It's back to basics today with a simple curry that is quite common in South India….’Chayote Kootu’ more popularly known as Chow Chow Kootu.
I have made this simple curry even simpler by preparing it in the Instant Pot. With all the craziness in the world and our lives, I hope to add some simplicity to our daily chores.
Although it is needless to say with the Instant Pot, this is a very simple stew recipe with flavorful spices and tropical coconut flavor.
About this recipe
Stew recipes are referred to as “Kootu” in south Indian cuisines and come in several forms.
I love them as they do not require too many ingredients and are easy on the digestive system.
With a full serving of protein from dal and fiber from chayote, this dish makes it a complete sumptuous meal.
The main base of the recipe is lentils, but the consistency and flavor come from coconuts. That’s what is unique about Kootu recipes.
I prefer preparing it a little spicy and serving it with steamed rice. You can customize it to suit your liking.
My kids love to enjoy it without any pairing, just like soup! That made my job even easier! It ended up being a complete meal for the entire family.
Today I will show you how to prepare Chow Chow kootu with the Instant Pot.
I have shared the step-by-step photos and a live video to guide you along the way.
It is way simpler than the stovetop method, leaves you with fewer dishes to wash, and cuts down the cooking time for the dal and vegetables in half.
I have also prepared it without adding any onions or garlic to address some of my readers’ questions. So it is a good preparation option if you observe a religious fast.
With the moong dal and chayote combination, you do not miss the flavors of garlic or onions.
What is kootu?
Kootu is a lentil and vegetable stew in South Indian, particularly in Tamil and Kerala cuisines.
Chow Chow kootu is made with Chayote squash and yellow moong dal.
This is similar to sambar but thicker in consistency and derives flavors from coconuts (or coconut milk).
You can use either yellow moong dal or tur (toor) dal or even a mix of both for this recipe. The yellow moong dal is the traditional version in most homes.
- You could use freshly grated coconut paste (½ cup) instead of coconut milk.
- Add onions as you saute the ingredients if you are not using it on vrat (fasting) day.
- Roasted cumin, coriander, and chili powder can be better than sambar or curry powder.
Stovetop (pressure cooker method)
Cook chayote in just enough water. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt, and cook until the chayote softens. Place it aside.
Pressure cook moong dal (1 cup water and 3 whistles)until they are soft.
Add the dal mixture and coconut milk to the cooked chayote, and bring it to boil.
Chayote (Chow Chow Kootu) curry is ready! Add the seasoning to the kootu, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot paired with your choice of rice or roti.
Instant pot Method
Start by washing the chow chow and peeling the skins.
Then scoop the seeds from the center of the chayote squash and chop them into small cubes.
Rinse well to remove starch from the sides of the chayote. Let the yellow moong dal soak in water for 10 mins as you saute the spices and chayote.
Press the ‘saute’ setting and add oil to the inner pot. As the oil heats up, add mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle, add curry leaves, ginger, and green chilies. Saute them for 20 sec.
Now, add the cubed chayote and mix it well.
Add all the dry spices: turmeric, black pepper, curry powder, and garam masala powder. And mix well to get an even mix.
Add the soaked and drained moong dal, salt coconut milk, and water. Stir well.
Press cancel to stop sauteing, close the instant pot lid and turn the vent to the sealing position.
Press the ‘manual’ or ‘pressure cooker’ mode and cook the mixture for 6 minutes in high pressure.
As the timer expires, let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid after the pressure has subsided add a hint of lemon juice to the curry and garnish with cilantro.
Chow Chow Kootu is ready! Serve it hot paired with your choice of roti, rice, quinoa, or even millets! Enjoy!
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Chow Chow Kootu (Instant Pot)
- 3 Chayote squash - Chow Chow
- ¾ cup Moong dal - Yellow mung dal
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- ¾ cup of coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- 6 curry leaves
- 1 cup of water
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon cilantro for garnish
- Start by washing the chayote (Chow Chow) and peeling the skins.3 Chayote squash - Chow Chow
- Then cut them in half and scoop the seed out with a knife.
- Chop the Chayotes into cubes and rinse to remove starch.
- Soak the yellow Moong dal in water for 10 minutes and set it aside for later use.¾ cup Moong dal - Yellow mung dal
- Press saute on the Instant Pot and add oil to the inner pot.2 teaspoon coconut oil
- As the oil heats up, add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sizzle, add curry leaves, ginger and green chilies and saute for 20 sec.2 green chilies chopped, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 6 curry leaves, 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- Now, add the cubed chayote and give it a good stir.
- Add all the dry spices listed in the ingredients: turmeric, black pepper, curry powder, and garam masala powder and continue to stir to get an even mixture.½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon curry powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Now, add the soaked and drained moong dal, salt, coconut milk, and water. Stir well.¾ cup Moong dal - Yellow mung dal, ¾ cup of coconut milk, Salt to taste, 1 cup of water
- Press cancel to stop sauteing, close the instant pot lid and turn the vent to the sealing position.
- Press the ‘manual’ or ‘pressure cooker’ mode and cook the mixture for 6 minutes in high pressure.
- As the timer expires, let the pressure release naturally.
- Open the lid after the pressure has subsided add a hint of lemon juice to the curry and garnish with cilantro.2 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoon cilantro for garnish
- Chow Chow Kootu is ready! Serve it hot paired with rice, chapati, puri, quinoa, or millets. Enjoy!
- Cook chayote in just enough water. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt, and cook until the chayote softens.Place it aside. Pressure cook moong dal (1 cup of water and three whistles)until they are soft.Add the dal mixture and coconut milk to the cooked chayote and bring it to a boil. Chayote (Chow Chow Kootu) curry is ready! Add the seasoning to the kootu, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot paired with your choice of rice or roti.
Check above for step-by-step pictures (most of my recipes include pictures)
- While chopping chayote squash, use cloves to prevent the starch.
- You can add sambar powder instead of curry powder.
YOUR OWN NOTES
Nutritional information is an estimation only.