Archive for the ‘Toor dall’ Category

If there is a green variety that is not available in Chennai markets  but  in our native village , it is pasarai.

It is pearl sized tiny greens that spreads on the garden floor.  It requires the least attention from the gardener , requires minimal water.  The tiny succulents cover the earth as a thick blanket with tiny yellow flowers. So they are also called as ‘payviri’ in tamil 🙂

It is also called as “Siru pasalai” , “Tharai Pasalai” in Tamil and chicken weed in English.

20141214_150113Botanical name: Portulaca quadrifida


It belongs to the family of purslane and according to this article , it is “Used for asthma, cough, urinary discharges, inflammations and ulcers.”

Facts apart , most of the city dwellers know them as herb, whereas , back home, my mom cook a delicious meal out of them . The tiny leaves are going to take some of your precious time to sort out , but believe me, it is worth every second spent . The plant roots at every joint , so you need to separate the stem and leaves out . For me , it  easily takes 30 minutes to sort and get  just a fistful of cookable  greens.


The recipe is simple like any other musical, but the taste is extraordinary and no other greens can give such an aroma and flavor to the dish.


Toor dall – 1/2 cup

Pasarai keerai – fistful

Medium Onion -1 ( cubed )

Big tomato – 1 (cubed)

Dry red chillies – 5 numbers

Garlic – 10 small cloves ( or 5 big cloves )

Tamarind – Lemon size.

Method :

Pressure cook toor dall and chilled , add the greens , onion , tomato , garlic . Cook them till the greens are thoroughly cooked . It takes relative longer time to cook the succulent pearls than the other amaranthus kind of leaves. You can pressure cook them again if you want, I cooked them in an earthen pot on simmer. Take care not to add water more than what is needed to cook the veggies. When cooked, drop the  tamarind in the hot mixture. This softens  the tamarind but not fully cook it. This is a key trick not to cook the tamarind as the rawish taste of tamarind adds a nice punch to the dish . The dall is smashed with salt added and never returns to the stove. The smashing – You can use Kal Chatti and mathu , the traditional tools  or a hand blender will also do the job in a hurry. When the dhall is pureed , stop the churning and prepare the tadka .


Tadka :


Curry leaves


Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a kadai , splutter the crushed vadagam (If not , mustard and urad dall) followed by the curry leaves.

While it is still hot , pour it on top of the dall. Churn quickly to integrate the tadka into the dish. By now,the aroma might have invited all you family members to the dining table . 🙂

Enjoy the masiyal with hot rice and rice papads.


PS: If  you are on a mission to grow these in your backyard, terrace or balcony , save those remains of the keerai stems , lay them gently on the soil, in couple of weeks time, you will see the green carpet decorating your garden space.




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             In my childhood , our village often suffered powercuts. On those occasions, my mom used to compensate the ‘Edison’less nights  with her moonlight dinner(Nila Choru). My brothers and me sit around her in the moon lit hall , speaking about all good times .The menu would be rice with either this kuzhambhu or our other favourite, Varutha paruppu kuzhambhu with arisi vathal. The simplest menu though , will taste like heaven when she gives us those balls in our palms. Just wait for your turn for a big rice ball in your palm and eat till she finishes a round. No calorie calculations, just keep chatting and eating till your heart and stomach is filled with joy and food.


Toor dall- 1/3 cup

Medium yellow onion-1

Medium tomato- 1

Tamarind- amla size

Dry red chillies- 4/5 nos

Ingredients for paruppu kuzhambhu

         Cut the onion and tomato into wedges and cook the dall , onion, tomato and chilies in a pressure cooker till the lentils are cooked soft. My mom usually adds a few drops of oil when cooking for some good reason.  Add tamarind/ tamarind extract and salt  to the dall and grind it to smooth paste. Back home, my mom always uses a  chatti and maththu  to mash the dall. If you are lucky to have those ,  you may prefer to use them for better taste.  Dilute it to the consistency of rasam. 

           Do the thalippu with vadagam , add and heat . When the kuzhambhu is about to start boiling , turn off the heat. 

Rice floating in paruppu kuzhambhu

           The trick is to balance the heat , salt and sour . If you can hit the correct balance, this will be a great hit in your home. To me, this is my ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD. 

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This is the most favourite kuzhambu in our family. My amma makes it very often and it is never boring . It tastes so good with the fried vathal (rice crispies).

Before digging in the ingredients, I need to tell you about the vadagams (seasoning balls)  we make in our region. It is a mix of mustard seeds, urad dall, gram dall, crushed garlic , crushed onion, curry leaves , fenugreek seeds. In the summer when the onion are sold cheaper, our ladies prepare these balls for the whole year ahead. They crush onion and garlic, mix the other ingerdients along with oil. Make balls and sun dry it for several days . These are preserved in porcelain containers . It has for itself a special aroma and is much simpler way of doing the thalippu (தாளிப்பு)/popu.


Now to the dish:


Toor dall- 1/3 cup

Cumin seeds/jeera- 1 tsp

Peppercorns- 10 nos

fenugreek seeds-1 tsp 

Red chillies- 5 nos

vadagam- 1/3 ball

medium yellow Onion -1

Plum tomato- 1

Garlic- 3 cloves

Canola oil- 1 tbsp

Tamarind – amla size

Ingredients - varutha paruppu kuzhambhu

In a pressure cooker , heat the oil, sputter the vadagam, pepper, jeera, fenugreek seeds,chillies in the order mentioned. Then , add the dall and fry it till golden yellow. Add adequate water , cook with onion, garlic and tomato.  When cooked well, add salt and  tamarind and give a stir with hand blender.(Back home my amma does it with  maththu and kal chatti. The tasty kuzhambu is ready.I  am  happy to share my favourite menu with all of you. Give it a try and you are sure to thank me.


Fried dall and spices with onion, tomato and garlic


Our meal- Rice, varutha paruppu kuzhambhu, eggplant curry and arisi kanji vathal


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