Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lentil powder (paruppu podi)

Recently, I made a very simple version of a traditional south Indian dish: paruppu podi, which translates as lentil powder.

Lentils, or dal, if you don't know, are packed sources of protein for people who don't otherwise get it from animal sources. Along with rice, most of them provide nourishment and all the amino acids you require. They taste great, too!

This simple powder can be mixed with rice with a drizzling of a seed oil like sesame or flax (or ghee), or on its own with a dash of those oils and used as a dipping sauce for dosas, idlis, or crudites (Little One loves it with slices of raw bell pepper).

The version below is the kids' version - nearly no spiciness other than the black pepper. For a more adult recipe, add red chilies to your toasting. I've also omitted chana dal (chickpea lentils) because Little One is allergic, but you can use any combination of various lentils you like. Here is the traditional recipe.

Lentil Powder

3/4 cup lentils, any combination (eg urad, toor, moong, masoor, chana, dried split peas, etc)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste
(dried red chillies or chili flakes, optional)

In a wok or pan, toast lentils without oil until fragrant. Toast each type of lentil separately and set aside. Toast black pepper. Toast chilies if using. Blend together lentils, black pepper, chilies (if using), and salt in a grinder or blender (make sure blender is completely dry) until it forms a fine powder. Taste for salt, and add more as needed, blending again to mix. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature. A few grains of rice at the bottom of the jar will keep it from clumping.

This powder will keep for months at least, but at our house, we've never had to!

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