Time sure flies by and I am today drafting my final day post of this A -Z Andhra series of vegetarian recipes. The only ingredient I could think of with 'Z' was zucchini and so, I had decided that it would be a zucchini preparation for today without a second thought. There is no 'Z' sound in Telugu though the script allows it possible to write the sound. That is the beauty of Indian languages. What ever may be the sound or the word, native or not, can be written in any of the Indian languages and can be read with proper pronunciation. No guessing games on how to pronounce a word. If you know how to say a word, you can write it exactly as it needs to be written and vice versa. Now that's off my chest, let's move towards today's recipe.
Today's dish is unique to the region while the vegetable zucchini I used to prepare it is not native to India. Zucchini recently had started to appear in upscale markets in Indian cities though it is not widely available through out the country yet. I was not bothered by the fact that it is not native to the region since more than half of the popular and commonly used vegetables in India today were not local to India at some point. Potatoes and tomatoes would be a perfect example for that.
Theeya pappu literally means sweet dal though no sweetener is used here. It is called so since this kind of lentil preparation is milder compared to pulusu / pappu, the other lentil preparations from the region. Though it should be noted that it is not baby bland and spicier compared to some preparations from other regions in India. The vegetables commonly used for this kind of preparation are ridge gourd (beerakaaya), snake gourd (potlakaaya) or bottle gourd (sorakaaya) which all have mild flavors. Zucchini fits the bill and so, a theeya pappu was prepared.
3/4 cup toordal
1 zucchini, peeled and cubed
2 - 3 green chillies, sliced lengthwise *
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
1 - 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
* Red chillies, each broken into 3 to 4 bits can be substituted.
* Wash the toordal in two exchanges of water and discard the water. Then add zucchini cubes, green chillies, turmeric powder and about 1 &1/2 cups of water.
* Pressure cook them together (or in a sauce pan over stove top) until the lentils are softly cooked. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid of the cooker. Add salt to the cooked lentil mixture and stir well with the back of a ladle.
* Next heat oil in a small saute pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. If green chillies were not used earlier, red chillies can be added now. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves and asfoetida. Turn off the stove and add this seasoning to the cooked lentils. Garnish with minced cilantro.
* This pappu is served with some aavakaaya or fried sundried chillies. The pappu is eaten with rice, a spoon of ghee drizzled over.
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