Today's Menu

Friday, April 14, 2006

Vishu dishes - Moru Kutan

Today is 'Vishu' or the 'Tamil New Year'. What an auspicious day to start something new. A bit of background here, I am a Tamilian, born in Kerela and bought up in Mumbai, currently residing in California.
Phew - what a confluence of influences.
To mark Vishu, traditionally we would prepare 'Moru Kutan' - a savoury stew made with yogurt.I guess the North Indian equivalent to this would be 'Kadi'.
We also prepare 'payasam' - also known as 'kheer', a milk-based dessert.
Moru Kutan for me is the ultimate comfort food - light and nourishing. This is our traditional recipe for 'Moru Kutan' or 'yogurt stew'

serves 4


Ash Gourd ( also known as Alavan) - a few cubes
1 cup dessicated/grated coconut ( grated is definitely tastier)
1 1/2 cups sour yogurt ( the more sour the better)
2-3 green chillies ( more if you like it hotter)
a tsp of dry rice
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp methi seeds
a few curry leaves for seasoning.


Grind the coconut and the green chillies and the tsp of dry rice with enough water to make it a paste. The rice helps in thickening the curry.
Heat the ash gourd in around 1 cup water with salt and turmetic and boil on a medium flame till almost done. When it is almost done, add the coconut, green chilli and rice paste and wait till it begins to simmer.
Add the yogurt and lower the flame.
Wait till the very first simmer and then quickly switch off the flame.
Heat oil - when the oil is almost smoking add mustard seeds and methi seeds. When the seeds splutter, switch off the flame and add the curry leaves to the oil.
The leaves will crackle for a bit.
Pour this seasoning into the stew, mix well.

You can also replace ash gourd with yams - you need only a few veggies for this stew. The correct combination of coconut, dry rice and yogurt will give this stew the required thickness.
For a healthier version, some people like to use plain tofu instead of coconut and that works too.
Moru kutan is best served with rice and some home made papads.

So this is going to be my menu for today evening - goodbye and happy dining.


  • Interesting reading. Happy New year. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It would take me some time and effort to assemble these ingredients. I think I would be able to though. Have no idea what Methi or Haldi or papads are.
    Mary from Philadelphia.

    By Blogger Watercolored, at 4:57 PM  

  • I guess what I need to add is a glossary.
    methi seeds - fenugreek seeds in English
    haldi - turmeric powder
    papads - the best description that I can come up with is flat, dried lentil breads that are usually deep fried.
    Turmeric powder is used in pretty much every indian dish so it is a staple in all Indian kitchens. methi seeds is a more selective ingredient - I guess you can omit that if you have to. All the best and let me know the results of your cooking.

    By Blogger Vidya_Iyer, at 8:32 PM  

  • thanks for this - i am celebrating vishu in Paris

    Uday Balasubramanian

    By Blogger UDAYB, at 6:36 AM  

  • Vidya, We share something in common, Tamilian from Kerala, from Bombay and based in Califonia now. Morukutan is my favorite, actually made Maanga Morukootan today :-)

    By Blogger Rani Rajan, at 5:02 PM  

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