vegetables first and the ones easier to cook a little later)
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add fenugreek, red chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida
Add the vegetables and tamarind water
Adjust the salt
Cook on medium flame till the raw smell of tamarind has evaporated (about 8 minutes)
Add the ground paste, mashed pigeon peas and lima beans
Mix well
Add about 1/2 cup water and cook on low flame for another 10 minutes
Stir occasionally
Turn of flame
Serve hot with Thiruvadirai kali
Note: This dish is the one in the bowl in the picture.


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