Pumpkin Kootu (Lentils with Pumpkin and Fresh Coconut)

Sweet pumpkin spiked with chillies gives Reza Mahammad's lentil dish a special Keralan twist
By Reza Mahammad
Pumpkin Kootu (Lentils with Pumpkin and Fresh Coconut)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 200 g toor lentils
  • 500 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 400 g yellow pumpkin, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
  • 1 coconut, finely grated
  • 4 green chillies, split along their length
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

For the tempering:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 dried chillies, split along their length

Tips and Suggestions

Toor lentils are also known as tuvar or arhar lentils. Frozen packs of grated coconut, and curry leaves can be bought from ethnic grocers.


1. Place the lentils in a saucepan; pour over the water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin pieces and turmeric to the pan and bring to a boil.

2. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the lentils and pumpkin are really soft in texture. If the lentils get too thick, add a dash more water. Stir in the coconut. The consistency should be similar to a thick soup.

3. For the tempering: heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan and toss in the mustard seeds followed by the curry leaves and split chillies. As soon as the sizzling quietens down (after about 20 seconds) tip this spice mix into the hot lentils.

4. Serve hot with boiled rice or Indian bread.

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