Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu/Bengal Gram Gravy

Gravy is known as kuzhambu in Tamilnadu. Rice being prominent in southern parts of India, gravy is equally important for the people in those regions. Tamarind plays a vital role in most of these gravy.
These kinds of gravies can stay fresh for about a month, if refrigerated. Parupu means dhal (for instance bengal gram). Here we are going to see parupu urundai gravy made out of steamed Bengal gram fritters.


100 gms bengal gram
2 cups tamarind extract, preferably thick
2 small onion, finely chopped
5 garlic pods
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split urad dhal/black gram
3 tbsp gingelly/any other oil for tempering
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt to taste


1. Wash and soak bengal gram in enough cold water for 2 hours.

2. Heat a pan or kadai, add a tbsp of gingelly oil. Take a bowl and add the tamarind extract. To this add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix it once. Add the mixture to the heated oil pan. Let it boil on high for 20-25 minutes.

Tip: Using gingelly oil, gives good taste and texture to the kuzhambu/gravy.

3. Once the bengal gram is soaked well, drain the water completely. Add it to a blender along with a half tsp salt and a tsp of fennel seeds.

4. Blend it to a coarse paste.

5. Transfer the coarse bengal gram to a bowl. Add one chopped onion and mix well.

6. Make medium sized balls out of the ground paste and place it in a steamer. The process is similar to making masala vada except that the parappu urundais (bengal dhal rounds) are shaped in rounds and steamed.

Tip: You can also fry them in oil or bake in oven till they get cooked. Steaming is healthy and easy way to get the fritters cooked.

7. Steam the fritters for about 15-20 minutes. If the fritter size is big, it might take 20 minutes to get cooked. You can check with a fork or toothpick if it's cooked.

8. By now, the tamarind extract and the chilli powder would have thickened a little bit and be boiling. Reduce the flame to medium. Add a tsp of salt.

9. Add the steamed bengal gram fritters(paruppu urundai) to the boiling pan/kadai. Optionally you can close it with a lid. Let it boil for another 10 minutes on medium flame.

10. In another pan, add 2 tbsp gingelly oil. Once it gets warm, add mustard seeds and urad dhal.

11. Add fenugreek seeds when the mustard seeds start to sputter.

12. Then add chopped onions and garlic pods. Saute till the onions become translucent.

Tip: You can also use shallots instead of regular onions.

13. Add the tempered onions to the boiling pan.

14. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

15. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame.

16. Serve hot with white rice or roti.


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