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Lentil Dumplings in Tamarind Sauce

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“While Sundays and chicken dinners go hand in hand in many a household in America, lentil dumplings in tamarind sauce take center stage in India's Tamilian kitchens. Serve Spiced Puffed Breads or even steamed basmati rice with this dish. Prep time does not include lentil soaking time. TIPS: Cook the dumpling paste just until it resembles a soft dough or it will dry out and look like bread crumbs. Dry dough will not hold its shape and the dumplings will subsequently fall apart in the sauce. The dumplings can be made a day ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Leave fenugreek seed out of the recipe if unavailable. Because tamarind has such a crucial role in this recipe, there is no substitute for its distinct tartness.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. FOR DUMPLINGS: Place green split peas, 1 tbsp yellow split peas, 3 cups warm water and chilies in large bowl. Soak at room temperature for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 12 hours; drain.
  2. Place pea mixture and gingerroot in food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Stir in cilantro (or the first 12-15 karhi leaves), flour, salt and asafetida (or garlic powder).
  3. Heat oil in wok or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pea mixture. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bottom of skillet every 30 seconds (to prevent sticking) until mixture looks like soft, dry dough. Spread dough on dinner plate; let stand 10 to 15 minutes or until cool.
  4. Divide dough into 16 pieces; shape each piece into a ball. Set aside.
  5. MAKE SAUCE: Dissolve tamarind paste in 6 cups warm water in large bowl.
  6. Heat oil and mustard seed in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Once seed begins to pop, cover saucepan and wait until popping stops. Add yellow split peas and fenugreek seed; stir-fry 20 to 30 seconds or until peas are golden brown.
  7. Stir in the 2 bay leaves (or the second batch of 12-15 karhi leaves), Sambhar Powder and asafetida (or garlic powder); stir-fry 15 to 30 seconds. Stir in tamarind mixture, salt and turmeric; heat to boiling.
  8. Add dumplings; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 8 to 10 minutes without stirring (to prevent dumplings from falling apart) or until sauce is thickened. (If using bay leaves, remove and discard.) Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

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