Preparation: Cut open the snake gourds along the length and run your fingers along the pith to clear off the insides. Place the gourds bunched together and slice them into pieces of 1 cm thickness or so.
Grind the roasted spices along with coconut and 3 tbsp water to a fine paste.
In a deep pan, place the gourd slices, water with pinch of turmeric. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer until the gourd is tender (for about 5-8 minutes). Keep a watch so that gourd slices are not mashed.
Once the vegetable is cooked, add the finely ground coconut-spice paste, 3/4 tsp of salt and let the gravy simmer for 2 minutes. Add a little water if the gravy gets too thick while simmering.
In a small pan, heat a tsp of oil, and put in the mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add the udad dal, saute till golden and lastly throw in the curry leaves. Transfer the tempered oil to the gourd in coconut gravy.
Honestly speaking, I have never found kootu to be a good accompaniment for chapatis, but mix it into steaming hot rice, with a lime pickle on the side, a fresh yogurt raita and I can guarantee that it’ll be your gateway to heaven.
You can make a variety of kootu using any other vegetable like bottle gourd (dudhi), ridge gourd, pumpkins, a mixture of vegetables (Poricha kootu) and even spinach.
Timesaver tip: To make kootu in a jiffy, I grind a chutney grinder full of the coconut masala, pour it into an ice tray, and remove the cubes into a ziploc bag which is stored in the freezer. Just throw 2-3 cubes of the masala into the veggie-lentil mix and all you have to do is the tempering.