Pappu Pulusu

A lentil-based stew with South Indian spices
Ingredients - Makes approximately 1 litre
  • 75 g garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium sized (or 200 g) onion, chopped, optional
  • ½ cup split pigeon peas (toor dal) or split red lentils (masoor dal) (split pigeon peas/toor dal will take longer to cook)
  • 4 cups water
  • 30 g tamarind
  • 1 tsp jaggery or white or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • fresh coriander, chopped, optional
  • For the tempering
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp black gram or urad dal
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 dried red chillies
  • 6-8 curry leaves, optional
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Cook the lentils separately till soft and mushy
  2. Use a {pressure cooker} to speed up the cooking
  3. Heat 1 cup of the water in a small bowl and soak the tamarind for 15-20 minutes. Or, you can also place the bowl in the {microwave} on high for 30 seconds. Cool and squeeze out the tamarind juice with your fingers. Strain and set aside the juice
  4. In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Mix in the tamarind juice, turmeric and jaggery (or sugar), and let the mixture boil until the garlic is soft
  5. Mash the cooked lentils slightly and mix into the stew. Adjust salt, add fresh coriander and let it simmer for 5 minutes
  6. In a separate pan, get the tempering ready. Heat the oil and fry the fenugreek seeds and urad dal until they start to brown. Add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves and fry until the mustard seeds splutter
  7. Turn off the heat, add a pinch of asafoetida. Mix in the tempering and serve hot with rice
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