Unda Mor Kootan (Lentil Dumplings In A Yogurt Base)

A couple of years ago, I ran a series of kadhi (yogurt based dishes) from different parts of the country. I was amazed at the number of kadhis in India. All of them are broadly similar in the method of preparation – use a vegetable or dumpling in a curd base – but differed widely in taste and texture. In fact, I know several aficionados who prefer a Punjabi kadhi or a Uttar Pradesh kadhi. This recipe has its origin in Tamizhnadu and Kerala. It is a simple preparation of lentil (paruppu, dal) balls immersed in a spiced yogurt base. The lentil balls are called paruppu urundai (meaning lentil balls). And it tastes out of this world.


For The Paruppu Urundai

1/2 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, tuvaram paruppu)

2-3 dried red chillies

1 tsp mustard seeds

A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)

2 tbsp grated coconut

2-3 tbsp coriander leaves (dhania patha, kothamalli elai), chopped

1 sprig curry leaves

For The Mor Kootan (the base)

2 1/4 cups vegan curd (not too thick or too thin)

A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)

1/2 tsp black pepper corns (kali mirch, kurumilagu)

A small piece of raw mango

1/2 cup grated coconut

3 green chillies

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam)

1 tsp brown rice flour

For The Seasoning

1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)

2 dried red chillies

1 sprig curry leaves (kadi patha, karuvepilai)


Grind 1/2 cup grated coconut, cumin, green chillies, pepper corns, raw mango and rice flour to a smooth paste

Sprinkle a little water, if necessary

Set aside

Preparing the Paruppu Urundai

Soak the tur dal for 2 hours

Drain water completely and grind with asafoetida, red chillies, and salt (do not add water)

Set aside

Heat a wok and add mustard seeds

When they start spluttering, add curry leaves and the ground dal

Saute on low flame for 3-4 minutes

Add grated coconut and coriander leaves and remove from flame

Once this mixture cools, make medium sized balls (do not pack the balls too hard as it will not absorb the gravy)

Steam the balls for 10 minutes

Transfer to an air fryer and ‘fry’ for 5 minutes at 200° C

Set aside

Preparing The Mor Kootan (the base)

Add the curd to a deep bottomed vessel

Add turmeric powder, salt and the ground paste of coconut/green chillies/cumin seeds/rice flour/pepper corns/raw mango

Mix well and heat on medium flame

As the mixture begins to boil, add the paruppu urundai one at a time

Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from flame

Set aside

Heat a small wok and and mustard seeds

When they begin to splutter, add the red chillies (broken into 2 and de-seeded)  and curry leaves

Remove from flame and pour over the mor kootan

Serve hot with steamed brown or red rice


Serves 4







3 Comments Add yours

  1. Shubha says:

    This is one of the best posts Sir! It shows that an extremely traditional dish that will make many tamilians hesitate from turning vegan not wanting to forego this, has been veganised.


  2. dpranita583 says:

    Beautiful & new food.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s