The South Indian cuisine has many preparations made with various types of lentils, legumes, beans or peas. From snacks, starters, salads to mains and even desserts or sweets, ‘paruppu/parippu’ or lentils are used in the preparation of many dishes. Just like this Parippu Curry, which is simply a Moong Lentil Curry. This is one of the popular ones that feature in the all-vegetarian festive feast called ‘Sadya,’ during Onam celebrations in Kerala. You must try this lovely, soulful and comforting dal-based dish as well.
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About Parippu Curry
Parippu Curry is basically a Moong Lentil Curry, tempered in a typical South Indian style. It has a good dose of coconut, just like any other dish in this part of our country, and other spices.
Here, I have shared a recipe which I learnt from my mother. She has been making this Lentil Curry since a long time, with moong lentils (husked and split green gram) and even tur dal (pigeon pea lentils).
So, even you can make this Parippu Curry with either moong lentils or pigeon pea lentils. This specific post is with moong lentils. Other elements of this preparation include a fresh coconut paste with green chilies, cumin seeds, onion; and the typical whole spices for tempering.
Since it is traditionally a dish from South India, I suggest to use coconut oil for the tempering. Which also makes this Moong Dal Curry, a vegan one. It is also gluten-free.
However, if you can’t really imagine dishes cooked in coconut oil or are averse to its taste, then use ghee. Although I will reiterate, for an authentic flavor, follow the recipe without making any changes in it.
This Kerala style curry made with moong lentils makes for a super comforting meal, when served with steamed rice. You can also accompany it with a side vegetable Thoran, some pickle and/or pappadums. At home as well, dal-rice is an evergreen combination for us. So, whenever we are looking for a change, I prepare this Parippu Curry instead.
Easy to prepare, this Lentil Curry recipe can also be easily halved, doubled or tripled. Also, when having it with steamed rice, top it up with some ghee for that ultimate experience.
How to make Parippu Curry
Pressure Cook Moong Lentils
1. Rinse ⅓ cup (70 grams) moong dal in water a couple of times. Then, add rinsed moong dal in a 2 liter stovetop pressure cooker. Also, add ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder (2 pinches) and 1 cup water.
You can even cook the moong lentils in a 6 quarts Instant Pot adding 1 cup water for 10 to 12 minutes on high pressure.
Alternatively, opt to cook them in a stovetop in a pot/pan adding water as needed. For quick cooking of the lentils, soak them in water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Pressure cook on medium to high heat for 5 to 6 whistles or for 8 to 9 minutes.
3. Once the pressure drops down naturally in the cooker, then only remove the lid and check the lentils. The moong dal should be softened and cooked thoroughly.
4. Mash the cooked moong dal with a spoon or vegetable masher. Set aside.
Make Coconut Paste
5. Take the following ingredients in a blender or grinder jar:
- ⅓ cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 chopped green chili (about ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped)
- 1 sliced pearl onion (or 2 tablespoons sliced)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
For a spicy dal, you can add 2 green chilies. Use 2 tablespoons chopped onions or chopped shallots, if you do not have pearl onions.
6. Add ¼ cup water.
7. Grind to a fine and smooth paste. Add more water, if required while grinding.
Make Parippu Curry
8. Add this coconut paste to the mashed dal in the cooker.
9. Add ⅓ to ½ cup water. You can also rinse the grinder jar with this ⅓ or ½ cup water so that all the remaining coconut paste extracts stuck to the grinder jar gets mixed with the water.
Use a spoon or hold the jar from outside and gently shake and whirl the jar with your hands. Then, add this water in the cooker containing the mashed lentils.
10. Season with salt as required.
11. Mix well and keep the cooker on the stovetop on a low to medium heat.
12. Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Keep stirring at intervals so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the cooker.
After 7 to 8 minutes, switch off the heat, cover the cooker with a lid and keep aside. This is a slightly thick dal, so do not add too much water.
13. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee in a small frying pan or tadka pan. Keep the heat to a low.
14. Add ⅓ teaspoon mustard seeds.
15. Let the mustard seeds crackle.
16. Next, add 1 or 2 dried red chilies (broken and seeds removed) and 9 to 10 curry leaves.
17. Immediately, add 2 to 3 thinly sliced pearl onions (about ¼ cup sliced). Add dried red chillies, curry leaves and onions together.
First, add dried red chilies and curry leaves followed by pearl onions. Use ¼ cup thinly sliced onions or shallots, if you do not have pearl onions.
18. Sauté the onions till golden. Stir often.
19. Once the onions turn golden, switch off the heat.
20. Add the entire tempering mixture to the dal.
21. Mix thoroughly.
22. Serve Kerala style Parippu Curry with steamed rice. While serving, you can drizzle a bit of ghee on the lentil curry and rice.
Lentils in South Indian Cuisine
If you knew South India just by its rice consumption, you are highly mistaken. Because other than this grain, there is a variety of dals (lentils), legumes and the likes which is popularly used in the preparation of many common dishes across South Indian households. Lentils also are quite the staple food of the people here.
Regionally known as paruppu or parippu, lentils may be used in sprouted or fresh form and also dried forms like whole, split without husk and split with husk. Just like this Parippu Curry which basically uses split and husked yellow moong lentils.
Other South Indian dishes where lentils are a common ingredient are the batters for scrumptious snacks like dosa, vada, idli, sambar, some vegetable-dal preparations as well as decadent desserts like Kadalai Paruppu Payasam, Pasi Paruppu Payasam and more.
- Lentils: You can make this curry with tur dal or pigeon pea lentils also, if you don’t have moong dal. The time taken to cook the lentils in the pressure cooker will depend on the quality of the lentils.
- Pearl Onions: If you have regular onions or even shallots in hand at home, you can use either of these in place of pearl onions. To make coconut paste, use 2 tablespoons chopped onions or shallots. For tempering, use ¼ cup thinly sliced onions or sliced shallots. If you want a spicier curry, add 2 green chilies.
- Coconut: If you do not have fresh coconut, use desiccated coconut instead. You can also use frozen coconut instead.
- Coconut oil: For a traditional flavor, use coconut oil. If you do not have it, then use ghee. If you don’t have either, then use any other neutral flavored oil.
- Satvik variation: To make no onion version of this curry, skip adding the onions.
- Cooking Lentils: While cooking the curry, keep stirring at intervals so that it does not stick to the bottom of the cooker. Typically, this dish is slightly thick. So, do not add too much water.
- Scaling: Double or triple the recipe without any hassle, to make for a greater number of people.
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Parippu Curry | Lentil Curry
For pressure cooking lentils
- ⅓ cup moong dal 70 grams, (split & husked yellow mung lentils)
- 1 cup water
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder or 2 pinches (ground turmeric)
For coconut paste
- ⅓ cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 green chili chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 pearl onion – sliced or 2 tablespoons, sliced
- ¼ cup water – for grinding
- ⅓ to ½ cup water – to be added later
- salt as required
For tempering parippu curry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
- ⅓ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 or 2 dry red chilies – broken and seeds removed
- 9 to 10 curry leaves
- 2 to 3 pearl onions – thinly sliced or ¼ cup sliced
Pressure cooking moong lentils
- Rinse moong dal in water a couple of times. Then add rinsed moong dal in a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Also add turmeric powder and 1 cup water.
- Pressure cook on medium to high heat for 5 to 6 whistles or for 8 to 9 minutes.
- Once the pressure settles down, remove the lid and check the lentils. They should be softened and cooked thoroughly.
- Mash the cooked moong dal with a spoon or masher. Keep aside.
Making coconut paste
- Meanwhile, while the dal is cooking, take grated coconut, chopped green chillies, sliced pearl onion in a blender or grinder jar. For a spicy dal, you can add 2 green chilies or about 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped green chillies.
- Add cumin seeds and ¼ cup water.
- Grind to a smooth and fine paste. Add more water if required while grinding.
Making parippu curry
- Add this coconut paste to the mashed dal in the pressure cooker.
- Add ⅓ to ½ cup water.
- Season with salt as required.
- Mix well and keep the cooker on the stove top on a low to medium heat.
- Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Keep stirring at intervals so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the cooker. After 7 to 8 minutes of simmering cover with a lid and set aside.
Tempering for lentil curry
- Heat coconut oil or ghee in a small pan or tadka pan.
- Add ⅓ teaspoon mustard seeds and let them crackle.
- Then add dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed), curry leaves and pearl onions (thinly sliced).
- Saute the onions stirring often till they turn golden.
- Once the onions turn golden, switch off the heat.
- Add the entire tempering mixture to the cooked lentils and mix well.
- Serve parippu curry with steamed rice.
- Instead of pearl onions, you can use shallots or regular onions.
- For coconut paste, add 2 tablespoons onions and for tempering, add ¼ cup thinly sliced onions
- Tur dal (pigeon pea lentils) can also be used instead of moong dal.
- Depending on the quality of moong dal, it can take less or more time for it cook in a pressure cooker.
- Use ghee if you do not have coconut oil. If you do not have ghee as well as coconut oil, then use any neutral flavored oil.
- While serving, you can drizzle some ghee on the dal and rice.
- Desiccated coconut or frozen coconut can be substituted if you do not have fresh coconut.
- For a no onion version, just skip them and make the lentil curry.
- The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Parippu Curry recipe post from the archives, first published in May 2017 has been republished and updated on November 2022.