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Plain Dal - Simple Kongu Dish

Verum paruppu or plain dhal is a very common and simple dish that almost every kitchen prepares regularly.
Personally, I feel that I have eaten the tastiest plain dhal in the world, during my childhood days.
When we visit my dad's mom during holidays she makes very simple dishes like tomato curry, plain dhal, avaraikkai poriyal probably because that is what she would have had in her house or garden. She would not have enough plates in her home for all 4 of us to eat at the same time, but she served the most simple and authentic food I have ever eaten.

In 2 more days we are starting our vacation and hence didn't stock much veggies. Hence I made dhal and finally when I finished the dish and tasted for salt, I felt like I had time traveled to my childhood to taste my grandmother's food. I didn't know that I could even prepare it.
I immediately knew that I would be posting this recipe before tonight. This is a tribute to that old lady, to the life she has lived, to the struggles she has faced, to the character she has passed down to me...  


Split moong dal 1 cup
Cumin seeds 1 tblsp
Peppercorns 1 tsp broken into 2 or 3 pieces
Garlic pods 7-8
Turmeric powder

To temper:
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Pearl onions 8-10, chopped
Red chillies 6-9, split to tiny bits
Curry leaves


  1. Boil water in a vessel and add cumin seeds, peppercorns, garlic pods and turmeric powder.
  2. Dry roast the dhal in medium flame for almost 5 minutes. Once it starts to brown add it to the boiling water.
  3. Let the dhal boil for 15 -20 minutes. Do not add salt now.
  4. You can check for water in between.
  5. If using pressure cooker, cook for 4 - 5 whistles without adding salt.
  6. Now add salt and let it boil for 5 more minutes or until the dhal is cooked.
  7. The dhal might not look mushy, but it could be well cooked by now.
  8. Add oil in a separate pan and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add the other items to temper and add it to the mix.
  9. You can use a mathu or run an electric whisk for 2 -3 minutes to mash the dhal. Authentic tasting dhal is ready.

This is the authentic kongu style dish. The taste of cooked dhal and burnt red chillies is just awesome.  Adding sambhar powder, tamarind juice, asofoetida, tomatoes are all different variations, but do not give the authentic taste. I do not have the recipes for them. If any of you know, do let me know. Thank you.

This is my first recipe for the event in Easy Indian Recipes blog for "Cooking with Green".