Pappu or dal is a quintessential dish from Andhra Pradesh, the southeastern state of India. Added fenugreek gives this protein-rich vegetarian dish a burst of flavor.
By Sasi Balaraman
Pappu or dal is one of the quitessentials from Andhra Pradesh, the southeastern state of India. Pappu refers to a thick stew usually prepared with toor dal or pigeon peas with or without vegetables and is a delicious source of protein in a mostly vegetarian diet. Literal translation, “Palakura Pappu” means “Spinach Lentils”, but this recipe also uses methi or fenugreek leaves in addition to spinach for beautiful flavor.
- 1 cup Toor dal/ Pigeon peas
- 1 small Onion, chopped
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 3 packed cups of Spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 packed cup of Fenugreek leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder
- handful of chopped Cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp Oil
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- ¾ tsp Cumin seeds
- 2-3 dry red Chillies
- ½ tsp Hing powder
- 1 sprig of Curry leaves
- Pressure cook toor dal in 2.5 cups of water along with turmeric powder, chopped onion, tomatoes & spinach for upto 4 whistles. Let it cool.
- Slightly mash the dal with the back of a ladle and transfer it to a pan. Add chopped methi, red chilli powder, salt and cook until the raw smell of red chilli powder is gone. Add more water if required and adjust the consistency of dal. Remove from heat.
- Heat 2 tsp of oil and add all of the items given under "Tadka" one after the other in the given order. Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter before adding cumin seeds. Roast rest of the ingredients until crisp and fragrant.
- Add tadka to cooked dal along with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix well and serve hot with rice.
- Traditionally, tamarind (gooseberry sized) is used for sourness, but I 've replaced it with lime juice here. Incase you want to try tamarind, pressure cook tamarind in ¼ cup of water along with pigeon peas but in a separate compartment and then, mash it up along with the dal.
- If you love spicy food, you can add upto 2 tsp of chilli powder, but I recommend halving it for kids.
- Tadka is an important part of making pappu. Hing and cumin seeds adds a wonderful aroma & flavor especially with greens.
Place a cup of steaming hot rice on a plate, pour 3-4 generous ladles of hot pappu on top, drizzle a teaspoon or two of ghee atop pappu, mix & eat - "Comfort food at its best"!!