Recipe & Food Styling |Spicy Lentil Curry aka Paruppu Urandai Kuzhambu – And I am ready to test my wings one more time..
There was a time when, I used to struggle to manage my blog with my self-imposed technology phobia and wondered if I would ever make it to today.
But today, sitting in the office of a very popular brand of Chennai, ready to sign the mega project….my hands are shaking and I could hear every beat of my heart. And I am ready to test my wings again!
I received a mail from ‘AR’, concerned person from the company few days back, asking me to meet him at his office.
“We are looking for someone who can style the food, take pictures and also write content for around 300 products.”
“We came across your blog and loved your styling, photography and writing, Sanjeeta. Now let us know how confident are you to take up the entire project single-handedly?” He questioned and started showing the project list on the projector.
“I would be happy to do food styling and write content for you but I am not a professional photographer.” I adjusted my glasses, trying to read the long list of products at the projector.
“The pictures we have seen on your blog are good and we are fine with your photography.” He looked at me and smiled.
“Our products are traditional Indian food and focus mainly on South Indian cuisine, we are looking for simple and rustic food styling. We don’t want any ceramic or glassware to show in the pictures. Earthenware, wood or dried leaves are our choice of props.” He continued and waited for my response.
I was like a kid in a candy store after hearing words like…traditional Indian food, rustic props, earthenware. This is the subject close to my heart…happy as a lark, I held the chair tight lest I jumped out of it 🙂
I controlled my emotions and calmly said, “Yes, I can do it.”
And then arrived the first batch of 10 traditional Indian packed food at home. My house turned into a mini studio with props, spices and food at every nook and corner.
Long list of products to shoot…reduced online time…I am ready to face one more new challenge in life.
There is absolutely no pressure from the client and I have already received the first feedback mail from them saying that they loved the first batch of pictures and content 🙂
The work has begun..Waking up every morning with mind full of fresh ideas to start the shoot is so very exciting. It’s a long journey ahead…and I have taken the very first step.
I started sorting out all that is Indian and rustic from the shelves. Some of these will make good backdrop..
Wiping and sun-drying the Earthenware collection…
Some more rustic props to be used…
I almost forgot these antiques collected from Udaipur….
Silverware and copper props for Indian sweets…
And then there are rustic boards for that warm feeling…
Props, products and the make-shift studio in foyer..
And when the dinning area is turned into workstation for food styling..
Coming back to the recipe for this post…
Lentil dumplings in tangy curry aka Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu
Here is the last batch of dried lentil fritters I made this summer. I used a combination of whole green gram (moong), black gram (urad) and Bengal (channa) gram with a few spices and herbs to make these Badis. These stay good for over a year without loosing the crunch and aroma when packed in an air-tight container.
I was supposed to cook Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu for one of the products during the shoot at home. This is a traditional recipe from South India and my MIL makes it quite often at home.
Mil does not add onion and tomatoes to the gravy, she adds her home-made Sambhar powder to perk up the tangy gravy.
The recipe is almost similar to Badi recipe prepared in West and North India. Badi is dried lentil fritter which are cooked in a gravy while Paruppu urandai are fresh lentil dumplings cooked in tamarind gravy.
The other difference is the addition of souring agenet in both the recipes. While tamarind pulp is used in Paruppu Urandai, yogurt is used as souring ingredient for Badi recipe.
You can use the same recipe and replace dried lentil fitters or Badis with fresh lentils balls. Make sure to cook the gravy with dried lentil fritters till they are soft and cooked.
- 1 cup Bengal gram
- 3 dried red chilly
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- A few curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 lemon sized tamarind
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp red chilly powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida powder
- Salt to taste
Method; Wash and soak Bengal gram in a bowl. Add dried red chillies, fennel seeds, curry leaves and salt in the same water and let it soak for about an hour.
Soak tamarind in one cup of water in a small vessel separately.
Grind the soaked Bengal gram with other ingredients into coarse paste. Add a little water if needed.
Make small balls from the lentil paste and steam them in a steamer or like the way we steam Idlies for 4-5 minutes.
Finely chop onion and tomatoes.
Heat oil in a wok or kadai and splutter mustard seeds in it.
Add fenugreek seeds, asafoetida powder and chopped onion & tomatoes in the wok and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Add chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and tamarind water and let the gravy simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
Add steamed lentil balls in the gravy, cover the lid and simmer for 2 minutes.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with plain rice, Indian flat breads or Idlies & dosas.
You can search Glossary for English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe.
- Use sour curd and replace tamarind pulp to get another version of this recipe.
- Add finely chopped onion and fresh coriander while grounding the gram paste to make Urandai or balls for better taste.
- A teaspoon of fresh Sambhar powder added at the last in gravy will perk up the recipe.