B for Beans kooTu

Smell of curry leaves. Clink of bangles while doing the taDka. Smell of coriander and hing. I don’t know whether it was all of these or something inexplicable that changed my hatred for beans into a newfound love and longing even. I remember carefully screening out the smallest piece of beans from kozhambu much to the dismay of my mother who would try her best to “cheat” me by crushing or making teeny bits of the vegetable to make sure it went into my tummy unnoticed, by me. By me. The hater of beans. My mother never ever understood why anyone would hate beans. But then, there I was, a bindle of contradictions.

I can’t tell you how it all changed because I really have no clue. But I can tell you that beans kooTu is now one of those dishes I can eat anytime. Like rice, dal and potato fry or curd rice, it is my other comfort food. It brings back my memories with a suddenness that I can’t place. It makes me long for those days when the first rays of sunlight made their way through the lattice and lit up my mother’s kitchen as she made the taDka for the beans playa when I sat waiting for her to make my hair and making desperate pleas for jam with chappati instead of beans. It is funny how things change and memories hit you with an unimaginable force and make you long for that dish you once despised.

The thing about memories is that you can also re-create them to some extent. Like, when I made this beans kooTu with amma on Skype for the alphabet challenge. 

You need:

  1. Nostalgia or a sudden urge to make the dish
  2. French beans (I used 300 gm) finely chopped (or if you are in the mood to disobey, chop them in large chunks)
  3. Moong dal (1 cup)
  4. Salt to taste

To grind:

  1. Desiccated coconut (according to your taste, I used about 2/3 cup)
  2. Corriander leaves (a bunch)
  3. cumin seeds
  4. Green chillies (2)
  5. Dried chilies (2) – change as per your preference

All that you need to do is:

1. Boil moong dal in water (I used about 2 ¼ cups of water) until the moong dal is almost cooked.

2. Add the chopped beans to the moong dal and let it boil.

3. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients under the “to grind” section.

4. Once the beans are cooked, add the ground paste and add salt.

5. Let it boil a bit and you will know when it is done.


I think one of the biggest reasons why I love cooking is how it takes me back in time with such ease. It is amazing how churning up a meal in less than 30 minutes can take you to a place thousands of miles away. Right from the smell of the taDka to the way I arrange the ingredients on the kitchen platform to the sound of the mixer to how I finely select the best coriander leaves – just about everything reminds me of how much my mother resides within me. And that, is one amazing feeling I can’t get enough of.


  1. Bikramjit · July 13, 2014

    YES I KNOW THE FEELING … this made me nostalgic..

    I tried making SAAG the other week and failed miserably but that did not sadden me , rather I cried for half the day because it reminded me of all those days at the village .. when saag was being made .. we did not have fancy gas at that time so it was on a chulha.. and the dried cotton plants used for fire ..

    and then after all that crying and remembeing it brought big big smiles tooooooooooo .. sometimes I think I am stupid 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2014

      Bikram, what you wrote here is so touching.. I really know what you mean 🙂
      And you are wonderful! 🙂

  2. The Girl Next Door · July 13, 2014

    Beautiful post, Kismi! I can feel the nostalgia in your words.
    We haven’t ever tried beans kootu at home. Your recipe sounds interesting – I should try it out some time.
    We do make an avarekkai kootu in almost a similar fashion, though. I grind together fresh, grated coconut, cumin and green chillies to a paste for that, and chop the avarekkai into large-ish pieces. Do a tadka of hing, cumin and mustard in a pressure cooker, add the chopped avarekkai, add moong dal, the ground paste, salt to taste and the required amount of water. Give it about 4 whistles. Done!

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2014

      Haan, we make that too! 🙂 Your recipe made me realise that I had forgotten to include cumin here! Thanks a lot, TGND 🙂

  3. The Girl Next Door · July 13, 2014

    And did you get around to making the cheese parathas?

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2014

      Oh yes! I did! Turned out very nice 🙂 I used cheddar and K loved it too! Thank you!

  4. R's Mom · July 14, 2014

    I dont like beans..but the kottu is something I eat with rasam rice 🙂 and its nice

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2014

      Ha ha, hello fellow beans disliker 😛 Though I can’t say same pinch anymore! 😛

  5. greenboochi · July 14, 2014

    Love this post Kismi! Your nostalgia gets on to me too 🙂

    Would try this kootu for sure!

    • kismitoffeebar · July 22, 2014

      Thanks GB 🙂 I know that you can always relate to my nostalgia 🙂

  6. Pixie · July 22, 2014

    ah yes! How I used to hate beans Kootu! 😛
    now, I look for French beans so that I can make them at home! Nostalgia is a funny companion!

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