Zucchini paal kootu (milk based gravy)

So, my friend Lakshmi one of my earliest blog critics who gave me a lot of tips & suggestions related to blogging messaged once asking if I have tried this paal kootu (milk based gravy) with zucchini! This was when I had made some other dish with Zucchini (should be an italian pasta which is what I usually end up using Zucchini for). She mentioned that her sister does this regularly and passed on the recipe to me. I tried it that very day since I had zucchinis at home (yes, I am cool like that). The recipe she gave called for a bit of sugar & it also had peas in it. I really liked it a lot and knew I had to blog it. But ofcourse, I wanted to make some tweaks to this recipe and adapt it to my taste buds (aka spice it up a bit :D). I modified the original recipe she gave me by doing the following things –

  1. Added turmeric for the beautiful yellow colour.
  2. Added green chillies (both chopped & ground form) for a touch of spice under neath the milk’s inherent sweetness.
  3. Cut out the sugar. I feel the zucchini & milk sweetness is enough for me.
  4. Added a bit of coconut – for some reason, mentally for me a kootu has to have a bit of coconut in it :D.
  5. Added rice flour for thickness.

The thing I love a lot about vegetables like zucchini is how versatile they are. Owing to the fact that, they are quite bland by nature, you can practically use it in any dish you want. You can make sweet or savoury out it. I see so many recipes where zucchini fritters are made, zucchini muffins/ bread is made. So basically you get my point – the creative options are limitless. I have never eaten zucchini growing up & so never thought to pair it with the Indian condiments & make it Indian :). My in laws still have a bit of taboo in tasting this dish since they are a bit averse to trying new vegetables. Can’t blame them but I feel sorry for them that they can’t have this :D. Zucchini is a super low carb veggie, one of those loads of water content veggie & all of those things rosy and nice for health :D. The best part of this dish is that it comes together in literally 15 minutes. Pour this over a bed of hot rice with a dollop of ghee & you can go straight to heaven without techically dying :D. Ok, from all the above if you can’t guess that I love your dish, then please take an IQ test soonly, hahaha.


(This last bit is the effect of me having read through a lot of blogs over the last hour :D). won’t last, don’t worry!


Zucchini paal kootu (milk based gravy)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2 people
  • 1 no zucchini
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tsp rice flour
For the tadka/ seasoning
  • 0.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch asafodita
  • 1 no green chilli
  • few curry leaves
  1. Using a peeler, peel of the zucchini skin & chop it into bite size pieces. 

  2. Heat a pan and add zucchini, turmeric, 3/4 tsp salt & 3/4cup water. Let the zucchini cook.

  3. When the zucchini is half cooked (about 5 mins on high heat with a lid on), add the milk.

  4. Check & adjust for salt & do not fully close with pan with a lid. Just leave a small opening to ensure the milk doesn't boil over. 

  5. Meanwhile, grind the coconut, rice flour & green chillies with some water to a smooth paste. 

  6. Add this mixture to the zucchini when it's almost fully cooked (3 minutes after adding the milk).

  7. Let the whole mixture boil for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. 

  8. In a small pan/ kadai, heat some coconut oil. 

  9. Add mustard seeds & let it splutter.

  10. Now add a pinch of asafodita, green chillies & curry leaves and saute for a bit. 

  11. Turn off the heat. 

  12. Pour this seasoning on the zucchini kootu/ gravy. Mix well. 

  13. Serve hot on a bed of steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee. 

Recipe Notes
  1. You can omit the coconut or rice flour in this dish though I would prefer not to. 
  2. You can skip adding turmeric if you don't prefer the colour or taste (but then again, why would you?:))
  3. You can add peas along with zucchini while cooking. Goes well with zucchini. 

Stepwise pictures

Peel of zucchini skin & chop into bite size pieces.

Heat a pan & add the zucchini, some salt, some turmeric powder & some water. Cover with a lid and let it cook.

Meanwhile, in a mixer jar add grated coconut, green chillies, rice flour & some water.

Grind till smooth.

Meanwhile, zucchini is half cooked which happens in about 5 minutes (looks like this).

Add some milk & do not close the lid fully so as to ensure the milk doesn’t boil over.


In about 3 minutes of having added the milk, add the ground paste & check and adjust for salt.

Boil the mixture for another 2 minutes after adding the paste & turn off the heat.

In a small pan/ kadai, heat some coconut oil, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Then add chopped green chillies, curry leaves & a bit of asafodita. Saute & turn off the heat.

Add this seasoning to the zucchini kootu/ gravy.

Mix well.

Serve hot on a bed of hot rice with a dollop of ghee.

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