Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pesara Pappu Kattu- Split Lentil Seasoned with Spices

My meals are incomplete without a dal dish.Its the most comforting traditional staple of our home and I can say ,without doubt, to most Indian homes.Considering the nutritional superiority of lentils,I would prefer to cook dals,an excellent source of high-quality protein and much easier to digest, than meat.Indian cooking is known to be labor intensive,but believe me,not all foods require a lot of time and effort in their cooking.So if your looking for that simple,healthy comfort food that can be made in a jiffy ,I have a perfect dal dish for you.

Among all the various dals or lentils, the split yellow moong dal or pesara pappu or dhuli moong is a flat,yellow and mild dal,which is most easy to cook without soaking and easy to digest too.Infact the most important food for a light diet according to our ancient medical science Ayurveda is this moong dal and is recommended for children and the elderly as its easily digested. Well,if your down with a stomach problem you would prefer to eat this dal as its very gentle on the stomach and is recommended for mucus dominated persons (Kapha dosha).We use this dal a lot in our everyday cooking be it as a dal with rice or rotis or combined with greens as a stir fry dish like Thotakura Pesara Pappu or to prepare our traditional sweet Bobattu aka Puran Poli.

It’s the tempering/seasoning which is the most important part of this golden yellow dal which gives it the perfect flavor and its aroma is further enhanced with the usage of ghee.This dal is infused with turmeric which provides a warm flavour other than imparting a golden color while cumin, ginger,asafetida,red and green chilli peppers aid in digestion of dal ,thus, transforming this dish into a truly tantilising everyday Indian dal.


1 cup split moong dal(pesara pappu) cooked in a pot with 3 cups of water(this dal cooks really fast unlike other dals)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilli slit length wise
2 dry red chillis deseed and tear into pieces
1 tsp grated ginger
10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric (pasupu,haldi)
big pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a vessel.Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle and brown.
Now add red chillis,green chillis,curry leaves,ginger and fry for a few seconds.
Now add the asafoetida and turmeric and immediately add the cooked dal along with the excess boiled dal water.Add salt.
Let the dal simmer for 8-10 mts.Turn off heat.
Just before serving add a dash of lime and serve hot with steamed rice or rotis or have it as a soup.(If you wish to have it as a hot soup add an extra cup of water)


Chawal Ki Roti & Palak Makki (Rice Based Flat Bread & Spinach Corn Curry)

Coming up with nutritious,tasty wholesome meals for my family ,keeping in mind we have a growing child, has always been a challenge to me.I always look for interesting ways (read it as varieties)to conjure up a healthy meal loaded with greens (iron), vegetables (which provide the necessary nutrients),lentils and pulses(protein), whole grains (vital vitamins and minerals) and of course herbs and spices(nutritive and medicinal value) which not only provide natural health benefits but also titillate our taste buds..:).

I try my best to influence the wellness level of my family in choosing a wide variety of fresh foods for balanced nutrition and combining and balancing their tastes and flavors with my cooking.Mostly I rely on the safe,tried and tested techniques utilised to bring out the best of flavours from the ingredients used, which I have picked up from amma and ammamma over time.Everyday is a learning process,adapting and learning from others,with most meals being satisfactory by striking a good mix of different tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. According to Ayurveda each taste has a balancing effect, and including some of each minimizes cravings and balances the appetite and digestion.

Indian cuisine has an eclectic collection of leavened and unleavened Indian breads which are so versatile and can be prepared according to one’s taste and imagination be it the plain roti/chapatti,stuffed rotis or paranthas or puris. Today I prepared nutritious Rice Rotis or Chawal Ki Roti prepared from cooked rice,rice flour,yogurt,methi leaves,ginger and green chillis (very rich in iron and carbohydrates).The rice,yogurt and chillis provide a sweet and spicy earthiness to the rotis while the greens (coriander and methi leaves) add a punch of bitter to offset the sweet.

The subtely spiced curry accompanying the rotis is Spinach(Palak) Corn prepared as the name suggests with spinach,corn,green chillis,ginger,garlic,mango powder and cream.The curry dish offsets the rich flavor of fresh cream and cashewnuts with the sweet-tangy flavour of corn and mango powder– creating a unique balance.In short,a healthy meal spiced with a myriad of flavours to scintilate your taste buds.

Rice Rotis

1 cup rice flour (biyam pindi,chawal ka atta)
1 cup cooked rice
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp chopped green chillies
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp fresh methi leaves (fenugreek)optional
4 tbsps curd
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
water as required

Combine all the ingredients and knead into a firm dough (use little water).
Divide the dough into big lemon sized balls.
Roll out each portion into a circle of approx 6" diameter and 1/4" thickness.
Heat a griddle and cook each roti on both sides until brown ensuring that the edges are cooked on the inside too.Smear with ghee (clarified butter) and serve hot.

Palak Makki

1 big bunch spinach
1/2 cup boiled corn kernels
1/2 tsp shahjeera (cumin seeds)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 green chillis
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp amchur pwd(dry mango pwd)
1 tbsp cashewnut pwd
1 tbsp fresh cream
big pinch of kasturi methi (dry fenugreek)
1 tsp lemon juice

Blanche spinach and puree it.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a vessel and add shahjeera.Let it sizzle.
Now add finely chopped onions and fry well till oil seperates.Add the slit green chillis and ginger garlic paste and fry further for another 3-4 mts.
Add the palak paste and boiled corn and simmer covered for 3 mts.
Add amchur pwd,cashewnut pwd and salt and mix well.Add 1/4 cup of water and cook
for a few minutes till you get the desired curry consistency.Towards the end add kasturi methi and turn off heat.Add the lemon juice and mix well.
Garnish with fresh cream.



Ashwini said...

You give really good information in your post. This is excellent as a soup. A suggestion - why dont you submit it to the VRC? The theme is soup...

sailu said...

Yes,its a great dal soup,Ashwini and thanks for the suggestion..:)

BDSN said...

Hi Sailu..

I did not know the ayurvedic points on this lentil.Feel good to learn something new.I love moong dhal with chappathi more than rice..Gr8 information..Thanks for posting..

a said...

Hi Sailu,

You know what - I never try making my own lentil soup but your's look real delicious - you've got so many things to share and I am thankful for that...

Have a nice weekend!


Anonymous said...

Hi sailu,

The information on drumstick leaves was very useful to me.Can you tell me whether it is available in US .

sailu said...

Yes,bdsn,its goes great with chapati.


Vassu,I really am not sure where in US you get these leaves.Its goes by the name of Horseradish in US and I heard that some stores do keep the drumsticks,but I am not sure about the leaves.