After our move, certain foods have become nostalgic memories. They are like long last friends. We yearn for them, pine for them. They take the center stage, especially if some body is visiting from India. They acquire the status of eagerly awaited guests. When we can get hold of at least a few things, they instantly become precious commodities. Recently my husband's 'blink and miss' kind of India trip resulted in a bounty of food items sent lovingly by both my mother and mother in law. So, there are going to be a few postings related to them.
First of all, I must thank my dear MIL for sending me chinta chiguru / tender tamarind leaves / imli ke paththe. She got some tender tamarind leaves from one of her relatives. She saved some exclusively for me and sent along with my husband. My MIL who is a great fan of fresh greens prepares various kinds of dishes with them. The first thing which pops up when I think of greens is naturally, the famous Andhra 'Pappu' or dal. So, I prepared chinta chiguru pappu. Like sambars, they don't need spicy powders and they are not watery. Only the minimum amount of water needed to cook the dal is used and of course the basic flavors (as in any Indian dals) are prominently present. My mom even though ate this in her childhood, she never prepared this at our home and so, I tasted this first time when my MIL prepared this.
Usually tender, green, tamarind leaves are used to make the pappu. But by the time they reached me, they turned into dry leaves, almost half of them powdered. It made the dal look darker instead of being light green in color though the taste and flavor remained the same. The tamarind leaves are sour and you don't need any tamarind to make this dal.
For 'I' event, 'Imli Ke Paththon Ka Dal' - My another entry for Nupur's A - Z event.
Toor dal - 1/2 Cup
Tamarind leaves - A little less than 3/4 cup
Small sized, medium hot, green chillies, slit lengthwise - 4
Salt - Accordingly
Chillie powder - Accordingly
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - According to your taste
A few curry leaves
- Usually toor dal doesn't cook well with sour tamarind leaves. So, I cooked toordal and the tamarind leaves separately, till done. You can cook the tamarind leaves and green chillies in a microwave with water as you do any other vegetable. Cook dal with turmeric powder in a pressure cooker for 2 -3 whistles. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and mash the dal with the back of the ladle. If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook dal in a big pot with plenty of water on low - medium flame till it turns soft.
- Mix the cooked dal and tamarind leaves, add salt and chillie powders according to your taste. Cook it on a low flame for a few minutes.
- Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves. Turn off the stove when mustard seeds start to splutter. Add this tadka mixture to the dal / pappu. Stir all the dal once and close the lid. Let it sit for a few minutes so that all the flavors are infused into the dal / pappu.
- Serve hot with rice and ghee.