Pappu Pulusu – Tamarind Based Lentil-Vegetable Stew

Pappu pulusu aka Pappu charu is a traditional Andhra favorite, nutritionally complete, delicious and easy to cook. A tamarind based lentil stew cooked with vegetables, Pappu pulusu is redolent with the delicate flavor of curry leaves and seasoned with Indian spices like cumin, mustard, fenugreek and garlic.

There are certain foods which have comfort written all over them and Pappu pulusu falls in the comfort food category, which when eaten with rice, makes a soothing combination. It makes a great meat-less main course and is cooked with seasonal vegetables like ladies finger (okra), brinjal (egg plant), shallots, tomatoes, sweet potato, radish, carrot, pumpkin and drumsticks, each of which gives the ‘pulusu’ a distinctive flavor of its own.

In fact, left over pappu charu tastes even better the next day by absorbing all the wonderful flavors of the vegetables. As one savors the pulusu-rice combination, it releases an tangy sweet mix of flavors from the tamarind, lentils and the vegetables, that its difficult to resist the temptation of having another serving of this earthy, hearty and filling dish 🙂

Pappu Pulusu

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  tur dal
  •   tamarind


  •   1 cup kandi pappu (tur dal, red gram dal) pressure cooked and mashed
  •   2 cups of chopped mixed vegetables (like okra, carrot, radish, drumsticks, brinjal or sweet potato)
  •   8-10 small sambar onions (or shallots)
  •   2 medium tomatoes quartered
  •   3-4 green chillis (slit length wise) adjust to suit your spice level
  •   pinch of turmeric
  •   3 cups of water
  •   1 big lemon sized tamarind (extract the juice in 1 cup water)
  •   1/2 tsp jaggery or sugar (optional)
  •   salt to taste
  •   coriander leaves for garnish
  • For tempering:

  •   1 tbsp oil
  •   1 tsp mustard seeds
  •   3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  •   ¾ tsp fenugreek seeds
  •   7- 8 crushed garlic flakes
  •   4-5 dry red chillis (tear into pieces and de-seed)
  •   10-12 fresh curry leaves

Method for making Pappu Pulusu

In a heavy bottomed vessel, add the mashed dal and water. To this, add the mixed vegetables, shallots, tomatoes, green chillis and turmeric powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let the vegetables get cooked.
Once vegetables are cooked, add the tamarind extract, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 8-10 mts, till the rawness of the tamarind disappears.
Pre-heat oil a pan, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the cumin seeds, fenugreek, garlic, red chillis and fry for a few seconds till they turn brown. Don’t burn them. Lastly add curry leaves and immediately add to the dal-vegetable mixture.
Simmer for a minute or two and turn off heat. Garnish with fresh coriander and keep covered for 10 mts before serving.
Serve with hot steamed rice and vadiyaalu and appadam (papad)


25 thoughts on “Pappu Pulusu – Tamarind Based Lentil-Vegetable Stew

  1. Hi Sailu…

    I have tagged you..Come and check out my blog…

    Ur pappu charu looks mouth watering…Nice pictures Sailu!!

    Thank you, BDSN.

  2. Nice post sailu pappu pulusu is my all time fav,I make this every night for dinner.

    sailu mee snaps ee madya channa prof ga untunayi emiti secret:)

    Tanuja, secret ammi laydu. Digital cam tho pictures theestunnanu..:)

  3. That looks like an incredible recipe…just too humid/hot right now for me to try that 🙂

    Jeff, try it and you will be hooked to it for sure..:)

  4. Ok Sailu. I am sitting in office ready to leave for home ( Got to travel an hour to reach home ). I am all hungry and the last foto of rice mixed with sambar ( pappu chaaru ) is tooooooo much for me. very bad of u 😉

    Ah, that’s really bad…:(:(. Wish I could send it over..

  5. Hi- Great site and awesome stuff for an expat andhrite in Japan!. I love the Pappu-Pulusu – my mom makes – which is very similar except that she adds onions too. What’s your take on that?. I totally agree that it’s best eaten a day or later after it’s made.

    Hi Shaq,
    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Shaq, I generally add the small onions which we call as sambar onions. Maybe I should edit the recipe and mention ‘onions’ specifically..:)

  6. Oooh, such lovely photographs, Sailu. Wonderful! Btw, there is a guessing game on at my blog. Just letting you know because you missed both the earlier ones. 🙂

    I am on my way.. Vaishali.

  7. hey sailu! that’s a lovely recipe, my daughter is sure to slurp it all up! thanks!

    Absolutely wholesome nutritious food for lil ‘g’ , Rumy…:)

  8. What to say…yet another favourite andhra food…brilliant snaps..

    I dont know, whether it is a prob at my end….I often find it difficult to open your site….tis after a few error messages that I get access and if I click the snaps once again it puts me off…as error….It doesnt happen with any other site…Has it anything specific to do with the browser that I use?

    Thank you, Shynee.
    The site is experiencing a few server issues and is in the process of getting fixed. I appreciate your patience.

  9. Oh!….Sailu how should I thank u, I am new to cooking. While searching in google I found ur pulihora recipe which I followed and it came as per my taste. From then onwards for any recipe I search in google “….by sailu”. I didnt know how to prepare pappu pulusu and I tried ur recipe and it came out really yummy. My husband didnt even leave it till it was completed in just 2 days. He is asking about pappu pulusu only. If there is enough time I can go on thanking you.
    Any how thanks a lot Sailu.

    I am so glad both of you enjoyed the pulihora and pappu pulusu recipes, Parvati. I feel happy that these recipes are of help to folks like you..:)

  10. Dear Sailu,

    This was the pulusu I always wanted to cook but never got it right. thank you sooooooooooooooo much.

    Best regards,
    Kirthi Suresh

  11. Hi, i tried this recipe today,it came out so delicious my husband liked it so much & me too.Your blog is very creative with different ingredients.Thank you so gonna try more…:)


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