Every region in India has recipes which are traditional and handed down over generations. These recipes are generally basic, nutritious and light on the stomach. They use a good mix of spices which not only improve appetite but also help in improving digestion. One such recipe handed down to me from my family is the Andhra style Pappu Charu. Pappu simply means dal and charu means rasam. It is somewhere between a regular rasam/charu and sambar. It contains basic ingredients like dal, tomaotes, tamarind, some every day spices. The important ingredient here is the garlic gloves which render most of the flavour to the dish. If you don’t favour garlic, you can go ahead and skip it. But the flavour does get affected.
Here are the ingredients you would require to make this dal and rasam medley:
Tuar dal/kandi pappu – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups.
Tamarind- a small lemon sized ball
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized
Turmeric – 1/4 spoon
Hing: one pinch
Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)
Salt – 1 tsp (optional)
Rasam powder/Charu podi – 2 to 3 spoon tsp
Ghee – 2 to 3 tbsp
For the seasoning:
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal : 1 tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu :1 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/methi : 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies : 2 to 3 broken.
Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
Garlic pods : 5 to 6
Curry leaves : a few
Coriander leaves: a few sprigs
Cook the dal with water in a pressure cooker till the dal turns soft.
Once the dal comes back to room temperature, mash the dal with the back of a round spoon or an egg beater to a soft consistency as shown in the pic and keep aside.
Place the tamarind in a little water and boil for a couple of minutes. Once this is cooled, extract the tamarind juice by mashing the pulp together with water. Save the tamarind water and discard the pulp. The tamarind water would be a little thick in consistency. Keep this tamarind jiuce aside.
(If you are pressed for time, you can drop the tamarind directly into the water instead of the juice.)
You can use a steel vessel that you normally use for boiling milk or water to prepare this dish or any copper bottomed vessel.
Pour 3 cups of water in the vessel and turn on the stove. To this water add a pinch of hing, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt, some turmeric and chopped tomatoes and allow to bring to boil.
Once the water starts boiling and you feel that the tomatoes are cooked a little, add the tamarind juice that we just extracted to the vessel.
Allow to boil for 3 to 4 minutes.
Now add the mashed dal and mix well till all the contents mix with each other and get to an even consistency.
Allow to boil for another 5 to 7 minutes.
Add a couple of teaspoons of salt at this stage and mix well. Check seasoning and add more if required.
Now add the rasam powder and mix well. Check for the taste and add more rasam powder if you feel that the taste is a little bland.
At any stage if you feel that the taste is too strong or the consistency is too thick, add some water till you get the required consistency and taste.
Now turn off the stove.
Prepare the seasoning.
For this heat ghee in a small kadhai. Fry the chana dal. When it slightly changes colour add the udad dal. Let it fry for half a minute. Now add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the jeera and allow to fry. Add the broken red chillies and fry. Add a couple of pinches of hing and stir well. Add the curry leaves.
Add the garlic pods and keep stirring. You will see that the garlic starts changing colour. Now add the curry leaves. Turn off the stove. Add a little turmeric and mix the whole seasoning well.