This fragrant and elegant dish really needs no elaborate introduction and I think your eager taste buds will agree. To me, this is pure comfort food, especially when served as part of a fancy spread. These stimulating and succulent lentil dumplings smothered in a sweet and spicy tamarind gravy as the centerpiece of a special Indian-themed vegetarian menu are a perfect choice, but honestly I could eat these for breakfast, lunch AND dinner, just as is.
For my special Indian dinner, I served this dish with spicy green beans, Indian Mulligatawny soup, saffron rice and, for dessert, well, obviously not a traditional end to an Indian meal, but my blueberry goat cheese pie which seemed just right all the same. If you have the time, consider serving stacks of steaming hot savory Indian flatbreads with the meal too.
I've adapted this recipe somewhat from Raghavan Iyer who has for the past few years greatly influenced my approach to Indian cooking. I am a proud owner of three of his informative books. 660 Curries continues to occupy a special place on my shelf and snuggled up next to it is Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking, from which this recipe has been slightly adapted, and a lovely copy of The Turmeric Trail. Mr. Iyer's recipes are based on traditional Indian creations from all over the continent. Combined with helpful and detailed information about pantry basics, culinary traditions and easy to follow instructions, it is always a pleasure to cook from his books; of course, once the dishes you are making are complete, an absolutely exquisite meal awaits. Regrettably, I am not able to pull up a chair at Mr. Iyer's table, but the next best thing is to have a treasure trove of tried and tested recipes at my fingertips to inspire my own culinary efforts.
Included in this dish is sambar powder and I always have some on hand because this fragrant spice mixture especially popular in South India is a great addition to not only sambars, but rasams and any other curry dish that you want to spice up with a special touch. It's easy to find in any Indian grocer, but the homemade recipe which I have included below keeps well for months in a sealed jar stored in a cool, dry place. If you don't have sambar powder on hand, you could use curry powder instead or a combination of your favorite spices for the sauce.
|Lentil Dumplings Simmered in a Sweet Tamarind Sauce|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking
Published on October 23, 2012
Soft, creamy and spicy lentil dumplings simmered in a fragrant tamarind and spice sauce
More recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen featuring dumplings:
Chickpea Flour Dumplings in a Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Ricotta Dumplings Smothered in Mushroom Sauce
Split Pea Cilantro Dumplings in a Coconut Curry
On the top of the reading stack: South Indian cookbooks
Audio accompaniment: Carbon Based Lifeforms - World of Sleepers