Monday, September 19, 2011

Paruppu Urundai Kulambu / Lentil Balls in Tamarind Gravy

This is how we prepare Paruppu Urundai Kulambu at our home. As it involves bit lengthy process and needs an extra care, I mostly avoid it to prepare. But I would say that it is worth to do the lengthy stuff for the awesome taste that you get at the end.

This typical south Indian dish has its own traditional way for preparation which is now tweaked according to our convenient and as a result we have few methods for preparation. One of which is blogged here with pictures. I have also mentioned other methods and it is absolutely your wish to follow your convenient way.

Dal dumplings/balls which look like koftas are cooked in tamarind gravy and sometimes in yogurt gravy and thus the dumplings absorb the flavor from gravy and you get an exotic taste at the end. I'll post the lentil dumplings in yogurt gravy in upcoming days.

Basic Information:

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3-4


For Lentil Balls:

Channa Dal/Toor dal/Mixture of both - 1 cup

Dry Red chillies - 4 nos

Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon

Salt - to taste

Turmeric powder - a big pinch

Asafoetida - a big pinch

Onion - 2 tablespoon, finely chopped

Coriander leaves - 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves - few

For Gravy:

Onion - 1 large size, chopped

Tomato - 2 nos , chopped

Green chilli - 2 nos, chopped

Tamarind - 1 small gooseberry size, (soak in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes and extract juice from it.)

Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Oil - 3 teaspoons

Salt - to taste

For Seasoning:

Oil - 2 teaspoons

Mustard and Urid dal - 1/2 teaspoon

Fenugreek - 1/4 teaspoon

Curry leaves - 1 string


For Lentil Balls:

1) Soak Channa Dal for 30 minutes to 1 hour in water.

2) After an hour, drain the water from the Dal and add dry red chilli, cumin seeds, salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida.

3) Grind it to a coarse paste. Add finely chopped onion, coriander and curry leaves with this and mix well.

4) Make small size balls and steam them in a idly maker exactly for 10 minutes.

5) Lentil balls are ready to go with gravy.

For Gravy:

1) In a wide pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil.

2) When it is hot, add chopped onion and curry leaves. Saute till onions turn soft.

3) Add tomato and green chilli. Continue sauteing till tomato mashes well.


4) Allow this mixture to cool and grind to a fine paste by adding water.


5) Wipe off the same wide pan and add ground paste.

6) Add tamarind water, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.

7) When it boils and starts a gravy consistency, add balls.


8) Turn the flame to low and cover and cook for 10 minutes or till you get your required gravy consistency.

9) When the gravy is ready add the seasoning.

10) Serve hot with steamed rice.


1) In traditional method, the lentil balls are prepared and directly (instead of steaming them) cooked in gravy. It requires extra care as the lentil balls might break while cooking. But it can be done by practise. In another way, you can shallow fry the lentil balls in oil and add them with gravy.

2) You can also add ginger garlic paste and coconut paste with this gravy which enhances the flavor and taste.

3) My MIL will not add tamarind instead she adds more tomatoes to get tangy taste. You can also follow this method if your prefer.

4) If you find it grinding the onion makes the method too long, skip the step of grinding and directly add the tamarind. In this case, you can add the seasoning in the initial step itself.

5) Do not overcook the lentil balls as they may become hard.

This recipe goes to Akheela's Food palette series finale rainbow colours
Simply Food's Flavors of South India

Umm Mymoonah's Any one can cook series-34