Well, if you can say the name of this dish then you can surely make it as it is easier than it sounds. And when you have one of these lentil balls (urandais) in your mouth you won’t be saying anything as it is absolutely delicious.

We learned this on our most recent spiritual and culinary adventure in South India in January 2012. When I first saw it being made in front of me I thought to myself that this takes a lot of work and I was hesitant to try it. But having tried it a week ago and realized how fairly simple it is I’ve made it twice now.

Here’s the recipe and I hope you’ll give it a go. Photos below are from cooking class during our culinary tour in South India.

Ingredients for Kola Urundai (Lentil balls)
1. Toor dhal (Pigeon peas) – half cup
2. Bengal gram dhal (black chick peas) – a handful
3. Raw rice – 2 teaspoon

Soak above for 15 mins, drain and keep aside. (I actually did it with only the Toor dhal)

4. Red chilly – 1
5. Garlic – 3 cloves
6. Aniseed – 1 teaspoon

Grind all the above (from 1 to 6), coarsely, and keep aside

7. Coconut shredded – quarter coconut
8. Onion shallots or small onions – 3, slice finely
9. Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons finely cut
10. Curry leaves – 2 tablespoons finely cut
11. Turmeric – quarter teaspoon
12. Salt to taste

Mix all the above from (1 to 12) well.

Shape into balls and steam for 10 minutes, keep aside.

Ingredients for the gravy or sauce
1. Oil – 4 tablespoons
2. Cinnamon – 3 small sticks
3. Aniseed – 1 teaspoon
4. Onion shallots or small onions – 10 to 15, slice finely
5. Tomatoes – 4
6. Turmeric – quarter teaspoon
7. Chilli powder – 2 teaspoons
8. Coriander powder – 4 teaspoons
9. Water – 4 cups

Masala to be ground fine for the gravy
10. Coconut – half shredded
11. Poppy seeds – half teaspoon
12. Aniseeds – 1 teaspoon
13. Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Grind fine from (10 to 13) and keep aside

The Method

Heat oil in pan.
Add the cinnamon and aniseed, stir till aniseed splutters (takes about half a minute).
Add the small onions and saute.
Add the tomatoes and saute.
Add the chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
Add the ground gravy masala.
Add the water and boil for 5 minutes.
Add the steamed Kola Urundai one by one carefully in order not to break it.
Boil and remove from fire, decorate with coriander leaves.
Serve with rice.

Some of the ingredients...

Main ingredients for the kola urundai kolambu

These little dumpling like things are then steamed.

Dumplings are placed gently into the curry (sauce)


Here’s a recipe that we acquired on our recent spiritual and culinary adventure in South India. This Mint Chutney recipe was taught to us in the heart of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu state where they make some amazing food.

Ingredients required
Mint leaves – few sprigs
Shallots – 100gms
Garlic – 1 pod
Ginger – 1 inch
Coconut (grated) – half cup
Tamarind – Small quantity
Red chillies – 2 chillies
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 table spoon

Preparation Method
1. Place a frying pan on the stove
2. Pour oil and heat
3. Add red chillies, finely chopped small onions, ginger, garlic and the remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Then add the mint leaves and grated coconut
5. Remove the mixture after the coconut flavour disappears
6. Then grind the mixture in a grinder to make it a paste
7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl
8. Serve as a side dish…

We were so keen to eat this at the end that we forgot to take a photo of the final product….sorry!


Our approach to meditation is simple and systematic. A clear understanding of what is involved is shared, a plan outlined and tools given to create or sustain a meditation practice. The rest is up to you for true progress with meditation lays solely on your consistent effort.

Whether you are a beginner or someone who has been meditating for a while you’ll find these classes very useful. The class will begin with some very basic Sanskrit chanting. This is followed by some interactive study aimed at providing a clear understanding of the journey within you are seeking to embark on. The class concludes with a simple, systematic guided meditation that takes you within yourself and brings you back out.

Do join me on this series of three classes. If you are keen to learn about meditation or strengthen your current practice, you’ll enjoy them. Students of all levels, including beginners, are welcome.

10th, 17th & 24th of April (Tuesdays)
at The Shala Yoga House
Click the link for more information and to register for these classes on meditation in NYC.


On Sunday, March 18th, we conducted two workshops in St. John (the US Virgin Islands) at the Westin Resort. The morning class was yoga and meditation and the afternoon class was on Spiritual Tools for a Balanced Life.

Angela Alfieri starts the workshop with an hour of asana practice

Thank you Angela for setting up these two workshops in St.John

Dandapani teaching meditation class

St. John is simply beautiful...

The gorgeous Trunk Bay on St. John

One of the local residents on St. John... a stingray followed closely by a fish


After the meditation workshop I journey to St.John one of my most favorite islands in the Caribbean. The ferry from Red Hook in St.Thomas runs every hour and the ride is pretty smooth and takes about 20 minutes to get to St.John. St.John is lovely in every way with some spectacular beaches. I arrive in time to sit on the beach at the small port and watch the sunset.

We pass small islands on the way to St.John from St.Thomas

Sunset on St.John viewed from Cruz Bay


We gathered on Saturday morning at Inspiration Hall at Paradise Cove on St. Thomas for our yoga and meditation workshop. Yoga (asana) class was led by Angela Alfieri for the 1st hour and then I led a 2-hour meditation workshop.

Here are some photos from our morning gathering.

Angela leads the asana class

Angela teaches a very reflective class with simple postures allowing students of all levels to follow along effortlessly.

Learning how to concentrate was one of the topics we focused on.

We also did a guided meditation.

Teaching people a simple and systematic method to draw their awareness inward and upward.

We pose for a group photo at the end of the workshop...


During our spiritual adventure to the Maha Kumbha Mela in February 2013 we plan to also visit Kolkata, Varanasi, Khajuraho and Panna National Park. We’ll probably be adding one more location to the itinerary but that will be finalized in the days to come. The spiritual adventure is expected right now to be about 12 days in duration. Stay tuned for more details.

Please email me if you are interested in joining this spiritual adventure.

One of the sadhus (monks) at the last Kumbha Mela festival held in Haridwar, North India in 2010