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

Dazzling Dals ~ Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu)

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Traditionally in Nandyala, dal is usually prepared with less water. The idea is to make round balls of rice, dal and ghee called pappu mudda or amma/mama mudda . Mothers prepare this small rounds to feed children in our homes. Less water means tight dal means firm, round amma mudda.

We love this type of rice-dal muddas. For dal fans, this less water dal is a must try. You will be hooked, I promise. The taste is completely different from watery type of dal. There are some vegetables which suit this type of tight dal, and brinjal is one of them. Young, firm, white fleshed brinjals are cooked with toor dal and red chilli powder. The taste is really special and this traditional dal from Rayalaseema region is a must try for purple/green brinjal fans.

Firm, white fleshed purple brinjal pieces and Toor dal


½ cup of toor dal and 1½ cups of water
2 purple or green young, firm and white fleshed brinjals – cut to small pieces
1 onion – cut to chunks
½ tsp each – red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
2 marble sized tamarind pieces

Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 tsp of oil and
½ tsp each – chopped garlic, curry leaves, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds

Take toor dal in a pressure cooker. Wash and drain. To this washed dal, add one and half cups of water. Also the brinjal, onion, red chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind. Mix with a spoon. Cover and pressure-cook to two or three whistles until the dal is cooked to fall-apart stage.

Once all the valve pressure is released, remove the lid. Add salt. With a wood masher or whisk, mash the dal to smooth consistency. Have a taste and adjust the salt level to your liking.

Now in a saucepan, heat oil to do the popu or tadka. Add and toast the popu ingredients in the order mentioned above starting with chopped garlic and the final item would be toasting the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the mashed dal to this popu. Mix and cover with a lid.

To serve, add a small cup of cooked rice to a plate. To it, add a tablespoon of ghee and a big ladle full of dal. Combine them all thoroughly. Shape the mixture into round balls using your hand. Place the rounds on a plate and enjoy. A side dish of curry/ papad/pickle will enhance the experience very much. Finish off the meal with a glass of buttermilk or yogurt and some fruit for dessert.

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Kitchen Notes:
From Telugu to English, Mudda = Round shape
Prepare this dal only with white fleshed, firm brinjals. Black seeded ones are not suitable and the dal will taste bitter.
We usually add red chilli powder to brinjal dal. Not that good with green chillies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Toor Dal,Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday March 7, 2007 at 6:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

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28 comments for Dazzling Dals ~ Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu) »

  1. Hi Indira, I’m so happy you posted this, step-by-step instructions for making mudda 🙂 Of all the dishes that you have blogged, this is the one I have most dearly wished to make, and now I shall. Thank you!

    Comment by Linda — March 7, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

  2. Believe it or not, I posted this recipe for you Linda. I read your comment on tindora dal. It makes me very happy to hear that you are going to try amma muddas. You are a sweet, sweet person!

    Comment by Indira — March 7, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  3. aahaa…noru ooruthindi photo chooshtunte. Vanakaya tho pappu eppudu try cheyaledu nenu, will try it out soon.

    Comment by Priya — March 7, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

  4. Hi Indira, As if you don’t hear this enough, great recipes ,and great site.

    I’ve been lurking on your site for a while, never commented though. I just realized today that you are from Seattle and you live downtown! I live in Belltown. For all we know, I might have ran into you sometime in Pike Place Market. 🙂

    Comment by Sig — March 7, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

  5. Bonjour,
    ça me fait tout bizarre d’ecrire de l’île de la Réunion en français,because je ne sais pas ecrire en anglais et encore moins parler.
    Mais bon…c’est peut etre le contraire, là ou vous êtes a l’autre bout du monde.
    j’essaye de me debrouiller pour traduire, j’en prends pleins les yeux avec toutes ces photos qui me font saliver…humm
    et c’est a regret que j’abandonne le site a chaque fois tellement je m’y plais!

    En tout cas, longue vie à votre site
    (ps:mon souhait le plus cher serait que le le site soit traduit en français)

    Comment by Gene — March 8, 2007 @ 6:20 am

  6. Hi Indira,
    I am a regular follower of ur blog. Infact most of my weekly dishes are based on your website. However, one thing has always confused me – appropriate usage of wok, kadai, steel copper bottom pan, and skillet. I have a carbon steel wok, which is very thin. I end up using more oil but still it burns food and keeps wobbling when I turn the food. So I stopped using that. Then I started using a nonstick kadai for everything. However I do not want to use nonstick. So now I purchase a 12inch skillet from lodge. Can u pls suggest approprate utensils for gravy based sabjis, parupusalis, basic vegetable making, potato roast etc. I somehow feel using the right cookware is a job half done. Looking forward for your expert advice …..

    Comment by Anusha — March 8, 2007 @ 6:55 am

  7. Now I know Indira, I always used to wonder why you make those rounds when you feature a Dal recipe.
    The balls look really pretty and I liked that name “amma mudda” thats how our Mas used to feed us right

    Comment by sandeepa — March 8, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  8. Indira
    Glad to know that you guys are doing good now.
    Vankaya pappu muddalu look great! I am going to take one off of your plate 🙂

    Comment by Arjuna — March 8, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  9. dear indira, here’s a request. i understand that the rice you regularly use is sona masoori. the one time i cooked it, i got the proportion of water all wrong.

    i normally use rose matta anad basmati. i would love to make these muddas the authentic way – with sona masoori.

    could you please post a recipe of plain rice the way you prepare it with the proportions of water, etc.?



    Comment by bee — March 8, 2007 @ 8:23 am

  10. These are little balls of wholesome goodness…My little Siddharth would love this..I can just imagine his little chubby fingers holding and eating it! I am going to try this tonight…thanks, Indira…and I will send you the cabbage-vadi recipe soon-the next time I call my MIL in India.

    Comment by Trupti — March 8, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  11. Amma Mudha reminds me of Nila choru ( Food eaten under the moon )
    We will take all the food to the terrace and amma will make mix sambar/rasam or curry and serve big big rounds. With the moon shining , cool breeze from the adjacent coconut trees and amma and appa besides was truly heavenly.

    We would eat so much so fast. Amma would pop a couple of balls herself only when we are full !! Thanks for the post – brought back nice memories !!

    Comment by Revathi — March 8, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  12. Never tried making dal with brinjal. Will definitely try it next time. I’m used to thicker dals that my mom makes, but my husband who’s from Hyderabad likes dal on the watery side. Now a days to satisfy both of our dal consistency liking I started making them in the middle, not too runny-not too thick.
    Your pics are tempting and delicious.

    Comment by Pavani — March 8, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  13. never heard of brinjal dal!!looking tasty!!muddalu noru vooristunnayi!!really have to try!

    Comment by swapna — March 8, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  14. Oohh… Indira.. This recipe reminds me of my mom and India.. really nostalgic.. being a working mom, she would always whip up brinjal dal ( her idea of easy food) though she would dump any veggies she would think suitable.. and we would almost cry to eat it.. today , I really miss it.. a memorable dish!

    Comment by Deepika — March 8, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  15. Chaala ruchiga untundi, Priya. Tappakunda chesi chudandi. Papads leda vadiyalu, konchum neyyi vesukunte ruchiga untundi.

    Hi Sig: Thanks and it’s great to hear from a fellow Seattle food blogger.
    Love your blog and all the restuarant reviews.

    Bonjour Gene,
    J’ai traduit votre commentaire à l’aide du bouton de langue de Google car je ne peux pas comprendre le français. J’avais l’habitude également le service de traduction chez Google pour écrire ce commentaire en français. Me pardonner pour toutes les erreurs.
    Beaucoup de mercis de vos mots aimables et heureux de savoir que vous aimez les recettes ont comporté ici chez Mahanandi. Svp me faire savoir si vous essayez n’importe quelles recettes. J’attends avec intérêt votre entrée.
    Merci !

    Hi Anusha, I agree with your observation that using right cookware is job half done. I will definitely make a post about the utensils I use to prepare different types of curries etc, in a few days. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Sandeepa: I love these amma muddas!

    Hi Arjuna: It’s great to see your comment. How are you?
    They are all yours. Please enjoy. 🙂

    Hi Bee, Usually I do not respond to recipe requests. Because I cook and blog depending on my mood and the ingredients that I have that day.
    I will make an exception and definitely post the recipe. But only if you promise, that you would make the recipe within a week of my posting. And write about your experience in your blog. Deal?:)

    To this day, my fondest memory of my mother is her feeding these delicious rice, dal and ghee muddas to us children when we were little. Please do try them at your home, Trupti. I think your adorable darlings like them.
    I look forward to receiving the wadi recipe. Thanks.

    Revathi: Glad to know a fellow fan of amma mudda.

    Hi Pavani: Vijay also likes the dal little bit on the watery side. I prepare this type of tight dal when I am not feeling well for myself. It’s a treat mainly for me.:)

    Give it a try, Swapna.

    Hi Deepika: Believe me, I know all about it.:) My mother also makes dal with all kinds of vegetables. Ghee saved us growing up.:)

    Comment by Indira — March 8, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  16. oh, yeah. i’ll definitely post it when i make it. you don’t have to post the recipe, indira. just tell me how much water you use for 1 cup of rice, whether you cook it in the cooker or on the stovetop, and for how long.

    Indira replies:
    3 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, Bee. I usually use a Hawkins pressure cooker to cook the rice and I cook it on stove-top. 3 cups usually make the rice little bit on soft, mushy side and we prefer Sona Masuri like that.
    Hope this helps.

    Comment by bee — March 8, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  17. no wonder. i tried using only 2 cups of water. thanks, indira.

    Comment by bee — March 8, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  18. Great recipe and the muddas look delicious. Want to pop one in my mouth now.

    Comment by Deepz — March 9, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  19. hi Indira !

    Congratulations for the best food blog award !!
    well deserved.Just started blogging since last few days….hope to see many more gud posts from you

    Comment by Rahin — March 9, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  20. […] Months passed. I learned alot. Eventually I found and learned (thanks to patient instruction from Indira, see comment section here to read them) to fry the sago papads. Eventually I came across that green mango in brine, the closest thing to an Indian green mango I’d seen. And then, last Wednesday, I sat down to peruse the blogs. Lo and behold, dear Indira had posted step-by-step instructions for making mudda! Back from the recesses the memory came marching. I was so excited! It took nearly a year, but armed now with my green mango, my papads, the proper dal recipe and instructions, I finally got to have my mudda, and eat it too […]

    Pingback by Good Things Come To Those Who Wait ~ Indira’s Amma Mudda « Out Of The Garden — March 11, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

  21. i’m looking forward to trying some things from this blog as my husband is south indian and i’m sure he would like it!

    is there a way to prepare the first step w/o use of a pressure cooker? (i don’t have a pressure cooker).


    Comment by endymion411 — March 12, 2007 @ 6:19 am

  22. I have a question about the length of time you cook under pressure. I don’t understand “two whistles”. The pressure cooker that I have (typical for the USA) has a pressure regulator *weight* which sits on the valve. When the pressure is up to 15 pounds per square inch, the weight on the top starts rattling. I then start the timer and reduce the fire to a level that just barely keeps the rattle going.

    If you could explain the “two whistle” system, that would be very helpful.

    Comment by Elsi — March 14, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  23. Hi Indira, U have a great passion for cooking & photography,I guess… I love the pics tht u post…:)

    For this dhal recipe, what are the veggies that can be used?… My husb HATES brinjal… so, it would be very helpful if u can let me know what other veggies can be used for this dhal prep…

    Comment by Dev — March 16, 2007 @ 1:30 am

  24. Indira,

    Small correction, your title for the photo reads Muddus instead of Muddas. I was not sure if it was intentional but thought I will drop a note and let you know.

    I am a great fan of your recipes and I am a south indian. I visit quite often but tried very few and they all came out very good. Thank You.

    Comment by Raji — March 18, 2007 @ 4:41 am

  25. Hi Indira,
    Tried your Vankaya pappu came out really well.
    Ma vadina chesaru when I was Studying Inter naku chala nachindi, after reading your post reminded of her and I made yours, it tasted just the way she made it. Meeru vantalu baga chestaru and the way you write it so simple and pleasure to read. Thanks and keep up.

    Comment by Rajani — April 16, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  26. have never heard of vankaya pappu. sounds interesting though
    As you said Mudda is not round shape means morsel in english.

    Comment by Anu — August 10, 2007 @ 3:21 am

  27. Hi,
    Came to ur site through google search of brinjal dal.
    U mentioned white skin brinjals.
    It means those green color brinjals and not the blue or black ones
    U have asked to add 1/2 cup toor dal.
    can u pls tell me the right measurement.
    which cup should it be?
    In all recipes shown,cups are used.
    I’d like to know which cup to use. Can u pls help me with this.

    Hello Bhargavi,
    Green or purple, small ones are good for this dal. Please use only tender fleshed ones with no seeds. Mature brinjal with many well developed seeds doesn’t taste good in dal.
    For cups – I use American cooking measurements. You can find about about cups, teaspoons and tablespoons – here.
    How they look – here.
    Hope that helps.

    Comment by Bhargavi Venkatesh — April 8, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  28. Lets take the 1 table spoon picure how much will it make 1 cup or 1 tsp
    pls tell me as it will help me understand all recipes

    Comment by Bhargavi Venkatesh — May 7, 2008 @ 3:11 am

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