Paruppu keerai cooked

Paruppu keerai (greens with lentils)

Growing up in a South Indian home ,the golden yellow lentils ,make it’s appearance in every other meal. Sambhar or paruppu ,is what is commonly made and was always taken for granted by me ,until I reached the stage where I had to actually make it ! The textures of the dhal take well to strong intrusions of spices. It’s a great pairing of carb and protein and rightly eaten with rice or roti in all parts of India. This combo also gently includes the much needed fat element in the form of butter or ghee to help it along in the process of digestion and absorption.Among the different kinds of dhals,this one and the tomato pappu are my favourites.

While my grand mom constantly talks about the need to add ghee to the lentils,of late it is heartening to note that nutritionists are also advocating the same ! In time ,we all learn that grandmother’s tales are not to be heard lightly !!! These spinach leaves were found by my aunt in law at Srivatsa Organic store on metupalayam road. We at home ,my kitchen helpers and me ,decided that it would taste great with the yellow lentils and that’s what we would make for lunch.

Paruppu keerai 2Since I prefer to send the same in my kids’ lunch box aka tiffin ,it was perfect ! A healthy lunch of rice with spinach and lentils cooked slowly to bring out the taste with the addition of the fiery spices and other additions. I should have added a more picture perfect photograph,but it was a simple meal ,meant to nourish and comfort and also ,this particular day ,I was way too hungry…to think of anything further than the food reaching the rumbles that were threatening to compete with the gods of thunder…LOl

Paruppu keerai cooked 2

Of course I added a tiny dribble more of the ghee ,before closing their lunch boxes. I’d like to think that as they opened their respective lunch tiffins ,the wafting aroma of ghee got many other little beings and their senses,  in the room ,ready for lunch. I am after all doing a service to the community ,not just to my own  😉

The cherry on top ,of course was the delicious downpour that made my meal of hot paruppu keerai and rice ,truly the food of the gods !!! If only every meal could be as therapeutic….sigh…what then are memories for  …!!?! :)


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  • 1. Wash the greens well and drain ,then chop finely and set aside.
  • 2. Soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes after washing well.
  • 3. Drain and add them to a pressure cooker with water and turmeric and cook until for about 2 whistles and then let it simmer for 3 minutes and turn it off. Once the pressure has released ,remove the lid. The lentils should be mushy. This is the quickest way. If you want to cook it in a regular vessel ,you need to add more water,let it come to a boil,cover and let it simmer until it is pulpy.
  • 4. Set the cooked lentils aside.
  • 5. In a medium sized pan ,add the oil and set on low heat.
  • 6. Add the asafoetida,after a few seconds ,add the onions,tomatoes and saute' well until soft and the onions are translucent.
  • 7. Add the chopped greens and mix well .
  • 8. Add the slit chillies,the chilli powder and salt and continue to saute' on low heat.
  • 9. Once the greens wilt slightly,the aroma arises and the mixture comes together,turn off the flame.
  • 10. Add the cooked lentils to the greens and return to the hob on a slow simmer.
  • 11. Add a spoon of ghee at this point and mix well.
  • 12. If too thick ,add some water to loosen the mixture. While simmering ,add the crushed garlic ,cover and leave on the hob for 5-6 minutes.
  • 13. This ensures that not too many properties of the garlic are destroyed by over cooking,it also adds a distinct but mellow flavour to the dhal.
  • 14. Check for seasoning and take off fire.
  • 15. Serve hot or warm with rice or millets and a dribble of home made ghee .

About Chef

Shanthini Rajkumar

Hello ☺ ! Welcome to Pink lemon tree. A suggestion that has turned into an immensely satisfying connect with foodies from near and far. Best described as a foodie mom ...