Archive for the 'Lentil Dishes' Category


Mamidikaya Pappu- Raw Mango Dal

Summer has already started in India and my folks are getting ready for the season. Besides avakayya ( pickles), vadilyalu and appadalu ( papadams) this season reminds me of sour and spicy taste of mouthwatering mamidikayya pappu, menthi mukkalu , mamidikaya pachadi, pulihora and sweet ripen mangoes  we use to drool on as kids.

Summer was always special to me right from no school and homeworks, long sleeps, hanging with sister and cousins and playing around in my grandma’s front yard racing with cousins to climb big mango tree and plucking the tiny baby mangoes without my grandpa’s notice and eating them with salt and chilli masala mix…..ummmm good old days.

Ok now lets get back to the recipe, back then mangoes were seasonal and it used be eaten only from Ugadi. Me and my sister use to wait anxiously for Ugadi and so for the yummy dishes my mom use to cook thru out the mango season. Here is one of families favorite.


1 medium size raw mango ( wash, peel, remove the seed and cut into bite size cubes)
1/2 cup toor dal/ mudda pappu ( dry roasted and cooked )
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
Water to cook
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic flakes ( cut into pieces)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp methi seeds
2-3 whole red chilies ( broken)
3-4 green chilies ( slit)
pinch of hing
few curry leaves

Heat oil in a sauce pan, add garlic, mustard seeds, methi seeds, red chillies and allow mustard seeds to crackle, now add the remaining popu ingredients and saute for a minute. Turn off the heat and shift the popu into small bowl and keep it separate .

Turn the heat to medium, add the cut mango pieces to the same pan in the remaining oil ( I usually use the same pan) add salt, turmeric powder and water, cook the mango pieces till soft. Keep checking in the middle if needed add little more liquid to the mangoes. Add the cooked mudda pappu and water if needed for consistency and bring it to boil. Now stir in the popu, adjust the taste cook for 1-2 mins and turn off the heat.

Serve it with hot rice, ghee and some vadiyalu or perugu mirpakaya !!


Cabbage Pappu Koora- Cabbage with Lentils

Cabbage Pesarapappu Pappu Koora

Summer has already started in India and temperatures are hitting triple digits in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. You get to make lots of pickles and papad’s around this time and you also get to enjoy all those juicy mangoes, melons and all other seasonal fruits. When you go to farmers market ( AKA Raitu Baazar) early in the morning , you get really good farm fresh veggies right from the fields. But the variety is limited during summer. Besides root vegetables, cabbage, tindora, eggplant and few varieties of gourds and leafy vegetables are available all year around.

Pulses/Lentils are the best alternative. They are consumed to a great extent in summer. Lentils and veggies combination are very popular in southern part of India. Different varieties include pappu, pulusu, pachadi, podi and pappu korra. Often lentils are mixed with cabbage, tindora, beans, cluster beans and leafy vegetables.  Its been more than 2 week, my fridge is almost empty with left with small piece of cabbage , cauliflower and some carrots. I need something for dinner and also for next day’s lunch, I couldn’t think of anything other this dish, fried some perugu merapakaya’s( got from India) and  served pickle, rasam and yogurt.

2 cups/ One cabbage 1 medium
1/2 cup Pesara pappu or Mung dal

For Popu/Seasoning
1-2 tsp cooking oil (veg/peanut)
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Whole red chilli (broken into pieces)
Pinch of hing
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a small pan add urad dal and red chilli, add cumin seeds once the dal starts turning in brown. Allow the cumin seeds to crackle. Add hing curry leaves , remove from heat and keep aside.


Soak pesarappu for 15-20 mins. Chop, clean and rinse cabbage , keep aside. In a deep heavy bottom saucepan  rinse soaked dal and add to the sauce pan with 1/4th-1/2 cup water and chopped cabbage, cover the lid , close the steam vent and turn on the stove to medium low, keep stirring occasionally, do  not over mix. This will make the dal to break it will turn into pappu instead of dry pappu koora. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until cabbage and dal are cooked, sprinkle some water if the dal is sticking to the bottom of the pan. I like my cabbage little crunchy, I turn off the heat little early. Now add the salt and stir in the fried seasoning. Mix gently until everything is incorporated.


At my place pappu koora is usually served with pulusu(stew), avakaya/pachadi (pickle) and vadiyalu (papadams) along with yogurt.

Notes and tips:

Cabbage contatins natural juices adding salt at starting will not only delay the dal from cooking also is it will the cabbage mushy and will start smelling.  You can pressure cook dal and cabbage separately for 1-2 whistles. I prefer doing it on stove top for dry version.


Mudda Pappu – Tomato Rasam

dsc_0147.jpgRoasted Pigeon Peas and Spicy Tomato Rasam

Lentils play a prominent role in my everyday cooking. As a vegetarian, for me they are the protein pack filled with valuable nutrients and vitamins besides vegetables. Dishes made of lentils are must in my everyday cooking. It can be dal, rasam, sambar or even chutney. There are lots of different varieties of lentils available and each one has a distinctive flavor and used in preparation of different kinds of delicious dishes. In India lentils are used extensively right from side dishes to savories and deserts.

In India, toor dal (split pigeon peas) are one of the most popular lentils—along with, chana, urad, masoor and mung. Pigeon peas are nutritionally important, as they contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan.

As a South Indian I’m very fond of toor dal/kandi pappu (split pigeon peas), urad dal (black gram), channa dal (split chickpeas) and moong dal (slit yellow mung beans) and my pantry is always well stocked with all these different lentils and legumes, looks more like an mini lentil bazaar.

When it comes to cooking time by default I go for toor dal (Kandi pappu in Telugu). When Linda announced that she is extending the deadline for JFI- Toor dal, I have decided to send my favorite mudda pappu .The nutty flavor of the roasted toor dal gives a unique taste to the dish. Mudda pappu is relished with different combinations. Today’s combination is with simple tomato rasam and potato fry. When ever I cook this dish, it takes back to my childhood days. My mom always use to make small balls of dal rice and drop them into the spicy hot rasam and use to me feed and my sister telling us all those beautiful moral stories.



 our meal today mudda pappu, tomato rasam and potato fry

Thanks Linda, I’m sending this to you .
Mudda Pappu


1 cup toor dal/ kandi pappu
Salt to taste
Water to cook


Heat a dry skillet on medium low, dry roast toor dal till golden brown and until you smell the nutty aroma of roasted dal. Remove from heat, shift into a bowl. Add required amount of water and pressure cook until done (I usually cook for 3 whistles). Cool down and drain the excess water into a bowl (don’t throw it). Lightly mash the dal and mix salt and little reserve water to thin it /desired consistency.


Tomato Rasam/Charu
Call it a “Soup” in western style or “Rasam” in Indian way. It’s a comfort food for many Indians especially South Indians. There are a lot of different varieties of Rasam, they are good for tummy and also yummy side dish for rice usually had along with dal, dry curries and papad. This is a simple version of no dal tomato rasam.


1 small tomato
Tamarind (small lemon size)
1 tsp jaggery
2 cups water / reserved lentil water
1/4 tsp turmeric
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste

For seasoning
1 tsp veg oil
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
2 tsp MTR rasam powder
Few coriander leaves (chopped)

Heat oil in a small frying pan and fry the seasonings 1-4 (except rasam powder and coriander leaves). Allow mustard seeds to pop. Turn off the heat and keep aside.


Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 mins and extract the pulp (around 2-3 tbsp)

In a deep pan/ pot, add the tomatoes (crush or chopped) , tamarind pulp, salt, turmeric, jaggery, curry leaves and water. Bring all together to boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rasam mixture for 10-12 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and done. Add rasam powder and cook for 2 more minutes. Adjust the taste, stir in the seasoning and coriander leaves and remove from heat.

To serve (like my mom) , mix rice, ghee (clarified butter) and mudda pappu and make balls. In a soup bowl pour rasam and drop the dal rice balls as shown in the above picture. Let it stand for 3-5 mins and enjoy listening to a nice story. 🙂


Notes and Tips

You can make mudda pappu without roasting dal. You can use sugar instead of jaggery in your rasam. If you don’t like the sweetness in your rasam just skip the sugar/jaggery. Rasam powder can be substituted with ½ tsp of coriander powder and ¼ tsp of red chilli powder. Add these ingredients to seasoning and fry for a minute or so and mix. Toor dal/ pigeon peas is also know as tuvar dal, red gram , arahar dal.


Bobbattu/Puran Poli

Happy Diwali

దీపావళి శుభాకాంక్షలు


Bobbattu, a flakey Indian bread stuffed with sweetened yellow lentils is a traditional sweet from Southern India made during special occasions and festivals. The dough is called poli and the stuffing is called purnam. This is one our families favorites. Pulihora and Bobbattu is a classic combination made during any festival. To tell you the truth I don’t like sweets. This is the exceptional one. Thanks to my mom who used to run behind me and make me eat this delicacy. Bobbattu is often served with a splash of warm clarified butter.

Bobbatu is also known as puran poli in Northern India.

Ingredients to make Poli

1 cup maida / all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Water to make dough
1/4th cup oil

Procedure to make poli

In a wide bowl mix maida , salt and water (around 1/3rd -1/4th cup) and knead into a dough, this will be of a chapati dough consistency. Now slowly add oil to the dough and keep kneading until the oil is absorbed into the dough. Cover the dough and rest it for 45-60 minutes. By this time the oil will separate from the dough. The dough will be stringy and elastic.

Ingredients for Puranam/Puran

1 cup Channa dal
1-1 ½ cup sugar
1/2 tbsp Cardamom powder

Procedure to make Purnam

Wash and soak channa dal for 20-30 minutes. Pressure cook channa dal with little water, less than 1/4th cup (3 whistles). Once done drain all the excess water completely. Make sure that there is no water and cool down the cooked lentils completely. Mash this cooked dal using a potato masher. Add sugar, cardamom powder and mix well.

Procedure to make Bobbattu/Puran Poli

Divide the dough and puranam into balls of equal portions (lemon ball size). Take one portion of poli(dough) on a wax paper/foil/zip lock bag (traditionally banana leaf is used), apply oil (around 1 tsp) and roll out the dough into a small round with ur hand, you can use rolling pin. Keep the purnam ball in the middle and cover it by bringing the dough corners together. Dip your fingers in oil and flatten the ball (dough and purnam, like stuffed paratha) gently pressing the poli with your fingers from the edges to the center into to a circle, as thin as you can without tearing it (make sure the dough and the stuffing are distributed evenly).

Now carefully invert the poli using a spatula or with your hand on to a warm tawa/gridle. Cook both sides until the color changes into light brown color. Flip and drizzle little ghee on both sides and remove from heat. Repeat the process with remaining purnam and poli. Serve hot or cold.


Notes and Tips

You can use jaggery (grated) instead of sugar and wheat flour instead of maida. If the purnam is runny, keep in the fridge for some time and then use it. You can make the purnam ahead and refrigerate and use it when needed. You can use a rolling pin to roll the dough but I’m more comfortable with my hands. You can also use tortilla presser to press it but you should be very gentle and careful while pressing.

Freezing tips

You can refrigerate the cooked polis for 2-3 weeks in fridge or stack up the cooked, cooled polis layered with wax paper and freeze. It stays good for 2-3 months. Defrost and re-heat just before serving.

Look forward for step by step pictures. I will be updating soon.


Dal Makhani

dal1.jpgDal makhani is delicacy from punjab filled with rich proteins and fiber .Traditionally lentils and beans are generally soaked overnight or for atleast 8 hours and gently simmered on low heat along with ginger, garlic and a few other spices (garam masala).These are then combined with a tangy masala base which includes onions, tomatoes ( chopped or puree) or dried mango powder or even pomegranate seeds. Dollops of fresh cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and fresh cream. Dal Makhani takes longer to cook than the split dals, but the result is worth it.


1 cup whole urad or black gram lentil
1/3 cup kidney beans( Rajma)
1 tbs grated ginger
2 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
Red chilli powder (accord to taste)

1 tsp. turmeric powder
3-4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds

A large pinch of hing
1 tbsp minced ginger & garlic
1 medium onion (thinly chopped ,optional)
2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1/2 cup fresh cream.
2 tbs. chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
5-6 cups water (to cook dal)



Wash and soak black urad whole and rajma overnight.Cook the soaked dal and rajma in 5-6 cups of water with salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, and grated ginger till dal and rajma are done/soft ( I pressure cooker for 10-12 whistles). Lightly mash dal and rajma mixture, keep aside. Heat oil or butter in a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and hing, let it crackle. Add ginger, garlic, chopped onions, and cook till light golden brown in color. Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Sauté till tomatoes are well mashed and fat starts to leave the masala. Add mashed dal and rajma to this mixture and little water ( desired consistency). Correct seasoning, and simmer at very slow flame for 15-20 minutes.Add fresh cream and let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

Serve hot with Naan or Paratha or even with rice.


Notes and tips

This recipe also tastes very good the following day after reheating properly.Soaking for longer, say overnight, reduces cooking time. You can substitue garam masala with cumin-coriander powder and cream with sour cream or lowfat yogurt.


Bachhali Kura Sambar


As kids (me & sis) we never liked this green vegetable because of the texture and also the taste. I vaguely remember my mom cooking this vegetable and we refused to try it, as lots of other green veggies were abundantly available. After coming to california, green veggies are not as widely available as in India, but I had a good choice and I use to excuse myself from eating this vegetable. After moving to Virginia my choice was completely narrowed down, still managed with Spinach and Methi for couple of years. Last year when my in-laws visited us my mother-in-law told me how to cook this vegetable the right way.

Besalla Alba or Malabar Spinach is called Bachhali kura in telugu, other common names include Climbing spinach, Indian Spinach and vine spinach. My dear friends guessed it right (Basale in Kannada, Vaali in Konkani, “Mong Toi” or Vietnamese Spinach). This wonderful leafy vegetable is high in Calcium, Vitamin A and C, also rich source of Iron and chlorophyll, also low in calories by volume and high in proteins per calorie. It is a fast-growing soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 m in length, thick and semi-succulent. The succulent stem is particularly a rich source of soluble fiber, thought to remove mucus and toxins from the body. These leaves have a mild flavor and gluey/gooey texture when cooked. It may also be used to thicken soups or stir-fried with garlic and chile peppers. This plant is also used in medicine field. (Source wiki)

Bachhali kura is extensively used in South-Indian cooking. Kanda-Bachhali kura is very famous dish in Andhra Pradesh, other common dishes include sambar, majjiga pulusu. Aava pulusu, snacks and pappu.


1 medium bunch tender bachhali kura (clean and chopped)
½ cup toovar dal (cooked)
8-10 pearl onions (peeled)
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
2-3 green chillies
Big pinch of turmeric
1-2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
2-3 tsp Sambar powder (according to taste)
Salt to taste
2-3 cups water to make sambar

1-1 ½ tsp oil
1 broken dry red chilli
½ tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of methi seeds
Pinch of hing


In small pan heat oil add the dry chilli, mustard seeds, and methi seeds and allow mustard seeds to splutter, add hing and remove from heat and keep aside.

Heat a heavy bottom pot with little oil on medium heat. Add green chillies, onions (you can use whole of cut in half) and sauté for 3-4 mins. Add the chopped bachhalaku (leaves and stems), turmeric, salt and sauté for another 3-5 mins. Add tamarind paste little water and cover with lid and reduce the heat a little and cook for 8-10 mins or until soft not mushy. Stir in dal, grated coconut and mix well, add remaining water, increase the heat and bring it to boil, adjust the seasoning and reduce the heat a little. Add sambar powder and the seasoning and cook for another 5-8 mins and turn of the heat.

Serve with rice and papad.

Notes and Tips

You can add jaggery if you like. Onions are optional. You can also add drumsticks. I like my sambar with onions. You can use / substitute spinach instead of Bachhalaku, and the dish will be called spinach sambar:).