Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mangai Vellarikai Kootan (Green Mango & Cucumber Stew)

Kerala Red Rice, Mangai Vellarikai Kootan, Cauli-Carrot Curry, Papadams
Mangai Vellarikai  Kootan is a Kerala stew flavored with the traditional masala of coconut, chiles, and cumin seeds. It is another one of our family favorite kuzhambus. Mangai Vellarikai  Kootan over plain rice, a simple vegetable stir-fry and papadams - make a delicious combination!

Green Mangoes and big Indian cucumbers are the usual veggies; since Indian cooking cukes are not always available, regular, Persian, and greenhouse cucumbers all work well - peel if they are waxed.

Besides the green unripe mango, other veggies maybe used instead of the cucumber such as winter melon (aka ash gourd or elavan), okra, moqua/chayote/opo squash, taro root, Jack fruit seeds, zucchini, or other mild summer squash. Dependig on the sourness of the mangoes, adjust the lime/lemon for the right amount of tanginess.

1/4 cup of Cashews or about 1/2 block Tofu maybe added to the coconut masala if you like to get a Mor Kootan/Kuzhambu effect while also making it thicker.

About 6 Servings


1 Green Mango, peeled and cut into big chunks
1-2 Cucumbers
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 Lemon/Lime

Masala - Grind Together:
1/2 cup Grated Coconut, fresh or frozen OR 1/3 cup dried Unsweetened
1 tsp whole Cumin Seeds
1 or 2 Hot Green or Red Chile, core removed for a milder dish
1 Stem Curry Leaves
1 tsp uncooked rice


1 tsp Oil (optional)
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds
2 Dry Red Chiles, broken into two
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves, minced


Prepare the veggies: wash well, trim or peel as needed; cut into large chunks.

Place the vegetables in a large non-reactive pot (stainless steel, ceramic, etc) with 1/2 cup of water, the salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until just tender.

While the veggies are cooking, place  the masala ingredients in the blender carafe, process into a nice smooth puree with a little water (1/4 cup or so).

When the veggies are tender, add the coconut puree; add a few tablespoons of water to the blender to gather all the remaining puree and add to the pan. Add a little more water if the kuzhambu is thick.

Simmer uncovered gently until Kootan comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Heat the oil if using in a small pan and do the thalippu: add mustard and fenugreek seeds and the red chilies. When the seeds pop, add curry leaves carefully and cover quickly. When all is calm, pour the thalippu into the Mangai Vellarikai Kuzhambu. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in lemon/lime juice to taste before serving; Mangai Vellarikai Kootan should be tangy.

Serve hot with rice or other grains; the usual favorite sides are some kind of thoran or dry veggie dish like Stir-fried Okra, Cabbage Thoran, Paruppu Usli, Parikkai Fry, Potato Roast, and/or papadams. Mangai Vellarikai Kuzhambu will last a week to ten days in the refrigerator.

Kerala Red Rice, Mangai Vellarikai Kootan

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