Rinse the moong dal and add it to a small pressure cooker insert- pan/small vessel. For ¼ cup of moong dal, I added ¾ cup of water and ⅛ tsp of turmeric powder.
Pressure cook for three whistles, let the pressure subside naturally, and mash the dal and set it aside. Check recipe notes for other options.
Blanch the cauliflower:
Bring 1.5 liters of water to a rolling boil and turn off the heat. Add ⅛ tsp of turmeric powder and ½ tsp of salt and mix well. Add the cauliflower florets and let them sit for 5 minutes in hot water.
After 5 minutes, drain the water and set aside the cauliflower.
Prepare the kootu masala:
Add the cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, dried red chilies, asafoetida, and dry coconut in a small pan. (PS - I don't roast them one by one. I roast them all together)
Roast until the coconut turns light brown or for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Then grind it into a smooth paste by adding ⅓ to ½ cup of water.
Prepare the cauliflower kootu:
Heat a saucepan and 2 tsps of coconut oil. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, and chana dal. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves also. Saute for 10 seconds.
Now add the blanched cauliflower, salt, and ½ cup of water. Gently mix—cover and cook for 4 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove the lid, add the green peas and cook for 2 minutes.
At this stage, add the ground masala, mashed moong dal, and gently mix.
Bring the kootu to a gentle boil and add the cilantro and turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice or roti.
You can cook the dal in Instant Pot. Check my instant pot chow chow kootu post or use frozen moong dal too—Thaw the frozen moong dal for this cauliflower kootu.
Instant Pot version with frozen moong dal - Blanch the cauliflower, thaw the moong dal and prepare the kootu masala. Do the tempering in the inner pot and turn off the IP. Add the cauliflower, green peas, kootu masala, moong dal, and salt. Pressure cook for just one minute and release the pressure quickly. Gently mix and serve.
Do not overcook the cauliflower. Make sure the florets are whole but soft and tender.
Adjust the salt, pepper, and dried red chilies as per your preference.
You can make similar poricha kootu with chow chow, ash gourd, broad beans, ridge gourd, snake gourd, cabbage, etc. The cooking time varies. Either steam it separately or cook it along with moong dal.