cabbage kootu

Cabbage Kootu

Updated: June 15, 2022, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Cabbage Kootu is a delicious, healthy and comforting South Indian side dish made with cabbage, lentils, spices and herbs. This protein-packed dish goes well over steamed rice, quinoa, and millets or with roti and plain paratha. Kootu is a popular vegetarian dish from South Indian cuisines of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. A typical kootu has lentils, fresh coconut, spices, tamarind and vegetables, cooked till tender, lastly tempered with whole spices and curry leaves.

Cabbage kootu

Cabbage Kootu

Kootu is made in many ways and every state and region has a different way of making it. This cabbage kootu is one such variation and tastes simply delicious and is aromatic. In this post I share the recipe to make cabbage kootu in a regular pot and in a pressure cooker. You can use a stovetop cooker or an electric cooker like an instant pot.

South Indian kootu can be made with many different kinds of vegetables like bottle gourd, drumsticks, snake gourd, Ash gourd, and pumpkin. There are also some versions made with mixed vegetables and leafy greens.

To make a kootu, you can use any lentils of choice like split skinned pigeon peas, yellow Moong dal or even whole legumes like chickpeas or Green Moong Beans. For this cabbage kootu, I have used toor dal, you can also use moong dal, Chana Dal or a mix of both.

I make a paste of roasted chana dal, red chilies, cumin and fresh coconut. This enhances a delicious nutty aroma and taste. If you do not have access to fresh coconut, you may use thick coconut milk.

To make this cabbage kootu, I prefer to cook the lentils first. Later add the chopped cabbage and simmer until it is tender. I don’t prefer pressure cooking cabbage as it can sometimes impart a sulfur smell to the dish. Overcooked cabbaged can impart a chemical like taste and flavor.

More Cabbage Recipes
Cabbage Curry
Steamed Cabbage
Cabbage Stir Fry

Cabbage Poriyal

cabbage kootu recipe

How to Make Cabbage Kootu (Stepwise Photos)


1. Cabbage can be cleaned in so many ways. You can quarter the cabbage and add them to warm salted water. Leave for a while and then rinse few times. Drain completely and chop. You can also chop it and add to salted water. Rinse well and repeat the rinse.

2. Soak 2 to 3 tablespoons tamarind in little hot water. Set aside. Add half cup toor dal to a pressure cooker or pot. You can use moong dal or toor dal or a mix of both.

soak tamarind for cabbage kootu

2. Rinse it very well a few times until the water runs clear. Add 1 ½ cups water and pressure cook for 3 whistles on a medium heat, until the lentils are soft cooked. If cooking in a pot, bring the water to a rolling boil and reduce the heat, cook until tender adding more hot water if required.

pressure cook dal for cabbage kootu recipe

3. While the dal cooks, chop 2 cups cabbage and add it to a pot of salted water. Drain off and rinse a few times. Set this aside. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small tadka pan. Fry 2 to 4 red chilies and 1½ tablespoons chana dal, until the dal turns aromatic & deep golden. Cool and add them to a blender along with 3 tablespoons coconut (or ¼ thick coconut milk) and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.

frying masala for cabbage kootu recipe

4. Add little water and make a smooth paste.

coconut paste for cabbage kootu recipe

Make Cabbage Kootu

5. When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid and mash the dal slightly. Add chopped cabbage to the dal and cook until tender. Cabbage gets cooked in just 5 to 6 minutes. If it is not tender then 8 minutes would be enough. (If using Instant pot, cook on saute mode)

smooth cooked dal for cabbage kootu recipe

6. Add the ground kootu paste. If required pour more hot water. Cook for 2 to 3 mins.

addition of paste for cabbage kootu recipe

7. Make sure the cabbage is tender, then add tamarind paste or water as required. Do not add tamarind before the cabbage is cooked. Stir and let it bubble. Taste test and add more salt or tamarind if required.

addition of tamarind for cabbage kootu recipe

8. Heat a pan, add 1 tablespoon ghee or 2 tsps oil. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 dried red chili and 8 to 10 curry leaves. When the curry leaves turn crisp. off the stove and add 1 pinch of hing.

tempering or poppu for cabbage kootu recipe

9. Pour it to the cabbage kootu.

seasoned south indian cabbage kootu recipe

Cabbage kootu is ready to be served with rice or phulka.

cabbage kootu

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

cabbage kootu

Cabbage Kootu Recipe

4.93 from 13 votes
Cabbage kootu is a simple, healthy and delicious South Indian dish made with lentils, cabbage & spices. Serve it over rice or with roti.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ½ cup dal (toor dal or moong dal, any lentils)
  • 2 cups cabbage chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry tamarind (or 1 tsp tamarind concentrate, adjust to taste)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • teaspoon turmeric

To roast & grind

  • 3 tablespoons coconut fresh or frozen, grated or ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 to 4 dried red chilies (less spicy kind)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons chana dal (bengal gram)

To Temper

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons ghee or 2 tsps oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)



  • If using dry tamarind, soak it in ⅓ cup hot water and set aside. When it cools down, mash it with your fingers and keep ready.
  • Add dal to a cooker or pot. Rinse it well a few times. Pour 1½ cups water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. If using a instant pot, set the timer to 10 minutes with pressure cook setting. If using a regular pot, cook on a medium heat until dal is soft and mushy.
  • While the dal cooks, chop cabbage. Rinse it well and drain completely. Keep this aside.
  • Meanwhile in a small tadka pan, dry roast chana dal and red chilies until deep golden and aromatic.
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Turn off and cool. Later transfer to a grinder along with coconut. Pour little water and make a fine paste.

How to Make Cabbage Kootu

  • When the pressure releases, open the cooker and check if the lentils are cooked. They should be really soft and mushy.
  • Add chopped cabbage and turmeric. Stir and cook until the cabbage is soft and tender but not overcooked. (if using Instant pot, press the saute button)
  • Add the ground kootu paste and cook just for 2 mins. If the kootu turns thick, pour little hot water and bring to consistency. It should be ideally thick but of pouring consistency.
  • When the cabbage is cooked, add tamarind water or paste. I prefer to pass soaked tamarind through the strainer. Taste test and add more salt or tamarind if needed.


  • Heat ghee or oil in the same tadka pan for tempering.
  • Add mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. When they begin to splutter, add hing.
  • Switch off and pour this to the cabbage kootu. Give a good mix and serve with rice or roti.


  • You may pressure cook the chopped cabbage with lentils but sometimes it imparts sulphur like smell.
  • To make it a one pot dish, you may fry the ingredients for paste first in your cooker or pot. Remove to a plate for cooling. Make the tadka/ tempering in the cooker first, then add the lentils and cook till soft. Add the cabbage later and then the paste. 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Cabbage Kootu Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 409mg18%
Potassium 579mg17%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 378IU8%
Vitamin C 76mg92%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Cabbage kootu recipe first published in July 2015. Updated and Republished in June 2022.

Cabbage Kootu

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
i love cabbage. it is healthy to lower cholesterol and relieve constipation. i relish dal recipes. thank you for taking time ane=d trouble

Thank you so much for this recipe! I love cabbage in all different forms but mostly I’ve been cooking it in the oven. Now in India I don’t have oven and I was looking for ways to cook it. Ever since I found this recipe I have had cabbage kootu on my menu at least once a week. ☺️☀️

Another topic… I had very delicious Ada filled with coconut-chilly stuffing in one of the tea shops… Could you share the Ada recipe, either sweet or/and savory one? Thank you in advance ?

5 stars
Hi, this tasted heavenly. No one in my house likes cabbage kootu, so really wanted a different recipe. The photo of cabbage kootu that you had posted looked delicious, so tried this recipe and it was an instant hit at home. Thanks a lot for sharing a wonderful recipe.

4 stars
I tried this and it has a simple and pleasing flavor.

5 stars
I made this recipe with moong dal turned out good

5 stars
Thanks Swasthi. This recipe came out very good

Thanks for ur recipe.. I made it for my family.. Came out well n asked me wat did I add for the flavour.. All thanks to you dear..

In the step by step you did not roast the coconut and cummin, but the recipe says to roast all the ingredients under “grind”, please clarify Thanks

delicious kootu.