Category: Toor Dal

Gongura Adugula Pappu

My gongura love has many avatars. One that frequently appears on Mahanandi is amma’s beloved gongura pappu. Today’s gongura avatar is from my mother-in-law’s kitchen, a Nandyala standard and Vijay’s all-time favorite. It’s a simple mélange of familiar toor dal and fresh gongura, does not use lot of ingredients, but relies on slow cooking for a rich and satisfying flavor. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape. Back in the old days, the dal is placed on the bottom, topped with gongura and simmered in earthen-ware pots on firebricks. Bottom is adugu in Telugu, so the name “adugula pappu“. This pride of Nandyala is an artisan food. I feel fortunate to prepare it at home with garden-fresh gongura and share it today on Mahanandi.

Garden Fresh Gongura
Garden-fresh Gongura

Gongura Adugula Pappu
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

Ingredients:

    Fresh gongura leaves, coarsely chopped, about 6 cups, tightly packed
    1/2 cup, toor dal (kandi pappu)
    1 medium sized, red onion or shallot, chopped to chunks, about a cup
    6 to 8 green chilli, Indian or Thai variety, about 3-inch length each, finely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

    For Hing Tadka:
    2 tablespoons, peanut oil
    10 to 12, fresh curry leaves
    1/2 teaspoon each – chana dal and urad dal
    Pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds
    1/8 teaspoon, hing (inguva)

Method:
1. Soak toor dal in two cups of water for one hour. Drain.

2. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green chilli. Saute until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the gongura leaves. Saute the leaves until they collapse.

3. Add the soaked toor dal to gongura. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Mix well with a whisk or sturdy spoon. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the toor dal is tender for about 15 to 20 minutes. Moisture from fresh gongura is enough to cook the toor dal to tender, and adding extra water is not necessary. But if there is a need, add little. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape.

4. Do the hing tadka. In a small pot, heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, one after another, and toast to fragrance. When mustard seeds start to pop, add hing. Stir for couple of seconds. Add the gongura-toor dal mix to this hing tadka. Gently mix well.

5. Serve gongura adugula pappu hot with rice and some ghee for a taste of tradition.

Gongura Adugula Pappu with Rice and Masala Vada
Gongura Adugula Pappu with Masuri Rice and Masala Vada ~ Meal on a Summer Day

Methi Turai Dal (Menthi Beerakaaya Pappu)

Methi in my garden is now fully grown. Thanks to the frequent rains and pleasant weather we had for the past few weeks. I dug out few plants and plucked the fresh leaves and tender stems to prepare methi dal for today’s meal. I also added turai, because I thought mildly sweet turai would complement methi’s herbal flavor. Individually also they are best friends with toor dal. Together, methi and turai made an excellent team-toor dal day.

Methi is easy to grow in garden beds or in small containers, tastes good and known to balance blood sugar levels. If you have never tried growing methi, please do try this season. Go to an Indian grocery and purchase a packet of methi seeds. Soak some in water for a day. Wrap the soaked seeds in a wet muslin (cheese) cloth for a day or two. Seeds start to sprout. Plant the methi sprouts in soil where it gets sunlight. Water once a day. Within a month methi will be ready to harvest for dal, curry or roti.

Fresh Methi and Turai

Methi Turai Dal (Menthi Beerakaaya Pappu)
(for 2 or 4, for 4 to 2 meals)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup, toor dal (kandi pappu)
2 cups, fresh methi leaves and pinched tender stems
2 cups, turai pieces (peel the turai ridges and thinly slice)
1 small red onion or shallot. chopped
8 to 10, Indian or Thai green chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon, tamarind pulp
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Method:
In a pressure cooker, take toor dal. Wash and clean the dal. Add the methi leaves, turai, onion, green chilli, tamarind and turmeric. Add about 2 cups of water. Mix. Close the lid and pressure-cook the dal to soft consistency. Allow the pressure to come down and then remove the lid. Add salt, about half teaspoon or to taste, and mash the cooked ingredients gently with a wood masher or a sturdy whisk.

Season the dal with garlic tadka. For garlic tadka, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a medium-sized pot. When oil is hot, add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 8 curry leaves, and a pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds. Saute the ingredients to fragrance. Add the methi-turai dal to this garlic tadka. Mix well and serve the methi-turai dal with rice or roti.

Methi Turai Dal with Rice
Methi-Turai Dal and Turai Curry with Rice ~ For Meal Today and
for Suma’s Delicious Dals From India Event

Celebrating Spring: Potato Sambar

You know, when something is good, it becomes a classic. This potato sambar, for example. I remember two generations before me, my mother and grandmother, enjoying this delicious and hearty dish. Idly and potato sambar – “more amma…” I would always ask for more when I was a child. Who knew digging into the earth for potatoes would unearth all these precious memory jewels as well! Fresh produce patriotism plus the nostalgia – that’s what this potato sambar is for me now.

I realize that potatoes are not for everyone in this calorie-conscious atmosphere. But baby and new crop potatoes are truly wonderful, and I do think they are worth that extra mile walk.

Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar
Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar

Potato Sambar
(for 2 or 4, for 4 to 2 meals)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup, Toor dal
2 medium sized, fresh potatoes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds (no dice)
10 pearl onions, peel the skin and cut off the ends
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
Half lime-sized tamarind
1 tablespoon, sambar powder
1/4 teaspoon each, red chilli powder and turmeric powder
1 teaspoon, salt or to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

For Curry Leaf Tadka:
2 teaspoons, peanut oil
One sprig of fresh curry leaves, 6 small dry red chilli pieces, 1/4 teaspoon each – mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and hing

Method:
Toor dal: In a heavy cooking pot or pressure cooker, take toor dal. Wash and clean the dal. Add two cups of water, quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Mix, cover and cook until the dal is soft and then mash it to smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Tamarind: Soak half lime-sized ball of tamarind in one cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze it out between your fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds.

Prepare the Sambar: In a big pot, heat to medium and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek, hing and curry leaves and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onion and brown lightly. Add the potatoes and tomatoes. Cook, partially covered until potatoes are fork-tender.

Add the tamarind extract, mashed toor dal that was kept aside to the vegetables. Stir in sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt. Add a cup of water. Allow this to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and remove from heat.

Serve potato sambar warm with rice, idlies or vada. Or fill a cup with sambar and sip with a spoon. However you serve, potato sambar makes a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Potato Sambar and Rava Idly
Potato Sambar and Rava Idly ~ A Meal, Last Weekend

Lemongrass Rasam

What can be better in a bittercold winter than a bowl of hot, savory rasam! I like rasam and I also enjoy experimenting. The result is today’s recipe. To a traditional toor dal based rasam, I have added lemongrass. The bright, lemony herbal flavor of lemongrass could really cheer up casual rasam, I thought, and it did. Recipe is easy. Simmer the cooked dal with lemongrass and other regular rasam additions. No tomatoes, but ghee tadka is incorporated at the end to harmonize everything. Serve the rasam hot in a bowl and sip. Heaven must taste like this.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass Rasam
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 fistfuls of toor dal and 2 cups of water
1 shallot, finely chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon, finely sliced lemongrass
1 tablespoon each, tamarind pulp and jaggery
1 teaspoon each, salt and rasam powder
1/2 teaspoon, chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
few sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For Ghee Tadka:
1 tablespoon, ghee
1 small sprig of fresh curry leaves
pinch each, cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida

Method:

Take toor dal and water in a pressure cooker. Cover and cook until the dal is tender. Gently mash the dal to smooth.

To the cooked dal, add shallot, lemongrass, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Also stir in salt, rasam powder, chilli powder and turmeric. Add a cup of water. Partially cover and simmer for additional 10 minutes until you see froth coming up on top of the vessel. Switch off the heat and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a small skillet. Add curry leaves, cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida in that order. Saute, stirring constantly. When mustard seeds start to pop out of skillet, pour this sizzling tadka over lemongrass rasam. Mix well and serve immediately. Sip the rasam or eat mixed with rice. Comforting and nourishing, the rasam experience will warm the wintered soul.

Lemongrass Rasam
Warm Bowl of Lemongrass Rasam ~ for Meal today

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.

WV14 ~ Gongura Pappu from Amma

Beatific Butterfly from Backyard
Beatific Butterfly from Backyard
(Of all the transplanted, showy flowers in the backyard, the butterflies are drawn to the wild ones which are known in this part of the world as weeds. Butterflies are precious! So now weeds have become part of the landscape.)

Today is Vara Lakshmi Vratham, an auspicious day on which Goddess Lakshmi Devi is celebrated with fasting, Pooja and neivedyam. It’s customary to share the Lakshmi Devi amma blessings with family and friends, and I am glad to share this day with you Net friends.

Neivedyam for the Pooja:

Semiya-Saggubiyyam Payasam
Atrasalu
Alasanda Vada
Chintapandu Pulihora (Tamarind Rice)
Sona Masuri Annam
Gongura Pappu
Chayote Kura
Brinjal-Jaggery Pacchadi
Coriander Rasam
Dadhojanam
Biyyam and saggubiyyam vadiyaalu

My Meal Menu:

Fasting in the morning.

Has ended the day with an early meal -small helping of each item from the Pooja neivedyam.

Workout:
Cooking. Pooja and meditation

In retrospect:
Great day! Calming cooking, peaceful Pooja in the morning hours.
Met good friends and had pleasant time in the evening.

Generous Gongura from Backyard
Gongura From Backyard

Gongura Pappu from Amma

The gongura seeds I had planted in March are now thriving healthy plants. The generous gongura didn’t mind when I plucked some mature leaves for the Pooja neivedyam menu today. There are several ways to prepare gongura pappu, and the following recipe is from my amma. I thought it’s a great way to pay homage to her on this auspicious day through this favorite vantakam.

Ingredients and Preparation:

Preparation happens in two steps.

Step 1:

Toor dal: 3/4 cup
Fresh gongura leaves – 6 cups, tightly packed
Indian or Thai variety green chilli – 8, chopped to tiny pieces
Red onion or shallots – chopped to chunks, 1 cup
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon

Take the above ingredients in a pressure cooker. Add two cups of water.
In a mortar, add a garlic clove and 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds. Pound to coarse paste. Add this paste to the ingredients in pressure cooker. Mix. Close the lid and cook until everything has become soft, particularly the toor dal.

Step 2:

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Peanut oil or ghee – 1 tablespoon
From masala dabba: Following ingredients for inguva(asafetida) Tadka:
a sprig of curry leaves
4 pieces of one-inch, majjiga mirapa(dahi mirchi)
1/4 teaspoon of urad dal
a pinch each – cumin, mustard seeds and hing (asafetida)

Add salt to the cooked dal in pressure cooker. With a pappu gutti (wooden whisk), mash the cooked ingredients to fairly coarse paste like. Remove the dal to a bowl or vessel.

In a small pan, heat the peanut oil or ghee. Add the tadka ingredients in this order, from big to small: curry leaves, dahi mirchi pieces, urad dal, cumin, and mustard seeds. Continuously stirring, toast the ingredients to golden. When mustard seeds make pop sounds, sprinkle the hing. Stir for couple of seconds. Immediately add this fragrant tadka to the cooked dal. Mix well and cover with a lid so that the flavors and aroma of hing tadka are thoroughly absorbed by the pappu (dal).

Serve the gongura pappu with rice or roti. The blissful combination is the old classic: gongura pappu and freshly cooked, hot Sona Masuri rice with some ghee and vadiyaalu on the side. Heaven!

Gongura Pappu
Gongura Pappu in Vadiyam Vadi on Muruku Peetam ~ For Meal Today

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari.

Ginger Lemon Soopa

I am glad to see a new word “soopa” reintroduced into our cookery lexicon by Pratibha and Jigyasa through Sukham Ayu cookbook. Like the authors I found it interesting that ayurvedic texts refer to watery broth/soup like preparation as soopa. Research is done rarely in centuries old Indic cookery. We are more used to label our food items in occidental and arabic terms, and blindly repeat the colonial self-aggrandizing stories of our food roots. So, for a change, it is greatly refreshing and empowering to know about soopa. I think this Sanskrit word alone is worth the book price. Original research equals to precious gold, don’t you agree? Welcome back Soopa. Goodbye Soup.

Here is a soopa I made from Sukham Ayu. The base is toor dal and the flavor is from ginger and lemon. It’s a familiar, charming soopa, simple yet sublime. Perfect to usher in “I am not cold but not yet warm” spring season.

Ginger, Lime, Toor dal Ginger Lemon Soopa

Ginger Lemon Soopa
Recipe adapted from Sukham Ayu, page-37
(makes about four cups of soopa)

Toor dal: Pressure-cook half cup of toor dal in two cups of water to soft. With a wood masher or whisk, churn the dal to soft, smooth consistency.

Ginger: Take a 1×1 inch piece of ginger. Peel the skin and grate. Add the grated ginger to mashed toor dal. Also half teaspoon each- red chilli powder and salt, and quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Add half cup of water and simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Tadka: While the soopa is simmering, do the tadka. In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee. Add and toast 10 curry leaves, cumin, and mustard seeds, in that order. When seeds start to pop, sprinkle a pinch of asafetida. Sauté for couple of seconds and pour this tadka into the simmering soopa. Mix and turn off the heat.

Lemon: Flavor the soopa with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve hot. Soothing and a strength saver, ginger-lemon soopa is a great warm-up food and recommended during convalescence.

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari

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