Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is a South Indian delicacy where lentil balls are cooked in a tangy gravy. This is a no onion no garlic gravy that is also vegan and gluten-free.
A typical Tamil-style meal always features a Kuzhambu/ Sambar, Rasam, a poriyal, and some yogurt. All of this is served with hot rice or cooked millet. Kuzhambu is something similar to a stew. We use either one vegetable or a combination of veggies and this is normally cooked in a tamarind base or yogurt base.
This Urundai Kuzhambu is different in that sense. It uses no veggies and relies on lentils to make up for the lack of veggies.
Why we love this Kuzhambu-
- It calls for no veggies! So this is just ideal when the fridge is empty.
- This Urundai Kuzhambu is a perfect high protein recipe that is also Sattvic.
- You can use the same lentil balls to make Rasam or Mor Kuzhambu too.
This classic Tamil-style kuzhambu is made in different ways across Tamil Nadu. There is the Chettinad Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu, in which they add a tsp of fennel seeds. And then there is Paruppu Urundai Mor kuzhambu. They add these lentil balls to Mor kuzhambu and cook it on low flame for just 5 mins. In many households, they also make lentil balls with channa dal and coconut. But, in this post, I will be sharing a very simple, fuss-free yet delicious recipe for this Kuzhambu.
Urundai Kuzhambu without coconut
In many families, they tend to add grated coconut either to the gravy or to the lentil balls for this Kuzhambu. But this recipe calls for adding no coconut. Instead of adding grated fresh coconut, we will be adding a rice flour slurry to thicken this kuzhambu.
Why did my Paruppu Urundai break?
Stirring the kuzhambu with a ladle after adding the lentil balls will make them break apart. To prevent this, leave the balls undisturbed once you add them to the simmering tamarind gravy. You will know that they are done cooking when they float to the surface.
Substitutes for Sambar Powder
If you do not have Sambar powder or do not want to add it to this Kuzhambu, you can use 1.5 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp Chili powder in its place.
Urundai Kuzhambu- Method
Making the Paruppu Urundai
Soak the toor dal and drain the water from the toor dal. Add the chilies, hing and salt to the dal and grind to a thick paste adding about 1 tbsp water if required. Divide the ground paste into equal portions and shape them into balls. Steam these Urundai in an idli steamer for about 10 mins. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Making Urundai Kuzhambu
Heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a pan. Add the ingredients for seasoning in the order given in the ingredients for tempering list.. Saute for about a min on moderate heat. Add tamarind extract, jaggery and salt and combine well. Simmer till the raw smell of tamarind goes. Takes about 10 mins. Now, add turmeric powder and sambhar powder. Mix well and let it simmer for 3 to 4 mins.When done, add the Paruppu Urundai to this tamarind mixture and cook closed on a low flame for about 6 to 8 mins.
When the balls have cooked, make a slurry of the rice flour and water. Lower the flame and stir in the slurry into the Kuzhambu and mix well. You will see that the kuzhambu thickens. Switch off the flame. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
The time taken for the balls to be cooked completely is somewhere between 6 to 8 mins. You will know that they are done when they swell up slightly and float to the top. Overcooking the Urundai will make them hard and chewy. So, do not cook them for longer than mentioned here. Also, make sure to use a wide and big pan while making this dish. It is important not to crowd the pan with too many balls.
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Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu
- Saute pan
For the lentil balls:
- ½ c Toor dal
- 2 c Water
- 2 to 3 Dry red chillies
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 2 tsp Sesame oil
For the Kuzhambu
- 3.5 c Tamarind extract made from 12 g Tamarind ( a small lemon sized)
- 1 tsp Sambhar powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Jaggery a small bit
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
For the Tempering:
- 2 tbsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Urad dal
- 1 tsp Channa dal
- ½ tsp Fenugreek
- 1 Dry red chilli
- 1 sprig Curry leaves a sprig
For the rice flour slurry
- 1 tbsp Rice flour
- 3 tbsp Water
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
To make the Paruppu Urundai ( Lentil balls)
- Wash the toor dal well. Combine this with 2 c water and let it soak for 30 mins.
- When soaked, drain the water from the toor dal.
- Add the chilies, hing and salt to the dal and grind to a thick paste adding about 1 tbsp water if required.
- Add finely chopped curry leaves to the ground paste. Mix well.
- Make equal sized small balls out of the mixture and steam in an idli steamer for about 10 mins.
- Remove from heat and keep aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a pan.
- Add the ingredients for seasoning in the order given in the ingredients for tempering list.
- Saute for about a min on moderate heat.
- Add tamarind extract, jaggery and salt and combine well.
- Simmer till the raw smell of tamarind goes. Takes about 5 to 6 mins
- Now, add turmeric powder and sambhar powder.
- Continue to simmer for 3 to 4 mins.
- Now, add the dal balls to this tamarind mixture and cook closed on a low flame for about 6 to 8 mins.
- When the balls float to the top, it shows that they are cooked and ready.
- Combine the rice flour and water to make a slurry.
- Add this to the simmering Kuzhambu and mix well. Do not pause after adding the slurry because the rice flour tends to become lumpy in a trice.
- When the kuzhambu thickens, switch off the flame and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.