Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Pappu Chaaru with Bendakaya (bendi, Okra)

Cooked and Mashed Toor dal, Tamarind Extract, Jaggery
Cooked and Mashed Toor dal, Tamarind Extract, Jaggery

If toor dal, the mother of all dals, has offspring, it would have three. They would be the pappu (dal), the pappu chaaru and the sambhar. Our regular pappu (tadka dal) is like big sister, always there to feed us when we are short on time and out of meal ideas. Sambhar is the darling little one, so naturally show stopper and attention grabber. Needs all spice bling in the world (sambhar powder) to shine and of course would bring much joy to the party. Imagine a party without sambar. No way, right? Then there is the pappu chaaru, typical middle child. Some of us don’t even know it exists and some of us compare and confuse it with the first and last ones.

Pappu chaaru has same ingredients of dal (pappu) but the cooking method is different and we add jaggery to it. And looks like sambhar but doesn’t have the several special spices typical for sambhar in it. It may not be as regular or as flashy like pappu and sambhar in our homes, but pappu chaaru has many admirers and die-hard fans, sort of like underground following. When you get to know pappu chaaru, you would immediately grasp why millions of Andhra households adore this darling dish.

Typical Pappu chaaru has a consistency of fresh honey, not too watery or not too thick. Main ingredient is of course toor dal. Distinct nature comes from the addition of good quality jaggery and tamarind. In case of vegetables, constant are onions and ripe tomatoes – sometimes bendi or drumsticks are also added. Regulars – salt, red chilli powder and turmeric are added along with aqua. Curry leaves touch, that’s about it. Together they are cooked to a honey consistency and the end result does have an addictive quality like honey.

Pappu chaaru, dal and sambar, this is the order how my mother introduced us to toor dal. For that reason, pappu chaaru has always holds a special place in my heart.


Pressure cook:
4 fistfuls (1 cup) of toor dal in one glass of water to tender. Mash the dal to smooth.

1 onion – finely sliced lengthwise
1 ripe tomato – finely chopped
1-inch pieces – optional and to taste – Bendakaya (okra) or drumsticks (munagakaya), about 8 to 10 cut pieces

Do the popu and cook:
In a pot, heat a teaspoon of oil. Do the popu or tadka (toast curry leaves, dried red chilli pieces, cumin and mustard seeds in one teaspoon of peanut oil).
Add onions. Saute to soft. Add tomatoes and vegetables. Cook to tender, stirring often.
Add the cooked and mashed toordal.
Stir in salt, red chilli powder and turmeric to taste or ½ tsp each.
Add 2 tablespoons each – freshly prepared tamarind juice and jaggery pieces.
Add about a big glass of water. Mix and bring to a boil on high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer the whole thing for about 10 to 15 minutes. Just before turning off the heat, sprinkle some finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

Let the pappu chaaru sit covered for at least 10 minutes and then serve warm with rice. Tastes extra good when it’s cold.

Okra Pappu Chaaru with Rice and Taro (Chaama Dumpa) Chips

Recipe source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Benda Kaaya(Okra),Toor Dal (Monday November 20, 2006 at 2:22 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

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17 comments for Pappu Chaaru with Bendakaya (bendi, Okra) »

  1. Love the simplicity of Dal. Will try this version soon. Btw I dont know whether its ur writing style,down-to-earth recipes or the photos that make me a regular visitor here :-)Yeh dil maange more of Mahanandi 🙂

    Comment by Keralagirl — November 20, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  2. Hi Indira,

    Never had this dish, but your write-up makes me want to sample it.

    Comment by Sangeeta — November 20, 2006 @ 2:48 pm

  3. Hi Indira,

    I make the similar one with moongdal but I don’t add tamirind or jaggary anything.Just cook dal and season it with garlic and mustered.We like it this one with some fried vegetable like yours.Nice pictures as useual.


    Comment by Anonymous — November 20, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

  4. Hi Indira

    We make this pappu charu too… but call it pappu pulusu. Our version has sauted whole garlic and green chillies in it instead of onions and tomatoes, and is made with roasted toor dal… will post the recipe on my blog on of these days!

    Comment by Nalini — November 20, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

  5. Hi Indira,
    Your 3 sister comparison of Pappu, pappu charu and sambar is so realistic. Neither plain as pappu nor pompous as sambar, pappu charu steels the hearts while dripping hot into stomach. And yes, like the middle sister, pappu charu bridges the gap between the simple and the complex.

    Comment by Anuradha — November 20, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  6. Hi Indira,

    Lovely pictures!! I like the recipe too! The picture with the bowl of rice and pappu charu just gave a neat idea. I am going to make the pappu charu and mix it in with cooked brown rice and transfer this to a crock pot… let it cook there for a few hours. I am sure the brown rice will soak up all the flavors from the charu and won’t taste bland. I want to try making the taro chips too… the pic is making me very hungry right now.

    Comment by Sowmya — November 20, 2006 @ 5:25 pm

  7. Indira,

    your photos, simply mouth watering and this is my all time favourite dish. This reminds me of my mom who served pappu charu with hot rice, a dash of ghee and gummadi vadiyalu.

    Comment by sowjanya — November 20, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

  8. Mouth Watering!
    I liked the comparison that you made between the three varieties of dishes made out of pappu. Pappu Chaaru is very filling to the tummy though sambar tends to dominates it.

    Your post reminded me too of my mummy making a yummy pappu chaaru with lots of drumsticks( i like drumsticks very much) and having it with White Rice and Neyyi accompanied by either Vadiyalu or Perugu Mirapakayalu.

    Lovely Photos like always! I feel at home visiting Mahanandi 🙂


    Comment by Deepu — November 20, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  9. Hi! So nicely you have described about Toor Dal. I loved the way.

    Comment by manjubansal — November 20, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  10. what a way to describe it!!!!! 🙂 I have always been fond of all forms of south indian meals….. and this one gets added to my list of ‘to make’ dishes. 🙂

    Comment by Rooma — November 20, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

  11. hi indira,

    very nice recipe. one of my favourites. we call it pappu pulusu. instead of red we use green chillies.
    The pics look great.

    Comment by Madhavi — November 21, 2006 @ 2:40 am

  12. Hi Indira- Is chaaru similar to rasam? I guess we make it more watery and use rasam powder made for it specifically. For a different dish, I will have to make it this way this winter.

    As for your previous post, I would like to know how you scaled your recipe for Aloo chole to make in such a large scale?

    Comment by mika — November 21, 2006 @ 11:09 am

  13. Hello Indira,

    I just wanted to say that I made this recipe today and it came out wonderfully! The measurements and instructions are very easy to follow, esp for me as I have never tried Andhra cooking before. Three cheers to your site! I am goin to definitely try more of your recipes!

    Comment by DropsofJupiter — January 28, 2007 @ 2:15 am

  14. hey, great to find authentic pappu charu.



    Comment by sankeertha — March 26, 2008 @ 3:06 am

  15. Hi Indira:
    Will you invite us for a very good lunch at your home 🙂

    Comment by Bhargavi — April 25, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  16. hi there,

    i tried ur recipe today. i really came very well. But i didn’t understand when u want us to add onions. Everything went well but at the time of adding onions i was confused…… can u should be made brown or translucent and when i need to add it. thx in advance for ur reply.
    Have a Great weekned


    Comment by farah — June 13, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  17. Dear Indira Garu

    I made this recipe yesterday and it came out fantastic. Thank you. My variation to this recipe is that I used equal portions of “Toor dal” and “Moong dal”. This gave my charu a more creamy texture.

    You Rock

    Comment by Balu — August 26, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

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