In a pressure cooker or pan or add the moong dal, ¾ cup water, and ground turmeric. Pressure cook for two to three whistles. I went with the PIP method and cooked in my stove-top pressure cooker using stackable pans for three whistles.
Let the pressure subside and mash the dal and set aside.
Grind the kootu paste-
In a mixer jar, add the grated coconut, cumin seeds, and dried red chilies and grind into a paste by adding ¼ cup of water. Rinse the mixer jar using the remaining ¼ cup of water set it aside.
Prepare the cucumber kootu-
In the soapstone vessel, add the chopped cucumbers, ½ cup of water, and salt.
Mix and let it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Cucumber cooks pretty fast.
At this stage, add the cooked moong dal. Mix it thoroughly and then add the ground paste.
Mix it and check for consistency and, if required, add water. Once the kootu starts to boil, turn off the heat. Kalchatti retains the heat even after turning off the heat. So don't let it simmer for long unless you are going to transfer it to another bowl.
Tempering the kootu-
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.
Serve the kootu hot with any rice dishes.
Instead of cucumber, you can use zucchini and follow the same method and the cooking time. But for other vegetables, the cooking time might vary. Add more water and let the veggies cook until they turn soft.
Make sure the cucumber is not bitter. Bitter cucumber completely ruins the taste of the kootu.
You can cook the moong dal in the soapstone, but I cooked it in the pressure cooker as part of meal preparation. If you want to cook the moong dal in the kalchatti, first add the moong dal, double the amount of moong dal, and ground turmeric. Cook until the dal is 90% done. Make sure to mix in between and also add water as required. When the dal is 90% done, add the chopped cucumber and follow the steps as mentioned in the recipe steps.
You can do the tempering in the kalchatti in the beginning, but I personally like to add tempering in the end if I am steaming the veggies in the open pot method. If I cook the vegetable and dal together like in my chow chow kootu, I will go with tempering in the beginning—just temper as per your convenience.
Skip thing to make this kootu gluten-free.
Last but not least, adjust the salt and spice according to your preference.