Archive for the 'Stews' Category


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.


Thotakura Pulusu


Amaranth Stew
Leafy vegetables are used widely in my home. They are loaded with nutrition and packed with proteins. Thotakura which is referred as Amaranth (in english) is a delicious leafy vegetable related to spinach family and is used a lot in traditional Andhra cooking – stir fry’s, stews and dal. It blends very well with most of the vegetables and dals(lentils). Thotakura pulusu (stew) is a very simple and tasty dish spiced up with chillies and sweetened with jaggery. Pulusu, a clear broth (tamarind) cooked with vegetables and spices is served as a side dish along with rice. Basic ingredients in such stew always stays same only the additional ingredients either vegetables or lentils keeps changing.

Green, white and red amaranth leaves are available in India. Green and white leaves are used in stir fry’s or curries while the red one is often used in making stews. These leaves contain a very good source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and rich in dietary minerals and the stem contains a good amount of fiber. Amaranth is also known as Red spinach and Chinese spinach.


1 bunch or 3 cups tender amaranth leaves & stems (clean & chopped)
8-10 pearl onions (peel and trim the ends)
3 green chillies
1/2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
(Mix besan with 3 tbsp of water without any lumps and keep aside)
2-3 cups water (to cook)
2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp (thick)
1-2 tbsp jaggery/sugar (optional)
1/4th tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

2 dry red chillies (broken)
½ tsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch hing

Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan. Add all the ingredients listed below seasoning and fry till mustard seeds pop. Turn off the heat and keep aside.



Heat remaining oil in a heavy bottom vessel. Add green chillies and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Add chopped leaves & stems, salt, turmeric and ½ cup water and cook until the leaves are done (3/4th) now add tamarind pulp, jaggery, besan mix, water and bring it to boil, keep stirring in the middle to avoid besan from curdling. Reduce the heat, adjust the taste add anything if need and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Crush the fried seasoning and stir into the pulusu (stew) and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Shift into serving dish.

Serve with steamed rice, dal and papad.

Notes and Tips

You can use frozen pearl onions or soak the onions in warm water for 10 mins, the skin will peel off easily. You can add garlic and tomatoes to this dish. If you are allergic to besan skip adding it.


Vankaya Pachi Pulusu

Eggplant stew (Andhra Style)


I believe this brinjal dish is exclusive to Andhra Pradesh. Except for the brinjals all other ingredients used are raw and not really cooked. This is our (both my families) favorite, and have been prepared in our families from generations. This dish has simple ingredients, easy to make and so is the most commonly prepared dish at our place to break a fast (during fast my folks eat kosher meal which is prepare with out onion and garlic). Fire roasted brinjals (traditionally white ones are used but you can use the purple ones) seasoned with every day spices, including sweet and sour ingredients is by default dished up with hot rice, mudda pappu ( dal), ghee (clarified butter) and perugu merapakayalu / vadiyalu.


3-4 medium size brinjalsbp1.jpg
Small melon ball size tamarind
(Soak in warm water for 15-20 and extract thick pulp and keep aside)
4-5 green chillies (finely chopped)
1-2 tbsp jaggery (grated)
Salt to taste
Big pinch of turmeric
Handful of coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Water (2-3 cups)

For seasoning
1 tsp oil
1 dried red chilli (broken)
1/4th tsp methi seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of hing


Heat oil in a small frying pan, fry all the seasoning ingredients. Allow mustard seeds to crackle and turn of the heat. Keep aside.

Lightly grease the brinjals with little oil and roast on low fire, keep rotating the brinjal so that it cooks evenly and completely. Remove from the flame and wrap them in a foil or sprinkle some water and cover, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Peel the skin and mash the pulp thoroughly in a medium size bowl, to this mashed pulp add the tamarind extract, chopped chillies, jaggery, salt, turmeric and mix well. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups of water and check the consistency. Adjust the taste, add anything if needed, crush the fried seasoning and stir in well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.


Notes and Tips.

You can use onions if you like. Fry them along with seasoning and add it to the brinjal mixture. You can use less/more chillies to suit your taste. Instead of fire roasting you can grill or bake the brinjals in oven.

MoreBrinjal dishes:-
Baingan Barta
Vankaya Banda Pachadi
Menthi Vankaya


Chama-Dumpa Pulusu

Arbi/Taro Root Stew


Pulusu(stew) means sauce or gravy dish, cooked with vegetables or lentils with tamarind sauce, jaggery and spices. This traditional dish is cooked almost everyday (in some homes it’s a must dish), which are frequently cooked during rainy and winter seasons as it’s much easy to prepare with the available vegetables or just with lentils. Usually stews are accompanied with plain dal (mudda pappu, in Telugu), dry or semi dry curry (which is reffered as vepudu in telugu)along with generous servings of ghee (clarified butter), it is hearty and filling.

Chama dumpa (in Telugu) , Arbi (in Hindi) is more commonly known as Colocasia (scientific name), also referred as Taro

root. Taro root is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable (wiki). Both the leaves and roots are used a lot in Indian cooking. Famous dish made out of taro leaves in Northern part of India is Patra. In Southern part of India the edible corm (root) is cooked (similar way other root vegetables are cooked, like potatoes with skin on) and then shallow fried and spiced up with chilli powder and salt. Taro root is little sticky and slippery after cooked, which is really suitable for gravy curries and stews.

Chama dumpa pulusu is a spicy stew spiced up with chillies and seasoning, sweetened by jaggery and caramelized onions, sourness with tamarind and tomatoes, while the sambar powder enhances its flavor.


8-10 Taro Root
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 medium tomato (chopped)
1-2 tsp tomato paste (optional)
2-3 green chillies (slit)
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
1-2 tbsp jaggery
½ tsp turmeric powder
Red chilli powder according to taste

½ tbsp sambar powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning
2 tbsp oil
1 whole red chilli (broken)
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp methi seeds
Pinch of hing
Few curry leaves


Heat ½ tbsp oil in a small frying pan and add red chilli, methi & mustard seeds, and hing, allow the mustard seeds to

crackle. Add the curry leaves and remove from heat. Keep aside.

Taro root is pretty hard and takes little longer to cook. I use a pressure cooker to cook them quicker. It takes approx. 10 – 15 min to cook them completely. Cool, peel and dice them and keep aside. Heat the remaining oil in a shallow pan and add onions, green chillies and fry until the onions turn translucent. Now stir in turmeric powder, chilli powder and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add tomato paste and fry for 1 minute. To this mixture add chopped tomatoes, jaggery, tamarind paste, salt and turn the heat to medium low and let the mixture cook for 4-5 minutes, stir in the taro root pieces and gently mix. Let the mixture cook for another 3-5 minutes with the lid on. Add water (approx 1 ½ to 2 cups) adjust the seasoning and bring it to a boil with the lid off. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes again with the lid on. Stir in the sambar powder and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the fried seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves. Turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice, dal and papad.

Notes and Tips

Do not over cook the taro root as they become gooey and will spoil the dish. Adjust the flavours to suit your taste, you can use sugar to subtitute jaggery but the taste will be very different.


Miriyala Charu


The party is over, guest left and even the leftovers are cleaned up and finally we are out of party hangover. We were tired and not in a mood to go out and eat. Every one including the lil one was carving for simple meal and what more is simple yet tasty than mudda pappu, charu and kotta avvakaya (mango pickle just got from India) with perugu ( homemade curd).

Charu is nothing but plain rasam (without tomatoes and dal). Simple yet tasty and meal cannot be completed with this hot tamarind clear stew or I call it soup. Rasam is prepared in many different ways. South Indian people and experts in making rasam each cuisine have their own version. Common ingredients found in rasam are lentils, tomatoes, garlic, tamarind, jaggery or sugar, spice powder and seasoning. Andhrites call it Charu.

Ingredients to boil

2-2 ½ cups of water
Small melon ball size tamarind
1-2 tsp jaggery
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper
Few curry leaves


1 tsp oil
1 dry red chilli (broken)
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of methi seeds
Pinch of hing

Coriander leaves for garnish.


In a small frying pan add oil and fry the seasoning mixture, allow mustard seeds to crackle, turn of the heat and keep aside.

In a medium pot add all the ingredients for charu and bring it to boil. Adjust the taste, stir in the seasoning. Garnish with coriander leaves and turn of the heat.

Serve hot with rice, dal & ghee.

Notes and Tips

I usually add 2 cups of water at first and if needed then I add the remaining water and adjust the taste according to it. My husband’s favorite way to enjoy charu is as shown in the picture.


Tomato Majjiga Pulusu

dsc02917.JPGTamatar ki Kadhi

Butter milk is basically beaten yogurt or yogurt diluted with water. In olden days the yogurt/curd and water mixture is churned repeatedly in order to separate the fat (butter) and then the remaining butter milk is used in making this recipe. I remember my mom use to churn curd with reserved cream to make ghee. After separating the butter, the buttermilk taste sour, so once in every week majjiga pulusu was a common dish at my mom’s place and she still does that. She used to make different varieties with the sour buttermilk, often with vegetables and leafy vegetables.

There are several ways of doing majjiga-pulusu (South Indian Kadi). Each one has a different taste. Majjiga pulusu true translation is Buttermilk stew. Majjiga pulusu is slightly different from other kadhi’s as we use lots of vegetables and season with garlic, ginger and green chillies along with spices. The sour buttermilk is cooked with vegetables, tomatoes and leafy vegetables. Tomato majjiga pulusu is the one which I learnt from my mother-in-law. This is very easy and quick to prepare and will come handy when you want to prepare a quick, yet, delicious meal. Common vegetables used in majjiga pulusu are Brinjal, Bhendi, Bottlegourd, Chayote, Amaranth (Totakura), Bachalikura (Malabar spinach) and tomatoes.


2 cups curd / yogurt
3 tsp Besan flour
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric (Haldi powder)
3-4 small tomatoes
2 green chillies (slit)
Water (2-3 cups approx)

For seasoning
1 tsp oil
1 whole red chilli (broken)
1/2 tsp mustard Seeds
1/4th tsp methi seeds
1/4th-1/2 tsp Chili Powder (Red Chili Powder)
1/2 tsp dhaniya powder
Big pinch of hing
1 tbsp coriander leaves (Chopped)
1 clove garlic (small, crushed)


Beat curd with little water into buttermilk and keep aside. Mix besan with little water (into batter, without lumps) and keep aside. In a deep sauce pan boil tomatoes until cooked but firm, remove from heat and completely cool down. Remove the skin and crush the cooked tomatoes. In the same pan on medium low heat stir in buttermilk, besan mixture, turmeric, salt, green chillies, 1/8th tsp methi seeds and water ( I usually add 2 cups at first) and cook. Allow it to thicken, stirring it often, to stop it from boiling over. Simmer on low heat. Remove after it is well blended. In small pan heat oil on low flame, add red chilli, mustard seeds, remaining methi seeds and hing, allow mustard seeds to crackle, now add dhinaya powder, chilli powder and fry for 1/2 minute. Remove from heat, stir the seasoning into buttermilk mixture and mix well. Adjust the seasoning, add crushed garlic and garnish with coriander leaves and remove from heat. Do not cook after adding garlic.



Serve hot with rice and vadiyaalu & perugu merapakayyalu.

Notes and Tips

If the stew is too thick add little water and buttermilk. If its too thin add little besan mixture.

This is my entry for RP’s My Workshop JIF for tomatoes.


Gummadikaya pulusu

G for Gummadikaya Pulusu:- Famous and favorite Andhra Specialty

dsc03612tn.jpgMy dad use to grow pumpkins in our backyard. At one time (this was around 10 yrs back) the whole backyard and even the roof ( daba we call in telugu) was covered with pumpkin vines, and covered with pumpkins all over, my mom made different varieties ( mostly South Indian). We gave so many to our neighbors, friends and relatives and still pumpkins were all over. This was the magic of simple seed. The seeds do not germinate in cold soil, and the seedlings are injured by frost. Do not plant until all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has thoroughly warmed. Indian weather conditions suits really well for this wonderful squash. I learnt this delicious recipe from my Vasu Atta (NY), When she makes this the aroma fills all over the house and every one waits to dig in.

Gummadikaya pulusu, (AKA) pumpkin (stew) in Telugu, is a squash usually orange in colour when ripe. There are also in greenish gray, white, bright yellow and sometime red in color. Indian pumpkins are often greenish gray in color. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly circular, but more generally oblong or ovoid (shaped like an egg) in shape. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.

Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging. (Source univ of IL extn)

Do you know this fact?

The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for “large melon” which is “pepon.” “Pepon” was nasalized by the French into “pompon.” The English changed “pompon” to “Pumpion.” Shakespeare referred to the “pumpion” in his Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed “pumpion” into “pumpkin.” The “pumpkin” is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella


1 small pumpkin / butternut squash(around 2 cups)
1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
2-3 green chillies (slit)
1 inch ginger (peel and chop)
4-5 tbsp tamarind pulp
Jaggery (2-3 tbsp approx)
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
2-3 cups Water (to make pulusu)

For seasoning

1 dried whole red chilli (broken)
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of hing
1/4th tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil



Peel, clean, remove the seeds from gummadikaya and dice (medium size).

Heat the oil in a deep skillet on medium heat and add first 3 in the seasoning row (channa dal, urad dal, red chilli) and fry , add cumin and mustard seeds once the dals starts turning into golden brown and allow them to crackle, add hing and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Now add green chillies, curry leaves, ginger, turmeric and sauté for couple of minutes, now add sliced onions and fry till translucent. Add the diced gummadikaya salt, jaggery, tamarind (3-4 tbsp) and cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir in water (1 ½ -2 cups) and reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10-12 minutes the covered. Keep stirring in middle. At this point the veggies will be 3/4 th cooked. At this stage adjust the seasoning if needed and water if the stew is thick. Cook for another 5-8 minutes or till done and turn of the heat.


This goes really well with rice, ghee and mudda pappu. Serve with Pappadums.

This is my entry for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables

Notes and Tips.

You can use butternut squash instead of pumpkin like me. Yellow onion goes really well, you can use red onion also.