Kootu literally translates 'to add' in tamil but it can also mean 'to augment' something. It is believed that this is how this dish was born out of necessity. To make something quick with the remaining excess veggies. To augment the quantity, veggies are mixed with some lentils and ground coconut paste to form a semi consistency stew. You can make this with almost all kinds of veggies. A mix of veggies or just your favourite!
Kootu is one of the healthiest dishes from South India and the best way to include veggies in your diet. It is a semi solid side dish that is consumed along with poriyal ( dry veggie side dish) as a side dish to rice.
As you may know, South Indians love their rice and we need a gravy like kuzhambu or rasam to mix with plain white rice and some form of dry veggies on the side. Kootu here is an in between of sorts. It is a semi gravy dish that can be mixed directly with rice or make it slightly thicker and consumed as a side dish.