Green Gram Curry

Being a Tamilian from a family of farmers, Pongal has always been a greater source of joy and festivity than any other festival. My childhood days were mostly spent looking forward to the month of January, as it meant leaving behind the worries of school, and enthusiastically starting off the journey towards our village in the Thiruvanamalai district of TamilNadu, where the entire family would gather.

There would be an endless supply of the best regional food, sugarcane to eat lots of people to play with, relatives to visit, and errands to run.

On the day of pongal, an array of dishes would be cooked, and the one we all loved was this green gram dal, especially my grandpa. It’s a very simple, versatile dish with just a tad of technique. It tastes amazing with the pongal rice, idlies and chapathis as well!

While making this dish for pongal this year, me and my mom reminisced over the numerous incidents she has cooked it before, and how much we all miss those days when there would be people flocking all over the house.

This traditional recipe was passed over to my mom from our ancestors, and the beautiful blend of the various types of dal used, never fails to surprise us to this day!

Hope you all enjoy this dish as much as me and my family do! 🙂



  1. Whole green gram – 200 gm
  2. Toor dal – 100 gm
  3. Shallots (Small onions) – 100gm
  4. Tomatoes – 3 (medium sized)
  5. Sambar powder – 4 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Tamarind – lemon sized ball (soaked in water)
  8. Salt – to taste

For the seasoning:

  1. Mustard – 1/2 tsp
  2. Red chilies –  3
  3. Asafoetida – a pinch
  4. Broken urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  5. Oil – 1 tbsp



  1. Dry roast the green gram dal until the color turns to a very light brown color
  2. Heat water in a pressure pan, and when it boils, add the roasted green gram dal, and simmer once the water starts boiling again
  3. Add turmeric, asafoetida, and close the lid and let it cook on a low flame
  4. After 15 minutes, add the toor dal, stir and let it cook for another 15 minutes
  5. Once cooked, add sambar powder, stir it in and simmer. Meanwhile, add half the oil in a wok, and after it gets heated, add onions, saute and once it turns translucent , add the chopped tomatoes, and when it softens, add this to the dal mixture
  6. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, stir in between and turn it off
  7. Add about 1 tsp of salt, and mash it with a masher till the ingredients blend together. This should take about 5 minutes.
  8. Make a pulp out of the soaked tamarind, add it to the dal and bring to a boil
  9. Add the rest of the oil in a wok, and on heating, add the rest of the ingredients for the seasoning. Turn off after the urad dal turns golden brown
  10. Add it to the dal, stir in and turn off. Garnish with coriander leaves


Serve with rice, idlies or chapathis.


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