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 spiritual and culinary adventure is coming to a conclusion and today we had our last cooking class. It was on two Chettinad style dishes. The first was “Mint Chutney” and the second “Kola Urundai Kolambu”.

Here’s the recipe for the “Mint Chutney” that we learned today.

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

We gather for our final cooking class

Two recipes are being taught today...

Some of the ingredients...

Main ingredients for the kola urundai kolambu

These little dumpling like things are then steamed.

The Kola Urundai Kolambu is almost complete and tastes absolutely delicious

Markley poses with Amma (mother) after the cooking class. Nobody makes a meal better than Amma...Part of what we aimed to do on this culinary adventure is learn from mothers. And this Amma knows how to cook!

 


A classic preparation from Kerala, Avial is a light, easy-to-make dish of vegetables cooked with coconut and yogurt. It goes particularly well with Pallapam. Preparation should take no more than 15 minutes, even faster if you use the microwave.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chopped vegetables – carrots, beans, peas, onions potato are all good
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove of garlic
green chili to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
Curry leaves, if available
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Cilantro for garnish

Method
1. Cook the vegetables. This can be done in boiling water, by adding the vegetables in sequence depending on how long they take to cook ie. potatoes first, then carrots, then beans. Alternatively, do the same thing in a microwave, starting with the slower cooking vegetables and adding the faster cooking ones later.
2. In a Cuisinart or blender, grind the coconut, turmeric, cumin and chilies.
3. Drain the vegetables (if boiled in water) and then stir in the ground coconut paste, yogurt, curry leaves, salt to taste and coconut oil. Check consistency and add a little water if it is too dry – there should be a little bit of a sauce clinging to the vegetables, but no liquid settling at the bottom.  Cook for a few more minutes over a medium heat – too much heat will curdle the yogurt so be careful.
Serve with rice or palappam and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Notes
• If I don’t have coconut oil, I sometimes use coconut flavored yogurt instead of the regular kind, but be careful that it is not overly sweetened. Siggi’s, which is available at many high end groceries makes a really good one.

• Curry leaves are a distinctive South Indian herb that is usually only available in Indian grocery stores.  They are worth looking for, but the dish is almost as good without it.

 

South Indian cooks make breads from lots of different ingredients more or less unknown in the west. This unusual and delicious bread from Kerala uses a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk. This is called Palappam, although often you just hear it referred to as appam, which simply means bread. It’s often served for breakfast with a coconut and yogurt based vegetable curry but is perfectly good for lunch or dinner. I’ve tried many different recipes and the best one I’ve found is from the great Keralan cook Nimmy Paul from her book Kitchens of Kerala, so I bring it to you here – follow it closely to be sure of success. It requires a little advance planning, as the batter needs time to ferment.

Ingredients
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon semolina
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method
1. Mix the semolina into the water, put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds or on the stove for a few minutes until it turns into a porridge. Let cool.
2. Stir in the yeast, coconut milk and sugar.
3. Allow to rise for 4 to 8 hours. Check consistency – it should be roughly like pancake batter or a little thinner.
4. Heat a small wok on the stove, ideally a non-stick wok, but if not, brush with just a little oil
5. Pour about 1/2 cup or a little less into the heated wok and immediately pick up the wok and swirl the batter around the edges until all the batter has been distributed. When you set the wok down, a little batter will settle back into the middle.
6. Cover the wok and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The edges should turn lacy and crispy and the bottom should start to brown.
7. Gently remove the appam from the pan with a thin flexible spatula.
8. They are best eaten fresh from the pan, but you can put them on a plate in a warm oven while you make the rest.

Notes
• Rice flour is relatively easy to find in asian markets. It’s a great ingredient and adds a distinctive crispiness to any batter or bread in which it is used. It’s also useful for thickening gravies.
• This batter is traditionally fermented using “toddy” the sap from a particular kind of South Indian palm tree that is made into an alcoholic beverage. Yeast is a fine substitute, but lacks a distinctive sweet note. Sometimes I add a little molasses or brown sugar rather than white sugar to make up for that.
• I find that the batter rises best in an oven with a pilot light or electric oven light turned on. In the winter, I sometimes turn on the oven for a minute or two to raise the temperature a little at the beginning.
• In South India, you can buy special pans for cooking this dish called Appachatti (literally Appam pan). This is very helpful, but a nonstick wok makes a perfectly good substitute.

 

paruppu-indian-lentil-recipe

Paruppu is a popular South Indian dish that is made from boiling lentils. It can be had with chapatis, rice or even by itself. This recipe is simple and uses ingredients that you can get in most stores.

Ingredients
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 inch of ginger
Salt to taste

For seasoning
Mustard and cumin seeds
Curry leaves (few)
1 small chopped onions
2 to 3 black pepper corns

The Method
Start by boiling in water 1 cup of masoor dal (red lentils) along with 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, quarter inch of chopped ginger and one green chili that has been sliced into four parts, quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder and half a teaspoon of chili powder. Boil this till the lentils are soft. You don’t want any water left. It’s still moist but does not have water. Add salt to taste.

In a separate pan, on a low heat, fry in oil a pinch of mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves and chopped onions. You can also omit the curry leaves if you can’t get any.

Once the mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the flame. Pour all the contents into the boiled lentils and mix it well.

In addition you can also dry fry (no oil) a quarter teaspoon of cumin seeds and 2 to 3 pepper corns. Once the cumin seeds starts to turn light brown and release its fragrance then turn off the flame. Crush this in a mortar pestle till in becomes powder in form. Add it to the lentils and mis it well.

You are now ready to serve this with chapatis or rice.

paruppu-south-indian-lentil-recipe

Paruppu served with chapatis and potato curry

Our South Indian spiritual and culinary adventure is only a little over 2 months away. Join us for 10-days in South India for an enchanting exploration of spirituality and south Indian cuisine. Click here to learn more about this journey.

 

chickpea-mushroom-indian-recipe

This is another simple recipe and it goes well with the chapatis that was featured a few days ago.

You start off with a little bit of oil in your wok or pan. Fry a pinch of mustard and fenugreek seeds till the mustard seeds starts to pop. Then add some garlic and fry this till it turns light brown. Now add ginger and onions and let this fry till the onions get soft.

I use white mushrooms which I slice thinly then add to the wok at this stage. Mix it well and add a little oil or butter if necessary. Make sure you mix it well so all the mushroom slices are coated with the good stuff. Let it cook till it’s soft.

Now add a can of chickpeas to the wok, 2 and a half cups of water, a tablespoon of coriander powder, half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and I add about 3 tablespoons of my favorite curry powder. Salt to taste as well of course. Mix it all really well and wait for the first boil.

Now add some coconut milk. I added about half of a cup, mixed it really well again and waited for the first boil before taking it off the stove to serve.

Join us on our spiritual and culinary adventure to South India starting February 19th, 2012.