Keerai Kootu (South Indian Spinach and Lentils)

  • Author: Kavitha
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins


This keerai kootu is a very typical south Indian way of cooking spinach with lentils



  • 1 lb (450 grams) Spinach Leaves
  • 1/4 cup split Yellow Mung Bean (pasi or payatham paruppu)
  • 1.5 Tablespoon Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hing / Asafetida
  • 1/2 cup Water

For grinding

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Coconut
  • 34 Dry Red Chilli (adjust per spice required)
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds (jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (optional)

For tempering

  • 2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Urad Dal (black gram)


  1. Cook the lentils separately such that they have a bite to them. You can cook in a pressure cooker or a pan.
  2. Wash the spinach leaves well and chop them roughly.
  3. Add the spinach to a pot / pan. Add 1/2 cup water. Add salt and asafetida (hing).
  4. Mix well and cook the spinach on medium heat for 5-10 minutes (until the leaves have wilted).
  5. Meanwhile, roast coconut, red chilli, black pepper. (optional – both ways is fine).
  6. Add the mix (coconut, black peppercorns, dry red chili) with cumin seeds to a food processor. Grind to form a coarse mixture. Add the cooked spinach leaves to the mixer. (Do not discard the water).
  7. Grind to a coarse paste. Add the spinach-coconut paste back to the pan with the leftover water.
  8. Add the cooked lentils and mix well. Bring it to a boil. Taste and add more salt if required.
  9. For tempering – heat oil in a pan and add the Urad Dal. Fry until it turns golden brown. Add the seeds to the spinach and lentils. Mix well.
  10. Serve with rice or roti, It tastes best with rice and rasam or veththa kuzhambu or sambar.

To Store

  1. You can cover and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat before you want to serve teh keerai kootu

  • Category: Side
  • Cuisine: South Indian