Sunday, March 1, 2015

Paruppu Urunadi Kuzhambu

It is often that I make aappam, for which I like to try, different side dishes to go with. Most often I put together a kurma or the Ishtu. There are times that I do not have enough vegetables to make either of them and have to look for something as interesting. Gone are the days when we ate dishes that are heavily laden with masalas, spices and therefore fat. We tend to keep our night's dinner light. Making aapams for dinner is not an option and with the rush in the mornings it is not a good idea either. Thus, of late I make them at lunch time; I put together one side dish and vegetables. Made from rice, the aappam, serves a good alternative to steamed rice in my household.
I have a cookbook that suggests vadakkari as a side for the aappams. It suggests deep fried chunks of onion, masalas and chickpea flour to be added in a gravy that is onion and tomato based. I remember that while in college one friend used to bring us paruppu urunadai kuzhambu cooked in a similar gravy base. Her mother used to prepare extra quantities of the kuzhambu to share with many of her friends. We used to suggest that she brings only this dish and we shall share the rice and vegetables from our tiffin. All the same, we would cross fingers, that her tiffin is not already polished off by the boarders who are always hungry for home cooked food.
This has always been in my mind to post the recipe. I did not get to it until my cousin wanted the recipe for the same. I had to make it for the side dish and give her the recipe. Often times my daughter will message me asking to suggest a spicy gravy side dish and this one might be simple and easy to put together for her too.

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu 

To serve 4 people

For the paruppu urundai:
1/4 cup thuvar dhal
1/4 cup channa dhal
1/8 cup urad dhal
1/8 cup mung dhal
5 dry red chillis
3-5 fresh green chillis
2" piece ginger
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For the gravy:
2 large red onions
1 whole garlic (about 10 pods)
3-4 medium size tomatoes (or so many as to yield 1 cup puree)
1 small lime size tamarind
2 tablespoons cooking oil

For the masala:

3-5 dry red chillis (adjust according to heat of chillis and requirement)
1and 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1" long cinnamon
6 cloves
2 teaspoons white, cooking poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 pods cardamom

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For tempering:
2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves

For the paruppu urundai:
Wash and soak the dhals for half an hour along with the chillis and ginger.
Drain the water and grind to a coarse paste.
Add the turmeric powder and salt.
Divide the slightly stiff batter into 16 small rolled balls.
Place them in a steamer and steam for 7-8 minutes.
When you open the lid, the balls should have acquired a shine to indicate that they have been done.
Keep aside.

For the gravy:
Meanwhile, blanch the tomatoes in hot water and puree them adding little water.
Cut the onions in chunks. Peel the garlic and keep ready.
Soak the tamarind in water and extract a thickish pulp. Add this to the tomato puree.
Heat a little of the oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes before adding the garlic.
Add to the above all the ingredients listed for the masala. Toss them for 3-5 minutes until onions are pink and the chillis are brittle.
Allow to cool a bit and grind them to a fine paste.
Heat the rest of the oil in the same pan and drop the masala paste. Add turmeric powder and salt. Cook a few minutes before adding the tomato-tamarind puree in. Adjust the water and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

Putting together the kuzhambu:
Add the prepared paruppu urundais to the simmering gravy. Let it stay on the stove for a further five minutes.
Take the pan off the stove and transfer the kuzhambu to a serving dish.
Heat the oil for tempering in a pan, add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Saute the curry leaves in the oil along with the mustard seeds and temper the kuzhambu with them.

Serve hot with steamed rice, aappam, neer dosai, idiyaappam or shavige (plain sevai).

This dish is being sent to My Legume Love Affair 81, a popular event, brainchild of Susan, The Well Seasoned Cook, currently managed by Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen. MLLA 81 is being hosted through March by Siri at Cooking with Siri.
My cousin who wanted the recipe informs me that when she served it for Sunday lunch, it was well received by her husband and children. So what are you waiting for, go ahead and try it.


  1. lovely combo and lip smacking urundai kuzambu.

  2. Lata, thanks for the recipe. The kuzhambu was a hit at home.

  3. Lata, thanks for the recipe. Paruppu urundai kuzhambu was a hit at home. :)

  4. Will definitely try this one


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.