Rinse ½ cup moong dal a couple of times in water. Then add the lentils in a thick bottomed pot or pan.
Next add 1 to 2.5 cups chopped cabbage. Also add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and 2 to 2.25 cups water.
Place the pan on a stove top. Cover it with a lid.
Simmer on a medium or low-medium flame till both the moong dal and the lentils are cooked.
Do check and stir at intervals, while the cabbage and dal is cooking. If required you can add more water.
While the cabbage and moong lentils are cooking, you can prepare the coconut paste. Take ¼ cup grated coconut, 1 to 2 green chilies, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds in a chutney grinder jar. Add 2 to 3 tbsp water for grinding. For spicy taste, add 3 to 4 green chilies.
Grind to a smooth paste. Cover and keep aside.
The moong lentils need to be softened well and become mushy. Mash the moong lentils with a spoon. There should not be any separately visible moong dal. Cooking moong dal and cabbage takes about 40 to 45 minutes on a low-medium flame.
Now add the ground coconut paste. Season with salt.
Mix very well. Add some water at this step if the dal looks very thick.
Simmer on a low flame for 4 to 5 minutes. Do stir at intervals so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Then add 2 teaspoons rice flour. Rice flour is optional and you can skip if you want. Rice flour is used for thickening.
Mix very well and cook the kootu for 5 to 6 minutes till the dal comes to a gentle boil. do stir while dal is cooking, so that the lentils do not stick to the base of the pan. Switch off the flame and cover the pan.
tempering for cabbage kootu
Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Then add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon urad dal. Fry till the mustard seeds crackle and the urad dal turns golden. Instead of coconut oil, you can also use sesame oil (gingelly oil) or peanut or sunflower oil.
Then add 10 to 12 curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir and then switch off the flame.
Pour the tempered ingredients in the cabbage kootu. Cover the pan for 5 minutes so that the tempering flavours infuse in the kootu.
Then add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Coriander leaves are optional and you can skip if you do not have.