This easy zucchini Kootu comes together in less than 20 mins. Made in the Instant Pot, it is a light and creamy stew that is not only delicious but also nourishing and wholesome. You can also think of this as a zucchini lentil soup.
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When I m craving for a simple and light meal, I turn to this quick dish with summer’s best zucchini and a very small portion of lentils.
In a very strict sense, this may not check all boxes for a hearty and filling stew since it is light and has very little protein or carbs.
It lingers somewhere between a soup and a stew but really, does the name matter? Inspired from the South Indian Kootu recipe, this version uses no grated coconut and calls for no fresh ground spice paste too.
Like I mentioned, 6 ingredients is all it takes to make this, unless you include water and salt.
Zucchini- Use the crunchiest and crispiest zucchinis for this recipe. Both yellow and green courgettes are fine.
Coconut milk- I have used low fat coconut milk to make this. Coconut milk and zucchini are made for each other. You can also use regular coconut milk in place of the low fat version.
Lentils- With just 1 tablespoon of moong lentils, this is low-carb diet friendly. You can also use red lentils in place of the moong lentils.
Check the recipe card for more information and exact measurements.
No coconut kootu
This recipe is a quick Kootu. Usually, traditional South Indian Kootu recipes call for a fresh spice paste that has grated coconut. If you are in a pinch or out of coconut but still want to enjoy Kootu, then this Zucchini Kootu is for you.
This recipe will work well with so many veggies.
- Make this with butternut squash, pumpkin, green beans or a mix of veggies. Think carrots, beans and peas.
- Add more moong lentils for a thicker version. You can eat this thick Kootu as a side kick for Chapatis.
- Replace the cumin seeds with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and cloves for a Sri Lankan inspired dish.
- Throw in some onions and garlic along with the green chilis and saute them till onions become a light pink. This will give a completely different flavor to the Kootu.
- Lentils that work well with zucchini include Chana Dal and Red lentils. You can even make this split green gram. If you are going to use Chana Dal, wash it in a colander till water runs clear. Then soak the Dal for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- I love pepper. Adding black pepper to a coconut milk based curry or stew takes it to a new level in terms of flavor and dish. If you like the heat of black pepper, feel free to add more.
- Squeeze some lemon juice just before serving this Kootu. The tang is a welcome addition in terms of flavor.
- Coconut oil is the lifeline of this dish. So no matter what you do, please don’t replace that with any other oil.
- I tried making this as an one-pot dish by adding the coconut milk along with the zucchini while pressure-cooking. When I did this, the coconut milk curdled. When I tried this the second time, I added the milk after pressure cooking zucchini+lentils. This worked perfectly.
Tempering and Sautéing
Insert the inner pot into the Instant Pot. Turn on SAUTE MODE- NORMAL- 7 mins.
Add cold-pressed coconut oil and tip in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds pop and cumin crackles, add the curry leaves and green chilis. Immediately add the chopped zucchini and saute until zucchini becomes soft. This takes roughly 2 mins.
Wash the moong Dal well under running water. Add the dal to the pot and stir to combine. Now, add water and salt.
Press CANCEL. Ensure that the sealing ring has been fitted properly into the lid. Close the Instant Pot and turn the VALVE to SEALING.
Press PRESSURE COOK- HIGH PRESSURE-7 Mins. Allow the cooking cycle to complete. When the cycle completes, do a QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE by turning the VALVE to VENTING.
Press CANCEL. Open the lid and add the coconut milk. Stir well. Press SAUTE MODE- NORMAL- 3 mins. Add freshly cracked black pepper and mix well. Garnish with more fresh curry leaves if you like the flavor. Wait for the SAUTE CYCLE to COMPLETE.
When done, serve hot.
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- Instant Pot 6 quart
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 green chilis slit length wise
- 10 curry leaves
- 350 g zucchini cubed
- 1 tablespoon Moong lentils
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 10 curry leaves
- 200 ml low fat coconut milk
Tempering and Sautéing
- Insert the inner pot into the Instant Pot. Turn on SAUTE MODE- NORMAL- 7 mins.
- Add cold-pressed coconut oil and tip in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
- When the mustard seeds pop and cumin crackles, add the curry leaves and green chilis.
- Immediately add the chopped zucchini and saute until zucchini becomes soft.
- This takes roughly 2 mins.
- Wash the moong Dal well under running water.
- Add the dal to the pot and stir to combine.
- Now, add water and salt.
- Press CANCEL.
- Ensure that the sealing ring has been fitted properly into the lid.
- Close the Instant Pot and turn the VALVE to SEALING.
- Press PRESSURE COOK- HIGH PRESSURE-7 Mins.
- Allow the cooking cycle to complete.
- When the cycle completes, do a QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE by turning the VALVE to VENTING.
- Press CANCEL.
- Open the lid and add the coconut milk.
- Stir well.
- Press SAUTE MODE- NORMAL- 3 mins.
- Add freshly cracked black pepper and mix well.
- Garnish with more fresh curry leaves if you like the flavor.
- Wait for the SAUTE CYCLE to COMPLETE.
- When done, serve hot.