Sunday, August 16, 2015

Arisi Paruppu Saatham with fresh cowpeas - Lentil Rice with fresh purple hull cow peas

Arisim Paruppu Saatham the most well known and down home recipe of the Kongu region is made at least once a week in every household that has anything to do with the region. There are as many variations to the recipe as there are lentils. The most popular lentils used are the toor dal or moong dal. Occasionally split dried cow peas or dried split val dal (mocha paruppu) are also used.

I had some fresh plumpy purple hull cow peas and wanted to give my most favorite lentil recipe a try. This recipe will be an entry for the MLLA #87 which is hosted this month by Swathi- Zesty South Indian Kitchen. This long running event was started by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook and currently run by Lisa of Lisa's kitchen.

This recipe is as simple as it gets but there is no compromise on the taste. When you are hard pressed for time look no further, jump to this recipe and you will not be disappointed. What happens if you do not have fresh shelled cow peas? Not to worry any lentils or re-hydrated dried beans will work just fine. In a pinch you can even substitute fresh or frozen peas or corn.

While Basmati rice is considered perfect for rice dishes especially one pot rice dishes I prefer my trusted Ponni parboiled rice. Basmati is drier and hence not suitable for a dish that does not use a whole lot of oil and moreover each grain of rice being separate is not required. It is a down home rice dish so if you use extra water and it gets a bit mushy that is perfectly acceptable. You can use brown rice, quinoa or any millet for this recipe as well. Just adjust the quantity of water. The beans themselves do not need extra water for being cooked. If you are using soaked dried beans add about 1/2 cup of water extra for every cup of beans. If using Basmati rice, since it cooks very quickly it is even better to precook the beans.

Usually arisi paruppu saatham is made in the pressure cooker but there is no reason why you cannot cook it on a stove top.

Saute the onions and add the peeled fresh cow peas.
Add water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Arisi Paruppu Saatham with Fresh Cow Peas
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 1 1/2 cups of rice (I used Ponni parboiled rice)
  2. 2 cup of shelled fresh cow peas rinsed
  3. 1/2 cup of diced red onions or shallots
  4. 1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
  5. 4 garlic cloves chopped
  6. 4 red chilies split and seeds removed
  7. 4 green chilies slit
  8. 1 tsp of cumin-pepper powder
  9. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  10. salt to taste
  11. 2 tsp oil
  12. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves
  13. handful of chopped coriander leaves

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes at least or as long as an hour.
  2. In a pressure cooker heat oil, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and when it starts to pop add the curry leaves followed by the chopped onions and the chilies (red and green).
  3. Saute till the onions start to turn translucent, add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute more.
  4. Add the turmeric powder and the cumin-pepper powder and give a good mix.
  5. Add tomatoes and salt and saute till the tomatoes get mushy.
  6. Add the fresh cow peas and mix it in with the onion-tomato mixture.
  7. Drain the soaked rice and add to the tomato mixture. Add chopped coriander leaves.
  8. Add the required amount of water and let it come to a boil.
  9. Check for salt and close the lid. Turn off the heat after 3 whistles. Let the heat subside, open and fluff the rice up.
Serve with some appalam, pickles and yogurt.

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