Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu – Lentil Dumplings in coconut milk gravy

paruppu urundai kuzhambu,lentil dumpling stewThere are several versions of paruppu urundai kuzhambu around; this is my Ammama’s version and one which we’ve all been diligently copying because it’s that good. This Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is another very typical Tamil dish, although there are plenty of dumpling based gravies and stews that are made across different parts of India. For these dumplings (urundais) we use Toor dal our all- time favourite paruppu. In TamilNadu, we can make our entire repertoire of dishes with just Uuna-kaana-paana-tuna – the 4 basic lentils. Uuna – Ulatham paruppu/Black gram, Kaana – Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal, Paana – Paasi paruppu/Moong dal and Tuna – Toor dal/Red. Idli, Vadai, Pongal and Sambar in that order.

paruppu urundai kuzhambu,lentil dumpling stew

The ground masala and coconut milk infuse this kuzhambu with a delicious aroma and a rich, smooth texture. The steamed dumplings are added at the final stage to soak up all those delicious flavours. The longer these dumplings soak, the softer and juicier they are. I personally prefer dumplings to be really soft which are almost about to disintegrate. If you prefer them this way then under-steam by a few minutes and simmer the kuzhambu a little longer.  This paruppu urundai kuzhambu tastes best served hot with rice and a big dollop of ghee. Adadada! Apapapa!

I am sending this Paruppu urundai Kuzhambu to the Blogging Marathon for the theme “Dallying with dumplings”.

paruppu urundai kuzhambu,lentil dumpling stew

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 5

Ingredients for the dumpling

Toor dal/Red gram – 1 cup rinsed and soaked in water for 2 hours or overnight
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 4-5 cloves peeled
Green chillies – 3 roughly chopped
Fennel seeds/Saunf/Sombu – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Kuzhambu/gravy

Onion – 1 large chopped fine
Tomatoes – 2 medium pureed
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 3-4 cloves peeled
Green chillies – 2-3
Fennel seeds/saunf/Sombu – 2 tsp
Coconut milk – extracted from one coconut (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups)
Red chilli powder – 1-1/2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp


1.      Rinse toor dal/red gram in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak for 2 hours or overnight. Grind to a fine paste along with salt, adding very little water. Set aside.

2.      Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies and fennel seeds adding a little bit of water to a fine paste. You can do this in one step for the dumpling and the kuzhambu together and then use half the paste for the dumpling and half for the kuzhambu.

3.      Combine half the ginger-garlic paste with the ground dal and mix well. Add turmeric powder and mix well.

4.      Make small lemon sized rounds of the dal mixture and steam on oiled idli plates for 8-10 minutes till firm. Remove and let cool down.

5.      For the kuzhambu, heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai or pot. Add the chopped onions and sauté till translucent and soft. Add the remaining ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the pureed tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Cook on low for about 5-7 minutes or till the oil separates.

6.      Pour in the coconut milk and give it a good stir. When the kuzhambu comes to a boil, drop in the dumplings gently and let boil for 5 minutes. Switch off and serve hot with rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#30

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