Pakoda kurma is a lentil based sauce which is decadently creamy. Small deep fried lentil dumplings cooked in rich coconut milk gravy. This recipe might sound very unfamiliar to many, as its confined only to certain communities in Tamil Nadu. Quite hard to find online, as it sparingly shows up on searches. There are a couple of ways of making it, here’s how we make it in our family. Quite a lengthly process, that’s why I guess they make it only during special occasions.
Back hone Fridays and saturdays are meant to be vegetarian and sometimes we get to spend our weekends at grandma’s… to taste best of best, sometimes unique dishes. Pakoda kurma is one one such dish which is not so popular, a little underrated too,,, Its always either that sambar, rasam, puli kuzhambu which hitch hike the kitchen and today breaking my rules and making this grandma special pakoda kurma!
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Bengal gram (kadhalai paruppu) 1/2 cup
Green chili 2 small
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger 1 inch piece
Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves 6 leaves
Salt 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste)
Oil 2 cups (for deep frying)
Fresh grated coconut 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds 1 teaspoon
Onion (preferably sambar onions) 1 cup (finely chopped)
Tomato 1/2 cup
Green chili 5 (slit open)
Ginger garlic paste 1 teaspoon
Red Chili powder 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon 2 (one inch each)
Fennel seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves 5 leaves
Salt 1 teaspoon (or to taste)
Oil 2 tablespoons
Ghee 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves a few for garnish
To make the Pakodas
- Wash and soak Bengal gram for atleast 2 hours.
- Drain the water completely and grind coarsely with green chilli, ginger, garlic & fennel seeds. Do not add any water while grinding, the dough should be a thick.
- Now add curry leaves and salt to the ground lentil mix and keep it ready.
- Heat oil (table-1) in a kadai, when its hot enough, grab a handful of dough and pinch a little in the hot oil…like small pakodas and deep fry until lightly golden.
- Strain excess oil with a paper towel and keep aside. (The pakodas should not fried crispy… the outer covering should be firm and lightly golden, just enough to get it cooked)
To make the Kurma
- Grind all ingredients from table-2 (grated coconut+cashews+poppy seeds) with 1/4 cup of water to a fine paste and keep aside.
- Heat oil (table-3) and ghee in a pan, season with cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and curry leaves.
- Add in the green chillies, ginger garlic paste and fry for a while, then add the chopped onion and saute till they are golden.
- Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and fry until the oil separates.
- Now add the ground coconut paste with a cup of water and salt.
- When the kuzhambu actually start to boil.. drop in the deep fried lentil dumplings. Cover and cook for 3 minutes on low flame and switch off. Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with plain rice, makes an excellent combo with Ghee rice or even plain roti.
- Alternate method: Instead of adding chopped onions, in some households they grind it raw with green chillis. Then after adding the whole garam maslas, its usually sauteed on low flame till the raw smell goes away. Once the ground paste turns light brown, follow the rest of the procedure from above.
- Another option is to add fresh coconut milk instead of ground coconut paste.
- Alternately you also use instant gram flour pakoda but… to be honest the traditional pakodas works best.
- You may use red chillies in the place of green chillies.
- If you wish to cut down on oil, just try steaming the dumplings and then add it to the coconut gravy. Its something similar to Vada Curry.