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Koottu: The Protein-Rich, Low-Carb Delight from South India

Updated: Feb 12

Tamilnadu and Kerala, two southern states of India, are known for their rich culinary traditions. Among the vast array of dishes they offer, Koottu stands out as a day-to-day essential. A lentil-based vegetable stew, Koottu is blessed with the intoxicating aroma of virgin coconut oil. Its simplicity in cooking and rich protein content make it a favorite among health-conscious individuals. If you're aiming to manage conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, replacing your carbohydrate-heavy meals with Koottu can be beneficial. Not only is it high in fiber, which can assist in lowering cholesterol and managing weight, but it can also be paired with wheat or bajra meals for added benefits.


Here, we'll explore two recipes with watermelon rind that are perfect for those managing diabetes, high lipid profiles, and weight.


Watermelon Rind Koottu


Ingredients:

1. Watermelon white rinds (exocarp) - 250 gms.

2. Split yellow moong dal/pigeon pea dal - 100 gms.


To Grind:

1. Coconut - 4 tablespoons (40-50 gms)

2. Big Onion - 1

3. Jeera - 1 Tablespoon

4. Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon

5. Green chili - 1

6. Salt - To taste

7. Fried dal - 1 tablespoon


To Temper:

1. Coconut oil - 1 teaspoon

2. Curry Leaves - 10

3. Asafoetida - 1 teaspoon


Method:

1. Pressure cook watermelon rind and dal together for 1 or 2 whistles.

2. Grind the ingredients listed under 'To Grind' and combine with the boiled dal and watermelon rinds.

3. Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes.

4. In a separate pan, heat coconut oil and add mustard and curry leaves.

5. Once they splutter, add asafoetida.

6. Pour this tempered mixture into the Koottu and serve warm in a bowl.


Watermelon Rind Curd Pachadi



A refreshing twist to the traditional pachadi, this recipe combines the crispness of watermelon rinds with the soothing properties of curd. It's an excellent accompaniment to rasam rice or can be eaten on its own.


Ingredients:

1. Watermelon white rinds - 200 gms.

2. Curd - 500 ml


To Grind:

1. Green chili - 1

2. Desiccated fresh coconut - 2 tablespoons

3. Jeera - 1 teaspoon

4. Salt - To taste


To Temper:

1. Oil - 1 teaspoon

2. Curry leaves - 5

3. Mustard - 1/4 teaspoon


Method:

1. Pressure cook the watermelon rinds for one whistle.

2. Grind the ingredients listed under 'To Grind' and add to the pressure-cooked watermelon rinds.

3. Mix in the fresh curd.

4. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard and curry leaves.

5. Pour this over the curd and watermelon rind mixture.

6. Serve chilled in a bowl.


Note on Health Benefits: The curd, rich in probiotics, utilizes these prebiotics for fermentation, converting them into short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. This fatty acid acts as a brain booster, offering protection against ailments like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. So, besides being a delightful dish, it aids students in sharpening their focus and learning capacities.


Incorporating watermelon rinds into these traditional South Indian dishes not only reduces waste but also packs a punch in terms of health benefits. Enjoy these recipes and revel in the fusion of taste and health.

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