Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kongu Foods 2 - Pulses

In Kongu Foods I, I covered the Cereals or Grains the mainstay of any meal in a Kongu home. A good act requires a talented supporting cast for its success, in a Kongu meal pulses play that role to perfection and a meal is not considered complete without a preparation of pulses. Pulses alongside the cereals and grains provide the main source of energy for many a Kongu. Pulses contain 20-30% protein, 60% carbohydrates and are a rich source of niacin, thiamine, iron, calcium and phosphorus all required for a healthy living.

For diets that do not include a lot of meat, pulses are essential source of protein and there are as many tasty recipes to incorporate pulses into the regular diet. Kongus are comprised of Vegetarians and Non Vegetarians, like my mom's side who are pure Vegetarian and do not eat even eggs and my father's side who are all Non Vegetarians. Vegetarianism in Kongu Nadu became common about 500 years ago when Jainism was spreading in Tamilnadu. Even among Non Vegetarians eating animal protein is not a every day affair rather a weekend or special occasion preparation so adding pulses into everyday foods becomes a required necessity.

Pulses are used either whole or split. The most common varieties used are
1. Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal)
2. Green Gram (Moong Dal)
3. Horse Gram (Kollu)
4. Lima Bean (Mochai parappu, Val Dal)
5. Black Gram (Urad dal)
6. Cow Peas (Thatta payar)
7. Beans

A preparation of dal with a spicy tangy Puli Kuzhambu (Spicy Tamarind Curry), rasam made with the water saved from cooking the dal, vegetable poriyal and curd makes a complete meal in any Kongu home.

There are several different ways that dals are cooked but the most common being Uppu Paruppu (salted dal) seasoned with some onions, green chilies, garlic, mustard seeds and curry leaves in a bit of ghee and usually eaten with rice and a dash of ghee

Cow Peas, Lima Beans are cooked commonly like this recipe, with the addition of a vegetable like brinjal or bottle gourd with a bit of tamarind. When split they make a tasty addition to arisim paruppu saatham.

Mochai Paruppu is eaten fresh shelled from the pods and made into a delicious stir fry with coconut and onions or cooked into a spicy curry like the recipe in the previous link.

In all this talk of cooking dals the ubiquitous sambhar cannot be forgotten, it makes its appearance at least once every, to be eaten with idli, dosai or rice.

Kootu is another tasty preparation that is made not quiet as often as sambhar or uppu paruppu. A vegetable seasoned with a blend of coconut, green chilies and cumin seeds is cooked with the dal.

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Mochai Paruppu, Paasi Paruppu Kootu
1. 1 Cup of Split Mochai Paruppu and Paasi Paruppu (Val Dal, Moong Dal) cooked with a pinch of turmeric and few drops of oil
2. 1/4 onion chopped
3. 10-15 green beans (any vegetable should work) chopped fine
4. seasonings, mustard, cumin and curry leaves
5. 1 tsp ghee

1. 1 tbsp grated coconut
2. 3 Green Chilies
3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
Lightly toast and make to a paste

1. In a pan heat a bit of ghee, add cumin and mustard seeds
2. Add the onions and fry till translucent
3. Add the green beans and salt and cook till the beans are tender
4. Add the coconut paste and let it cook for a 2-3 minutes
5. Add the mashed dal with a 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer for a 5-6 minutes (the amount of water added depends on the consistency that is required)

Serve with rice or Chapati with a dash of ghee.


  1. ISG nice info :) i love kootu and it has become one of our side dishes in our routine! today bottlegouard kootu with chapatis for my lunch !

  2. This is how I make kootu too. I add a coupla tomatoes when pressure cooking dal for a tasty tomato dal, which is my absolute fav for rotis :)

  3. That looks so comforting. I'll gladly take that plate. I make this kootu too. The info you have posted on pulses is good.

  4. Hello..first time on your blog..shall surely try this curry. Thanks.
    Best Regards.

  5. Never heard of Kongu food till now but loved reading something new today, love that pappu with those amazing array of pulses!!

  6. Kongu! HeHe!! Makes me smile everytime!
    Val dal and Moong dal combo sounds great. Masala sounds like Avial, which I love!:))

  7. My in laws have lived in Coimbatore for ages - my mom in law has shared a few kongu nadu recipes with me - i love the dosa varieties

  8. hey gr8 recipe !! i also loved the recipe with bajra cooked like rice. wanna try these two soon.

  9. thank u indo for very informative and detailed post abt kongu food. its everyday learning process for me and its really interesting how diverse even a regional food is.
    by the way, i am not able to view the pic:(

  10. I recently learned what exactly a kootu is, and the diff between poriyal and kootu... :), I love kootu, my mother in law uesd to make it with every meal when she visited, I never make those.. may be I should start.. And puli kulambu is one of my favorite gravies.. thanks for all the detailed info Indo!

  11. This is like well reserached essay on Food. I almost always add tomatoes to Dal, actually to anything :)

  12. that's some good info, tx!
    u'hv been tageed!

  13. ISG,I tried this with chappati. It was liked by all. The striking feature of this was I liked french beans appear in this dish as though it was a upperi or dry dish and then addition of daal turning it into a gravy!It was delicious.Tku for posting.(PS:I didnt have Val hence I replaced it with frozen peas which my daughter loves..she loved this dish too!!)Shall blog on it soon. :)

  14. Purnima, I am so glad you gave this a try and super glad for letting me know, will look forward to your post.

  15. Hi ISG, I love all this information about pulses -- I never knew val dal was lima bean! So funny because as a child, oh, how I hated those dreaded limas... now val dal is a favorite :) Thanks for taking the time to write this up and link so many delicious recipes!


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