Cooking the dal and chow chow in the pressure cooker:
In a pressure cooker or a pressure cooker stackable pan, add the chopped vegetables, moong dal, ground turmeric, salt, and water. Please read the notes above regarding adding the water and moong dal. Make sure to add the dal first, then the water followed by the vegetables, turmeric, and salt.
Pressure cook for three hisses or whistles. Let the pressure subside and take the veggies and dal out. (Please check recipe notes for making it as one pot kootu)
Preparing the spice paste-
You can do this parallelly when the veggies are cooking. In a mixer jar, add the coconut, dried red chilies, and cumin seeds. Add about ½ cup of water and grind into a paste. Set it aside. And rinse the mixer jar with ¼ cup of water and reserve that water as well.
Preparing the kootu and tempering-
In a pan or kadai, add the cooked vegetable along with dal. Do not drain the water and add the water as well.
I let this vegetable-dal mix to cook for 10 minutes over medium heat so that the moong dal can become soft. If your moong dal is soft and mushy, then bring it to a boil or cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Now add the ground paste and ¼ cup of the reserved water. Check for salt at this stage and adjust as required.
Bring it one a boil and turn off the heat.
In a separate tempering pan, heat the coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to sputter, turn off the heat and add it to the kootu. You can relish the kootu just with rice and pickle or chips or serve it as a side with rice, rasam or rice and sambar.
Like I mentioned before, you can do the tempering at the beginning or temper separately and add it.
Adjust the red chilies and salt according to your preference.
And the same goes for cumin seeds as well. I usually add more cumin seeds, but my MIL's version has a subtle flavor. You can go up to 1.5 tbsp for this measure, but not more than that.
You can replace chow chow with ridgegourd, bottle gourd, ashgourd, snake gourd. If you use these veggies, the timing remains the same. For zucchini and cucumber, you don't need to pressure cook the dal. I have a cucumber kootu recipe coming soon.
One-Pot Kootu: You can make this as a one-pot kootu or pressure cooker kootu as well. First, do the tempering in the pressure pan. Then add the veggie, dal, salt, ground turmeric and pressure cook for three whistles. Let the pressure subside and mix the dal-veggie thoroughly. Add the ground paste and bring this mix to a boil in the pressure cooker itself. For more flavor, drizzle 1 tsp of coconut oil after turning the heat off.