Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu(Lentil dumpling curry)

This is another specialty of my grandmas…it tastes so good, that even people who love non vegetarian like my brother, absolutely love it. It tastes very different, where the lentil dumplings are made by grinding soaked dal along with a medley of spices and steamed. The steamed dumplings are then drowned in a curry again made again with a similar freshly ground spice blend. Nothing tastes as great as freshly ground spices made into a curry.

For the paruppu urundai(lentil dumplings):

1 cup toor dal
1/2 of a big red onion, chopped very fine
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 red chillies
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste

For the kuzhambu(curry):
1 red onion, finely chopped/ 1 cup shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup tamarind extract
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste

Grind to a paste:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
8 red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds(khuskhus)
1/4 cup grated coconut


First off, soak the toor dal, for about an hour.

Make the spice paste for the curry by blending together all the ingredients, listed under ‘Grind to a paste’. Remove and set aside.

In the same blender, place the drained dal, along with the red chillies, cumin, fennel seeds and pulse for about 2-3 times. You are looking for a coarse crumbly mixture. Dump this onto a bowl and mix in the salt, chopped onion, garlic and cilantro. Divide it into equal golf sized balls and place in a steamer. Steam for about 10 minutes, until firm and cooked through.

While the dumplings steam, heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Make the tadka by adding mustard, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves, followed by the onions and sliced garlic. Saute until completely cooked and translucent. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until soft and pulpy. Add the spice paste and a cup of water. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind extract and simmer for another 5 minutes. The dumplings should be steamed and ready , gently place the dumplings in the curry and let it simmer for another 5 minutes, until the dumplings absorb the flavors of the curry. Serve hot with steaming rice!

Note: If the curry appears runny and not so thick, break up one or two dumplings to add thickness to the curry.

Verdict: I remember how my grandma’s curry tasted like, very distinctly..even the cute little round bottomed pan, she always served this curry in. And, I felt a warm sensation, as I licked up the curry and the curry soaked dumplings(paruppu urundai’s) and enjoyed the familiar comforting taste. I feel really happy that I could replicate the delicious taste of my grandmas recipe. Hope you would try and like it too.

Sending this to ‘CWF – Toor dal’, event series by Kiran and also to ‘My Legume Love affair – 36‘ series by Susan.

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