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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Seemavankaya Pappu / Andhra Style Lentils with Chayote

'Pappu' is a lentil aka dal dish from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The dish is on a thicker side compared to sambhar, a signature lentil dish from south India and also doesn't need sambhar powder. Green mango, greens, cuke, okra, tomato, and some of the gourds are the commonly used vegetables to prepare this style of dal. Chayote also works well in a pappu recipe though it is not used traditionally. The lentils can be pressure cooked adding the vegetable of your choice, green chili and even the tamarind, making it a quick and easy preparation. The seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida makes the dal flavorful. The delicious dal is served with rice, drizzling with ghee.
Ingredients needed for pappu:
1 cup pigeon peas / toor dal
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 small chayote - peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes (I had about a cup.)
1 spicy green chili, slit lengthwise
Salt to taste (I added about 1 & 3/4 tsp. salt.)
1/2 tsp. spicy chili powder or as needed

Thick tamarind puree (I used somewhere about 3 - 4 tbsp. See note below.)
Ingredients for seasoning / popu: 
2 tsp oil 
1 tsp. mustard seeds 
1 tsp. cumin seeds (optional)
A pinch of fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 pinches of asafoetida
Few curry leaves

* Wash pigeon peas / toor dal with water twice and throw away the cloudy water. Pressure cook the dal adding chayote cubes, green chili, turmeric powder and 
2 cups of water for 3 whistles or until done. (I cooked chayote separately. The dal can be cooked in a thick bottomed pan on stove top in lieu of a pressure cooker. Soak dal for a couple of hours in that case to fasten the cooking process. Cook until the dal softens adding water as needed.)
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid. Slightly mash the cooked dal with the back of a ladle and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Then add the mashed dal, salt, chili powder and tamarind. Mix all the ingredients well with the ladle. Add extra water if the dal appears thicker. Check the taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Bring the dal to a boil and lower the heat setting. Let the dal simmer for 3 to  4 minutes for all the flavors to mingle and turn off the stove.
How to serve:
Serve this with a small mound of rice and a tsp of ghee. Serve along with a pickle, koora (a vegetable preparation), and yogurt for Andhra style lunch.

1. Soak about 1/4 cup of tamarind in water for about an hour or microwave for about 3 minutes adding water. Squeeze thick tamarind puree using your fingers or passing through a sieve. Discard the seeds and fibre. Use the puree as needed and refrigerate the rest. The amount of tamarind puree used depends upon how much tartness is preferred in the dal. It must balance the salt and chili powder used in the recipe. If using ready made tamarind paste, the quantity mentioned above varies.
2. Chili powder can be entirely omitted from the recipe and green chillies can be used accordingly. Or only green chilies can be used in the recipe.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Regional Side dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.


vaishali sabnani said...

This dal is quite similar to the Sindhi Dal that I make . We too use quite a few veggies but the dal consistency is lighter , unlike this thick dal .

Radha said...

Sounds a comforting side with a bowl of steaming rice! Delicious curry!