Paruppu (Dal)

When I was a kid, both the main meals in my home were invariably rice, with accompanying kootan (dish to be mixed with rice) and a vegetable side. That’s because South Indians were primarily rice eaters. It was only on rare occasions that an Indian flat bread was made, always for dinner. None of the different kinds of breads that are served these days. Then, it was always a chapathi. Along with chapathi, this simple dal preparation made the meal complete. Every time. It was the same not only in my home, but in most South Indian homes. As Indians became more adventurous with food, the chapathi became less popular, replaced with phulkas, paranthas… And I almost never find this simple dal being served these days. It’s mostly the heavier Punjabi dal preparations. But, to me, this dal is comfort food. So, I got Hari to prepare it for me – and was transported to the blissful days of my childhood.


1/2 cup green gram dal (moong dal, payatham parupu)
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups of water
To Temper
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
A pinch of asafoetida
1 green chili, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
Rinse the green gram dal
Boil the water in a heavy bottomed vessel
Add the green gram dal, asafoetida, salt and turmeric powder
Reduce flame to low and cook till the green gram dal is soft, stirring occasionally
Remove from flame and mash the green gram dal well, till creamy
Set aside
Heat a wok and add the mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the remaining items listed under “To Temper”
Once the split black gram becomes golden brown, remove from flame and to the cooked green gram dal
Serve hot with red/brown rice or any kind of Indian flat breads

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