Red Chard Kootu

Friday, August 26, 2011
I have always seen red chard and swiss chard in the grocery stores and farmers markets, but they looked huge to me and I have been always reluctant to pick them up. After knowing that the chard family is a storehouse of essential vitamins and minerals I had to buy them.

I made an Indian style kootu with the greens. Kootu is generally made with vegetables, coconut and cooked dhal and served along with rice. I decided to make a similar dish with the red chard. I was surprised that it tasted very much like the arai keerai we get in Tamil Nadu. This has become a regular in my household and I serve it with rice and papads.

Red Chard(can be substituted with swiss chard or any type of greens) - 3 cups
Toor Dal (split pigeon peas) - 3/4 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

To grind
Cumin seeds - 2 teaspoons
Urad dhal - 2 teaspoons
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Red Chillies - 3

Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dhal - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Red chilly - 1


  1. Wash the red chard leaves thoroughly and chop them roughly along with the red stem.

  2. Cook the toor dal with about 2.5 cups of water and turmeric powder until soft. I pressure cooked the dal to make the process quicker.

  3. In a saucepan, dry roast the two teaspoons of urad dhal until it turns fragrant and brown. Then grind it into a smooth paste along with the other ingredients - grated coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies adding a little water. 

  4. In a heavy bottomed pan, cook the chopped red chard along with the stem in a few tablespoons of water. Once it starts wilting, add the cooked dhal and the ground paste and mix everything together. Season with salt.

  5. In a saucepan, do the tempering by adding oil, mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilly one by one. Once everything starts spluttering, switch off the stove. 

  6. Pour the seasoning to the cooked chard and dhal and mix well.

Serve along with steamed rice and papads.

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