Chinta Chiguru Pappu – Tender Tamarind Leaves-Dal

I went to the farmer’s market (rythu bazaar) this morning and was delighted to find tender tamarind leaves, as these leaves are mostly available during early spring. Since I hadn’t blogged about these beautiful, delicate, light green and magenta colored tender leaves yet, thought I should blog about them before the season is over.

The young tender tamarind leaves have a subtle tart flavor without being overly bitter or sour. You can add quite a lot of these exotic tender greens to the recipe your cooking without turning whatever you are cooking to an inedibly sour or bitter taste, also increasing your nutrient intake and give your taste buds a real treat.“Chinta chiguru” is a highly recommended green to all the nutrition-conscious.

Jihva for ingredientsQuite a few delicacies are prepared with these sour greens in Andhra cuisine like Chintachiguru pachadi, Chintachiguru pappu and Chintachiguru Mamsam (meat). As it’s the dal month here, I decided to prepare a dal dish using these greens, an Andhra delicacy, Chintachiguru pappu. These sour greens when combined with the dal lend the dish a pleasingly wonderful flavor with a delicate undertone of sourness without overpowering the earthy comforting flavor of the dal.

Chinta Chiguru Pappu

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  tender tamarind leaves


  •   1 cup chinta chiguru (tender tamarind leaves)- remove the leaves from the stalks
  •   1/2 cup split yellow moong dal (pesara pappu) OR tur dal/red gram lentil/kandi pappu
  •   1 small onion finely chopped
  •   4-5 green chillis (slit length-wise) adjust to suit your spice level
  •   pinch of turmeric pwd
  •   salt to taste
  • Tempering/Seasoning/Poppu/Tad ka:

  •   1 tsp oil
  •   3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  •   ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  •   5-6 garlic pods or pinch of asafoetida
  •   2-3 dry red chillis ,de-seed and tear into two
  •   10-12 curry leaves

Method for making Chinta Chiguru Pappu

Wash the split yellow moong dal. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, turmeric, onion and green chillis to the washed dal and let it cook till half done, i.e the dal should be half cooked.
Slightly crush the tender tamarind leaves with your hand and add to the half cooked dal. Cover and cook on low heat till the leaves and dal are fully cooked and soft.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter, add the cumin seeds, dry red chillis, garlic, curry leaves and fry for a few seconds till you find the flavor of the spices fill your kitchen.
Add this tempering and salt to the cooked dal-tender leaves mixture, combine and cook for a minute. Turn off heat and leave covered for a few minutes before serving.
Serve with hot steamed rice, ghee, pickle of choice and papad or vadiyaalu.


  • Ashwini

    I love when you write about local herbs/ vegetables like gongura or tamarind leaves. I only wish I could find them here…I can just imagine how tasty they must be.

    Its difficult to really describe in words the flavor of these leaves when cooked
    with other ingredients, Ashwini.

  • radha

    hey sailu,

    you’r pictures look gorgeous, but I wish I could get those leaves here in usa, i would surely have tried them. Nice one!


    Thank you, Radha.

  • Nabeela

    wow….I remember climbing on tamarind trees to pluck those luscious leaves for chugar based salans in India…how I miss those times…it’s been ages since I had chugar…thank you for reminding us 🙂

    Nabeela, I am so glad I could take you down the lane to those wonderful childhood memories

  • vineela

    Hi Sailu,
    Chintha chiguru pappu yummy.
    You made me remember my moms preperation.
    I asked laksmi to post about dal when she made podi with this.
    Nice pics.

    Vineela, amma’s chinta chiguru pappu cannot be compared..:)

  • santhi

    This is one thing we will NEVER get in US of A :(:(

    Lovely post Sailu.

    Aaah…that’s bad, Shanti…:(

  • Archana

    Ohh My !!!! I never knew that we can make dal with tamarind leaves. I am going to tell my mother about this, we have a tamarind tree at home in Kerala. Wonder why we never really explored the possibility of making curries out of the leaves. Thank you so much Sailu

    Your most welcome, Archana. Imagine having a tamarind tree in your backyard
    for so many years and not knowing that it’s considered to be a culinary delicacy..:)

  • Nila

    Hi Sailu,
    We used to eat raw leaves too. I never knew that you can use these leaves in cooking. Excellent photos,by the way. How did you learn to take these wonderful photos? Your photos make me to try these recipes soon.
    Want to try your “Dry Coconut-Spices Powder” Recipe soon. We make a same version with little bit of Tamarind, but in a liquid form, “coconut-chutney for rice”. Lovely post.

    Thank you, Nila. I am an amateur photographer, learning through trial and error.
    Working on my photography skills. Taking food pictures is an art and it takes years,
    (at least for me), to master it..:)
    I also prepare coconut chutney (the wet kind) with tamarind. Goes great with rice!

  • Sumitha Shibu

    Never knew about making a dal curry with tamarind leaves. That is real new news to me! Thanks a lot Sailu! Here there is no way I can find a tamarind tree or its leaves but this is another green veggie that will soon be included in our diet from now on!

    Sumitha, I am surprised to find that quite a few who commented here, never knew about
    tamarind leaves being a delicacy. In Andhra its considered an exotic green..:)

  • sravanthi

    Hi Sailu! I was just thinking about how I haven’t eaten this pappu in years and lo and behold! it’s on your site. I wonder if we get this commercially outside Andhra, I don’t think so. Do write about traditional-but-unusual stuff like this more often! – Sravanthi

    Sravanthi, so nice to know that just as you were thinking about this pappu and
    suddenly it appears before you…:).
    Here in the farmer’s markets (rythu bazaars) you find them in abundance, not sure
    if they supply outside the state.

  • Gini

    This tree is so common in Kerala, but I dont think anyone knows about making this dal. Wish I had known this when I was in Kerala.

    Better late than never, Gini..:) We learn so much each day, dont we?
    I guess you could inform your family back in Kerala about this exotic greens.

  • RP

    We have a tamarind tree at my grandmother’s house in Kerala too. I have never seen anyone cook it’s leaves. I think people in Kerala don’t know about this. Lovely recipe and pictures, Sailu.

    RP, from most of the comments here, I guess your right about these
    leaves being unknown for their culinary value in Kerala.

  • krithika

    Lovely recipe and pictures. Have never tasted tamarind leaves. Thank you so much for introducing me to something new.

    Your most welcome, Krithika..:)

  • Vaishali

    Tamarind leaves? In a curry? That’s so exotic to me. Oh, I wish I were in India. Btw, tamarind leaves are called ‘Chigur’ in Marathi. Great to see the similarity in words. And hey, your pictures look sooooooo tempting. Btw, have you blogged about any dishes with drumstick leaves? The SriLankan store here stocks them sometimes. I don’t know how to use them. Do you?

    Vaishali, I did blog about drumstick leaves in my earlier posts.
    Please go through “greens – leafy vegetables” category.

    Drumstick Leaves Rasam (Soup)

  • Vaishali

    I just found out that you have blogged about ‘Drumstick leaves soup’ back in February. I’ll try out that recipe. In the meanwhile, can you please post more recipes with it? Or let me know which of the other dishes can be cooked with it? Thanks.

    Sure, Vaishali, I intend blogging recipes using drumstick leaves.
    I use them often in my cooking as we have a drumstick tree in our backyard.

  • Karthi Kannan

    Sailu: Your pictures appeals a lot and looks very cool. Never heard of this dal, though we always pluck a handful of tender leaves with its flower to eat.
    My grandma uses very tender leaves and its flower to make a pachadi. She just grinds them with red chillies, salt and makes into a coarse paste (with the big ulakai-traditional mortar+pestle kind) and it tastes so good. I tasted it long time back when I was little girl and great post, Sailu bringing back all those tender memories like these tender leaves :)!

    Yes, Karthi, I know the pachadi your talking about. My ammamma and amma
    prepare it too with the traditional mortar pestle. The flavor is simply irresistable..:)

  • Tanuja

    abba chinta chiguru pappu yummy sailu, we really miss all this here:(

    sailu mee chinta chiguru papu chustunte naku paatha pata okkati gurtu vastundi “chinta chettu cheeguru chudu chinnadaani pogaru chudu ani:)

    Tanuja, you got me laughing

  • Raji

    Dear Sailaja,

    You have a great blog with lovely photos. As mentioned by a lot of bloggers here, I’ve never heard of cooking with tamarind leaves before.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.

    I also want to let you know that I tried your paneer butter masala, it was a great hit in my house. I’m coming back for more of your recipes.

    Raji, thank you so much for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment.
    I am glad your family enjoyed the paneer curry..:)

  • Latha

    Hi Sailu,
    The chintachiguru pappu looks so appetizing! Your pictures are amazing.
    We dont get chinta chiguru here in the US. I miss so much about India!


    I can imagine how you feel, Latha, being away from home and miss eating
    greens like chinta chiguru.

  • Shammi

    I used to eat these leaves off the trees (and later the fruit) when i was a kid 🙂 Never knew you could make dal from the leaves, Sailu. Damn, I wish tamarind trees grew here!

    Shammi, I can relate to your comment on eating the leaves and fruit off the tree….:):)

  • Shynee Nair

    I think you have got all my favourite Andhra pappu…chinta chiguru pappu is indeed a mouth watering memory of Andhra still lingering on my tongue…

    Shynee, the flavor of this delicacy is hard to forget..:)

  • aruna

    hai ,
    ur recipe is simply superb .and ur pictures r too good and mouthwatering too. they remind us about our childhood days and thanks to u for that.hope i can do it here in bahrain if i get the leaves.

    I am glad the recipe and images took you back to your childhood days, Aruna..:)

  • sowjanya

    Hi sailu,

    That was a very delicious post. It reminded me of my moms dish. I wish chinta chiguru is available at singapore. nice post Sailu.

    Sailu, I was longing to ask you about ulava kattu that my dad’s sister used to prepare, when I stayed at vizag with my parents before marriage. Can you please post the recipe for it. I remember my aunt serving it with gummadi vadiyalu. It was very tasty indeed. Any idea what they are called in english?

    Sowjanya, ulavalu is called horsegram in english. I blogged earlier about ulava chaaru.

  • Mahitha

    Hello Sailu..

    I remember this recipe.. It was my ammamma’s. I used to love it.
    Thank u for bringing back those old memories, Sailu. But the saddest part is we dont get Chinta Chiguru here in US. I am craving for it by seeing ur exotic pics. I am a frequent visitor to ur site nowadays.. I loved ur Ulli Pakodi too.. Keep it going, Sailu!!

    Thanks for dropping by, Mahitha. Glad to know this post brought back old memories of home and ammamma..:):)

  • Mythreyee

    Hi Sailu, this is Mythreyee of ‘try this recipe’ blog. I am a daily visitor of your wonderful site. is my new blog. The main Idea of this blog is to spread the awareness of ‘Cooking for Health’ for the Indian Community.

    I choose a theme and publish a round up of recipes and articles relating to the theme.

    The Current theme is Leafy Vegetables and it would be great if you can send your permanent link for this TENDER TAMARIND LEAVES – DAL to I shall be delighted to add your recipe in the Jan 10th Roundup. For more details visit


  • Santhosh

    Very Good Very Simply
    Santhosh Joseph

  • uma

    hi sailu where can i find Chinta Chiguru i live in madison

    Sorry, Uma, I can’t answer that question as I don’t live in US.

    Update: Rekha has been kind enough to tell us where these leaves are available in US. Please see the comment below.

  • Rekha

    Hi Sailu,

    Have been a regular visitor to your blog and I must say that I have made most of the recipes mentioned by you. Everytime they come out so tasty. Just wanted the others also to know that Tamarind leaves are available in the US at any asian/thai grocery store. It comes in a glass container (“Pickled young tamarind leaves”) and it needs to be just rinsed well in water before use.

    I’m glad your enjoying the recipes, Rekha and thank you for taking time to inform us where these leaves are available in US.

  • Deby

    Hi there,
    You just made my day! You dunno how happy I am to find yr blog. Find it very informative. Am a big fan of indian food, been looking for the authentic recipe. And I think I find it here…
    thank you!


  • R.Punitha

    Hai Sailu, Good morning. Your recepie tamarind leaf dal is really superb!!! the way of presenting is very nice and please tell me a recepie with young tamarind pulps. I am your great fan, take care…. Bye.

  • smitha

    the young tamarind leaves can be sun dried in shade & can be stored for a year. when u need to use it soak the leaves in warm water for 1/2 hr.they will taste & look like fresh tamarind leaves.I live in US & whenever i visit India i get these dried leaves to use it thruout the yr.
    Hope this helps.

  • Bharathi

    Dear Sailu
    Thanks for the good recipes. Will you you help me in explaining the recipe for Drumstick curry made with rice paste. (Soaking the rice for 2 hours or so and grind it to make paste and pour in a tava with oil to make rice flakes and adding drum stick pieces, kept already boiled). I am getting the recipe in a proper way and if you know this, please help.
    Bharathi from Hyderabad

  • lavanya

    Hi Sailu! I was wondering if you had any suggestions for recipes with chinta chiguru podi… I have a huge packet of it from my neighbor!

  • Sravya Roy

    lovely dish Sailu gaaru….i’m trying this tomorrow…thanks so much for the share..!!