The art of classic cooking

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Aachi style Paruppu Kulambu!

The Best native style comfy food in our home - Parupu Kulambu!

Paruppu Kulambu

My father, father-in-law, hubby all of them are a BIG fan of this kulambu. My hubby will be very happy to eat this everyday!
This kulambu has no fancy vegetables or any fancy cooking method or even cream to make it rich. Well, you can ask me, then what is so special about this kulambu, that makes it irresistible?? The simplicity and the extremely light feeling that you get even after third helpings is what makes it soooo special. Its simple and elegant taste makes you want more always....

This is also one of the easiest kulambu to make. You just dump everything in one pot, strain, mash and finally you temper it. That's all. The main things that you need to balance here are the salt, sour and the hot. And finally the texture is very important for this kulambu, it shouldn't be thick as a sambar neither should it be too watery as a rasam.

Paruppu Kulambu ( Dal Gravy )

Before going to the recipe I would like to share a very little background story that my father used to say -  During my father's childhood days, scarcity of food was so common so they keep dal for rice very rarely only. There won't be enough dal to make a thick sambar for everyone, so my grandma will take very little dal and add the veggies that she can get easily and dilute it with plenty of water so that there is enough for everyone and that's how this kulambu came into being.
My dad still used to say that the kulambu that my grandma used to make in the village used to be more awesome! ( urula aachi vaikira kolumbu avolo manama irukum! )


Parupu Kulambu

 Lite and comforting native style Parupu Kulambu!
 Prep time:  Cook time: 
 Total time: Yield: serves 4 or 5 people

Toor Dal: 100g 
Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp 
Hing: 1/4 tsp 
Shallots: 1/2 cup 
Garlic: 6 or 7 cloves 
Brinjal: 2
Green Chilli: 4
Tomato: 2
Tamarind: 3"piece
Water: 4 cups + 1 and 1/4 cup ( or as required )
Salt: to taste
To Grind:
Coconut: 1/2 tsp (chopped)
Cumin seeds / Jeera: 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves: a sprig

To Temper:
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal: 1/2 tsp
Dry Chilli: 2
Curry Leaves: a spring
Shallots: 3 ( finely chopped )

1) Wash and drain the toor dal twice to remove any impurities. Add 4 cups of water, turmeric powder and hing bring it to a boil.
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2) In the meantime, soak tamarind in 3 tbsp water. Grind coconut, jeera and curry leaves in a mixer ( no need to make a fine paste )
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3) When the Dal comes to a boil, add the shallots, garlic, brinjal ( cubed ) and green chilli. Close and let the dal cook.
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4) When the dal is cooked but still is firm, add the tomatoes. Here I have used the native variety tomatoes ( see picture below ) as they are more sour compared to the other variety which is what makes this kulambu tastes like olden days ( refer notes for substitution )
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5) After adding the tomatoes, let the dal continue to cook. When the tomatoes too are tender like the picture below, turn off the stove. Now close the dal pot with a lid. With the help of a cloth lift it with your 2 hands holding its rim. Now gently tilt the pot and drain the dal water in a separate bowl ( alternatively, you can also use a laddle to separate the dal water )
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6) Add sea salt to the drained dal and with the help of mathu or a potato masher, mash the dal.
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7) Now add the dal water, tamarind water and the coconut mixture prepared in step 2. 
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8) Give everything a good mix.
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9) Add 1 and 1/4 cup water and check the consistency. It should be thinner than a sambar but thicker than a rasam. Keep it back on stove until it just comes to a boil.
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10) For tempering - Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the urad dal. When it starts to turn golden, add the dry chilli ( broken into 2 ), shallots and curry leaves. Fry in a low flame until the shallots are caramelized and golden in colour. This step is crucial in all tempering as it uplifts the flavour and also you can see the tempering floating beautifully on the surface of the kulambu because of this ( but please don't burn the shallots as it will yield a bitter taste )

 Add the tempered mix to the parupu kolumbu
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There you have it, the most comforting and tasty dal that pairs extraordinarily with rice and dosa!!!

Paruppu Kulambu

1) Don't mash the dal to a fine paste as it will affect the texture of the kulambu.
2) If you can't find nattu thakali (native tomato), you can use the regular tomato, but just make sure to add 3 of them to balance the sourness for the kulambu.

Happy Cooking,


  1. very unique style love to try it as it has dal and coconut jeera is there.

  2. Wow, what flavor this must have! So many good ingredients. And pretty easy to make, too -- my favorite kind of dish. ;-) Thanks so much.

  3. Delicious kulambu............i think it taste like sambhar. Interesting recipe.try soon.

  4. Kulambu looks very tasty. Will try some times. Thanks for visit my blog. Am following u. Glad if u will follow me back.

  5. delicious kulambu!! love the flavours!!