October 12, 2020

Vegetable Molagootal - Vegan vegetable curry (Palakkad Cuisine)

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 Molagootal is an authentic and traditional recipe from Palakkad cuisine.  There is a slight difference in the kootu  and molagootal  though it might look the same .

In Tamil "Molagu" means "Black pepper " while in Malayalam or Palakkad Lingo "Molaku/Molagu" means " dry red chillies" . So initially I thought Molagootal or Milagutal has pepper ,going by the name but I was mistaken.  I have some lovely friends of Palakkad origin who cleared this air for me .  Today's recipe of mix veg molagootal was shared with me by Chandra aunty who I befriended through a food group on social media .

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Palakkad / Palghat - some facts 

  • For the uninformed, Palakkad or Palghat is a city in the southern state of Kerala . Like any other city in Kerala , Palakkad also has lot of temples , scenic surroundings , rivers and is a quaint and peaceful town.
  • Palakkad has close proximity to the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu , hence Tamil and Malayalam are widely spoken by the natives of Palakkad . 
  • Palakkad Junction is the nearest railway station.  Formerly it was known as Olavakkode Junction . This city is well connected by roadways and railways .
Palakkad Iyers / Kerala Iyers - who are they? 
  • Generations ago, many Tamil Brahmins migrated to this beautiful place and their traditions and culture reflect a fusion of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala influence. 
  •  The Tamil Brahmins who hail from Palakkad are called as Palakkad Iyers or Kerala Iyers and have a distinct dialect of Tamil which is again a mix of Malayalam and Tamil . Colloquialy it is called as Palakkad Tamizh .
  • Most often the Brahmins would settle around a particular temple and their daily schedule would involve activities related to temple, special poojas , veda patshalas and various other rituals. This establishment is commonly called as "Agraharam". 
  • Each Agraharam would be identified based on a temple around which it is established.  For example the establishment around a Ganapathy temple would be known as Ganapathy Agraharam and over time the families living there would be identified by that Agraharam name.
  • Today we can find Palakkad Iyers all over the world and they have marked their presence in almost every field .
  • They are very soft spoken and good natured .
  • Notable personalities like Shankar Mahadevan - the ace singer , Vidya Balan - the Bollywood Diva have their ancestral roots in Palakkad. 

What is Palakkad Cuisine?

  • Traditionally Palakkad cuisine makes use of native vegetables like ashgourd, red pumpkin, raw banana , tubers like yam , taro root , sweet potato etc  . The basic flavor is not very spicy or pungent . It is mild and suitable to all .
  • Fresh Coconut, dry red chillies , udad dhall (black gram), pepper , ginger , green chillies , cumin and curry leaves are widely used as part of spices and spice paste/mixes.
  • Jackfruit, mangoes , Nendran Banana are the most sought after fruits and used in a variety of sweets and pradhaman (kheer).
  • Molagooshyam , Molagootal, Puli Inji , Aviyal,Chakka Pradhaman , Paal Payasam , Mezhukkuveratti , Thoran , Masiyal are some popular items from Palakkad cuisine.

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This is the 268th week in our Foodie Monday Bloghop and Narmadha of Nam's Corner suggested we share recipes with Coconut .
As we all know in Kerala and other coastal regions of India , coconut and coconut oil is used in plenty as we can find Coconuts in abundance in and around any coastal region .  I am going to try her simple recipe of "Dal Moth Mixture" this time for Diwali . 

You can never separate a South Indian and coconut as they are both made for each other . We use coconut in almost every single recipe in some way or the other . 

Coconut tree is known as the Kalpavriksha
Kalpavriksha means a tree where every single part of the tree is useful in one way or the other.

  •  The coconut water from the tender coconut is very healthy and delicious. A very good source of rehydration for our body.
  • When tender coconut is let to dry it is becomes  Nariyal / Copra and is used in cooking and also to extract coconut oil
  • The coconut husk, called coir, is used for rope making.
  • Coconut leaves are used in making fans , make shift roofs , mats etc 
  • Midrib of the tree when dried is used for making boats and decorative pieces too.
  • Even the dried coconut shells are used as a source of fuel along with wood and logs to fire up traditional stoves in villages.
Now let us head to this very simple but tasty recipe of mix vegetable molagootal.

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Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 30 mins
Complexity - Simple
Serves - 3 to 4
Recipe courtesy  - Mrs Chandra Muthukrishnan 


To grind 
8 to 10 tbsp fresh grated coconut 
3 to 4 dry red chillies 
2 tsp jeera /cumin seeds 

For the molagootal 
2 cups chopped mix vegetables  (beans, carrots, white pumpkin , peas , potato)
1/4 cup thoor dhall/ pigeon peas 
1/4 cup moong dhall/split peas 
Pinch of turmeric
Fresh curry leaves 
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp udad dhall 
Salt as needed
Pinch of asafoetida 

  • Wash both the dhalls and pressure cook with turmeric until soft and mushy. 
  • Grind the coconut, red chillies , cumin with water to a fine paste. 
  • Boil the chopped vegetables with little salt until they are 3/4th done.
  • Add in the ground masala paste and stir well . Cook until the raw flavor of coconut and red chilies is lost . Adjust water so that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom and burn .
  • Stir in the cooked dhall and mix it well until it reaches a rolling boil and then turn it off.
  • Prepare a tempering of mustard seeds , udad dhall , curry leaves and asafoetida in hot coconut oil and pour it over the molagootal.
  • Serve it hot with rice and puli inji or any raita . 
Some delicious sweets using Coconut that you may want to try for the upcoming Navratri festival 


  1. Such an informative post on Pallakad Cuisine Priya! Loved your pic and the coconut based lentil and vegetable curry. I love Kerala avial, so would love to try out this curry aswell.

    1. Thanks dear Poonam . Pls do try.it goes very well with hot rice and some roasted papad. My hubby loves to have this with paruppu podi rice .

  2. We love coconut based dishes and this molagootal with veggies looks so inviting. Lovely presentation of the dish and need some hot hot rice to enjoy this.

    1. thanks Narmadha ... this molagootal goes well with any kind of thayir pachadi and some fried appalams ... :-)

  3. Interesting to read about Tamil Brahmins. India is a country of so many different communities with so many different customs, traditions, and dishes associated with them. from he time I've joined FM, I've learnt so many different dishes. Priya your Vegetable Molagootal looks so inviting. Hopefully will be able to try it out after Adhik Maas as hubby is now tired of the usual Gujju style dals I make.

    1. Thanks Mayuri ji
      Am glad I have contributed to your new recipe kitty. Indeed FM is a very nice platform to explore various cuisines and stretch beyond our comfort zone

  4. I married into a Palakkad Iyer family, and Molagootal is an eternal favourite. :) We make this so often. Love the way you have prepared and presented this dish!

    1. Oh nice to know that..palakkadans and molagootal are inseparable. I have a friend , his mom would say molagootal and puli inji runs in the body more than blood ...heheh

  5. You have shared the Pallakad Cuisine in details Priya !
    Vegetable Molagootal, the coconut based lentil and veggie curry looks so so inviting ....

    1. Thanks Poonam . I am glad that you all have loved the recipe and the history of Palakkad

  6. Loved reading every bit about Palakkad Iyer . Their cuisine is so distinct yet simple and flavourful. Mix veg molagootal looks Super tempting . It is bursting with flavours. Coconut and south Indians are inseparable . Beautiful clicks too.

    1. Thanks Preethi . I love palakkad cuisine and have always wanted to glorify their culture and cuisine. This was the best way I could do it :-) glad you all have liked the write up

  7. Indeed a wonderfully articulated blog post and recipe. So nice to read about my own roots. It is a pleasure when someone give respect and shares a well loved recipe. Love molagootal with avakai very much.

    Now a cheeky comment like a typical palakkadan would say (I've myself heard this from mom so many times😃).. Manja podi kunjum adhigama potayo.. Color romba bright.

    1. Wah a compliment from a palakkadan...feather on my cap :-)

  8. I love coconut based curries. And this curry with dal and vegetable looks absolutely delicious. Loved your click. So informative post. Loved reading. Its great to know a new recipe.

    1. Thanks dear for reading and appreciating the write up .feels good .

  9. Very informative post on the palakkad community and the details about the cuisine.. there is so much to explore in our country for not only food but also so many varied customs and traditions..the stew/curry looks so comforting and nutritious and so appealing to eyes.. beautiful color.. it's perfect for coming Delhi winters when we survive on soups stews and warm food.

    1. Indeed our cuisine is so vast and just as dialect keeps changing every 100 kms..there is so much to explore .thanks for reading the write up

  10. Loved the way presented molagootal in coconut, its very inviting. Very well explained about Kerala traditional. Can feel the flavors of coconut gravy, just need some hot steamed rice, ghee and some papads.

    1. Thanks dear ....ya ghee pappad are best with this


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