Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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Here is the Wikipedia definition of “kootu:”

Kootu is a Tamil word means ‘add’ i.e.vegetable added with lentils which form the dish, made of vegetable and lentils and are semi-solid in consistency, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries. Virundhu Sappadu (Typical Tamil feast) comes with the combo of boiled rice (‘Choru’ in Tamil), sambar, rasam, curd, poriyal, kootu, appalam, pickle and banana. All kootus by default have some vegetables and lentils, but many variations of kootu exist.


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I am a big fan of vegan curries – especially those with lots of “sauce” and even more so if they are made in a slow cooker.  This recipe is simple with no exotic ingredients & feeds a LOT of people.   I made this in a 7-quart Crock Pot & nearly filled the thing.  It makes enough to feed a dozen people if served with rice.  I ate it for lunch every day & froze a bunch.  You can do this or cut the recipe down.  I just developed an urgent passion to use ALL the produce I had in my house this week & I had 4 pounds of carrots – so this kootu.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

Serves 10-12 with rice


2 cups peeled split mung beans (yellow lentils)

4 pound carrots – sliced

1 onion – chopped

3 cans coconut milk

3 cups vegetable stock

1 or more (according to your taste for heat) jalapenos (or other peppers) – seeded & diced (I used several split Bird’s Eye chilies)

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1 cup fresh cilantro – chopped plus more for garnish

1/2 cup or more Thai or other basil – chopped

Lime wedges for garnish


Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

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Put everything into the slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or until the carrots are tender.  Season with S&P.

Serve withe rice & garnish with cilantro & lime wedges.

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