Kootu. White Pumpkin and Daikon Lentil Stew

With a few mild spices such as asafetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric and with lots of veggies and lentils, kootu is delicious and wholesome.

About the recipe

This South Indian style stew called kootu is commonly made with squash, soft lentils, spices and fresh coconut, and is served over white rice. 


In this recipe I’ve changed the traditional kootu by substituting fresh coconut with canned coconut milk to give the kootu more of a soupy consistency. 


I used whole green moong lentils, white pumpkin and daikon radish for a mild veggie flavor.  Served over steaming white rice, kootu and rice together make a complete meal that don’t require much else.  Give it a try!

Kootu. White Pumpkin and Daikon Lentil Stew
serves 4-5


  • 1 lb white pumpkin cut into small cubes
  • 1 daikon peeled and shredded – about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups
  • 1 cup moong lentils cooked until tender saving the lentil water
  • 1 15oz can coconut milk
  • 1 green chili – seeds removed to keep it mild
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp asafetida powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • Oil such as coconut oil or sunflower or corn oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Ghee (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro finely chopped – about 2 tbsp


  • In a large pot heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Immediately add cumin seeds and slightly brown them  – about 2-3 seconds. Add asafetida powder and green chili and fry in hot oil for 2 seconds.  Add the shredded daikon, white pumpkin, salt, pepper, and turmeric powder.  Add 1-cup water, cover and cook vegetables until tender – about 7-10 minutes.  Check periodically to see if more water is needed.
  • Once vegetables are tender add the cooked lentils along with the lentil water and the entire can of coconut milk. Mix into the vegetables and warm through for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Turn the stove off.  Add juice of 1 lemon and fresh cilantro.  Kootu is ready.
  • Serve kootu garnished with extra cilantro and a dollop of ghee.

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