Friday, March 4, 2011

Split Pigeon Pea Gravy {Tuvar Dal}

Last week there was a documentary on CNN – “Locked and forgotten” about the mentally challenged in Kenya and how they are treated and handled by the society and government.  Specially touching was this story of a mother who has a 14 year old boy with cerebral palsy who was in so much pain and discomfort because of his condition.  She was advised to go for a test which would cost her $12 and based on the tests appropriate medicines would be prescribed to reduce the discomfort of that poor child.  My son wanted a cap yesterday and it cost €22.  We go out and have dinners and spend on clothes on shoes on trivial things that we do not really need.  And this poor helpless mother could not afford $12 for a check up for that disabled child of hers.  I know she is not the only one suffering and there are hundreds and thousands of such people who are in so desperate need of help – help that so many of us could give – but we choose to ignore.  But I did not cry when I saw this documentary – I actually cried when I switched channels and went to the E! Channel and watched celebrities spend thousands of dollars on their dogs – that is when I cried. 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4


1 cup split pigeon pea (tuvar dal)
1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, slit
4 cups water
4 sprig curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups water


  1. Wash and soak the split pigeon pea in water for about an hour. 
  2. Now put this in a thick bottomed vessel or pressure cooker along with 2 cups water and add the turmeric and salt and a drop of oil to the gram.  
  3. Cook on medium flame and bring to a boil.  Then heat on low flame till the gram is fully cooked.  Keep aside.   
  4. In another vessel heat oil and drop the mustard seeds when hot.  
  5. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida.  
  6. Fry on medium flame for about 2 minutes till the seeds splutter.  
  7. Add the curry leaves, ginger, chillies and tomatoes and fry for a further minute.  
  8. Add the cooked pigeon peas to this and let it simmer on low flame for about 10 minutes.  Serve hot with steamed rice.

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