Thursday, 4 March 2010

Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil balls in tamarind gravy)

Urundai kuzhambu is one of my favourite. My mom used to make it once in a while. I tried this after a long, long time. Made some changes to the usual method. It came out very well. So here comes the recipe:


Bengal gram dhal- 1 cup
Toor dhal- 1 handful
Moong dhal- 1 handful
Onions- 2 nos
Tomato-1 no
Fennel seeds- 2 tspn
Fenugreek seeds (methi)- 1 tspn
Mustard seeds- 1 tspn
Green chillies- according to your taste
Red chilli powder- 2 tspn
Coriander powder- 1 tbspn
Curry leaves
Dry coconut scrappings- 1 tbspn (If you have fresh coconut grind to paste two big pieces)
Tamarind- size of a small lemon


First soak all the dhals (lentils) together in water for one hour. Then grind them in a mixer grinder (I have grounded the batter to a smooth consistency). Then cut one onion and 4 green chillies into small pieces. Cut curry leaves too into small pieces. Then mix the onion, green chillies, curryleaves and 1 tspn of fennel seeds to the batter. Add 1 tspn of chilli powder and salt to taste to the ground batter. Mix well. Heat oil in a wok (take enough to fry the lentil dumblings). When the oil is hot enough take small lemon sized batter and drop in oil. Fry till they turn golden brown. In batches fry the remaining batter in oil and keep aside. Now heat oil in a pan ( ~2 tbspn) , when the oil gets heated add 1 tspn of fenugreek seeds and 1 tspn of mustard seeds. When it splutters add the diced onion pieces, tomato pieces and curry leaves. Saute for a few minutes. Add salt according to your taste. Then when the tomato pieces are cooked good enough add 1 tbspn full of coriander powder and 1 tspn of hot chilli powder. Saute for few seconds (take care not to burn). Then add the tamarind extract (extracted from alredy soaked tamarind). Let it boil for 5 min on high flame. Then taste the tamarind garvy and adjust salt and chilli powder according to your taste. If you have ground coconut paste add it at this stage. ( Let the mixture boil for 3 more minutes before you add fried lentil dumblings) If you have dry coconut scrapping add it at the last stage after adding the lentil dumblings. Now add the fried lentil dumblings. Boil it for further 5 minutes and then simmer it until the oil seperates out. Tasty, tasty urundai kuzhambu is ready. Goes very well with rice and chappathi. Tastes good with idly too.

Many people will not fry the lentil balls. They grind the lentils without much water. They do not also grind the batter to a smooth consistency. They make balls out of the batter, keep them on idly stand and steam cook the dumblings. Ofcourse it’s a healthy version without much oil. But when done like that it takes atleast a day for the dumblings to soak fully in tamaring gravy. If you grind the batter smooth with little bit more water and fry them before adding to the tamarind gravy, you will have the advantage of the dumblings getting soaked immediately in the gravy and acquiring a very good tatste. If you steam the lentil dumblings, I personally feel that they still retain the raw smell. But its upto you to decide which method to follow.

Some taste enhancing tips for this recipe is : add lots of curry leaves both in the lentil batter and during tadka, If possible use gingelly oil (nallennai) when making tadka. Never forget to add fennel seeds (saunf) in the batter. Addition of fennel seeds imparts a nice flavour.

Happy cooking!!!