… Lentils, Kerala-style
May 13, 2008 is LiveSTRONG Day. It is the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s (LAF) grassroots advocacy initiative to unify people affected by cancer and to raise awareness about cancer survivorship issues across the country.
Barbara of Winos and Foodies writes:
I no longer think of my life as AF (After Cancer). I’ve stopped pining for my BC (Before Cancer) life. My life is now just my life. I make the most of every day.
Each year she organises the TASTE OF YELLOW event, inviting yellow culinary creations to commemorate the effort to defeat cancer.
This time, the idea for our entry came from our Australian friend VegeYum‘s travel diary from her recent visit to south India.
She gave us a glimpse of sadhyas (traditional vegetarian feasts on banana leaves) in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. One particular sadhya in the beach town of Kovalam featured Rose matta rice, parippu (lentils) drizzled with golden ghee (clarified butter) and a host of other goodies. Pic HERE.
She said: “The dal that you see over the rice was my most favourite.”
Lentils = Dal in north Indian languages, and parippu/pappu in south India. It’s soul food to an Indian and usually features in every meal, with either rice or flatbreads.
Our Taste of Yellow is a simple lentil dish from Bee’s home state of Kerala on India’s southernmost tip. (A GLIMPSE OF KERALA)
Plain lentils or parippu – one of those staples on the menu – is often (but not always) made with mung/moong dal (split, husked mung beans).
In Malayalam, the language of Kerala,
Naadan = from the native land
Parippu = lentils
Parippu can be as basic or complex as you want it to be, and can be prepared with a variety of lentils – toor, moong, masoor, chana, urad, split, whole …
You can go the whole nine yards with coconut, garlic, shallots, curry leaves with a mustard tempering. Toor dal may be substituted for mung. A drizzle of coconut oil on the top gives a new flavour dimension. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to cook parippu. It all depends on personal preference.
In our home, we prefer the most basic parippu with the purest lentil flavour – with nothing but salt, a pinch of turmeric, and a dollop of ghee (clarified butter). We also like it with some texture.
For naadan parippu, we like to toast the the lentils. It brings out the nutty flavour and keeps them from disintegrating to a mush.
Sometimes, we add some coconut, garlic and cumin – just enough to provide background notes without overpowering the creamy lentil flavour. With lentils, we believe, less is more.
NAADAN PARIPPU (Lentils, Kerala-Style)
1 cup mung dal
until golden, not brown. Spreading them on a plate and microwaving them (check at 40 seconds) works too.
Add a finely blended paste of
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (fresh or dry)
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
with 2 tbsps water
2 cups of water
a pinch of turmeric and
Cook until done on low heat. The grains of dal should be soft, but separate. We use a pressure cooker (2 whistles).
2 tsps of ghee.
Mix in and serve with Rose matta rice – the parboiled red rice from Kerala – and a thoran. (A thoran is a dry dish flavoured with coconut and red chillies). Don’t forget the pappadam and hot pickles.
Naadan Parippu with Rose matta rice and green beans thoran
Naadan Parippu is our entry for the Taste of Yellow event to commemmorate LiveSTRONG Day at Winos and Foodies.