Paruppu urundai (lentil balls) rasam

Another gem from my mother in law’s arsenal of recipes. She would make the urundais (lentil balls) and cook them directly in the rasam. The rasam would be spicy and tangy much like the jeera milagu rasam (cumin pepper rasam). The combination of the tangy and spicy rasam with the paruppu urundais is unbelievable!

Paruppu urundais are not as difficult as they are made out to be. A few precautions if taken will ensure perfect urundais. 

Tuvar dal – 1/2 cup (soak in water for 2 hours)
Tamarind – size of a small lemon
Dried red chillies – 2
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 6-8


For rasam powder 
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Whole black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Tuvar dal – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2


For tempering
Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Curry leaves – 6-8

Salt to taste


After tuvar dal has soaked for 2 hours drain the water and grind along with some curry leaves, salt and 2 red chillies. Use very little water for grinding. It should be a coarse grind and you should be able to make small balls out of it. If not, add a teaspoon of rice flour to make it easier to work with. Take care not to add too much rice flour as it will affect the taste and texture of the urundais.

Dry roast the 2 spoons of tuvar dal, pepper, cumin seeds and red chillies and grind it into a somewhat coarse powder. This is the rasam powder. Make 3 cups of tamarind water with the tamarind. Put this in a kadai along with the turmeric powder, rasam powder and salt. When this comes to a boil make small balls (size of small lemon) with the paruppu mixture and drop it gently in the boiling rasam. It is easy to make the balls by pinching a small portion of the lentil mix and rolling in the palm of your hand like rolling dice. These lentils balls have to cook in the rasam so it soaks up the flavour of the rasam too. Keep the rasam on low flame. When the urundais are cooked they will float to the top. Remove them gently and transfer to another pot. In this manner cook all the urundais. The remaining rasam may be quite strong due to evaporation so adjust the water, salt etc accordingly and transfer to the other pot with urundais.

Heat up the ghee and temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida. You can make about 18 medium sized urundais with this quantity. Serves 4.

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