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)
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