Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Ground Lentil balls cooked in a spicy tangy Tamarind sauce)

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu has got to be the most favorite preparations in the typical Tamilian home.
Not only is the preparation  super simple but so healthy too.

The preparations of the just perfectly cooked soft lentil balls is  akin to the dal koftas or the other plain koftas in North Indian cuisine. How ever the South Indian version is pretty simple and can be done quickly.

Many versions of the paruppu urundau kuzhambu can be found all over the internet. Choose your version. Here am sharing the most authentic simple tried tested recipe as prepared by my mom and which is still being followed by many Tambram households.

1.  Keep the lentils soaked for at least an hour, then grind to a paste with ingredients given under To grind.
     Make small smooth balls not too firm and keep aside.

2.While the dal is being ground, keep the tamrind extract with sufficient water , add the sambar powder, asafoetida, sprigs of curry leaves, salt and let boil well. When it comes to a good roll boil, drop the prepared lentil balls one by one . After few minutes they will come up as shown in the pic indicating they have not crumbled and getting cooked.

3. When it appears the balls have been cooked till done , by checking one of them by breaking the ball , otherwise let it remain boiling for for some more time. The kuzhambu would have thickened by now.
Prepare the seasoning and pour over the hot kuzhambu, garnish with more sprigs of curry leaves.

4. Serve hot with rice, tastes good by itself or serve with papad.


1 cup toor dal
1/4 cup chana dal
1 small lemo size tamrind
salt to taste
2 -3 tsp sambar powder
Generous pinch of asafoetida powder/hing
Pinch of turmeric powder
Sprigs of curry leaves

To Grind with the soaked lentils

3 red chillis
Asafoetida powder

For tempering

2 tsp sesame oil preferably
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split udad dal
Sprigs of curry leaves.


Keep the tamrind soaked in some warm water and extract the juice around 3 cups . The tamrind water should be slightly runny as the lentil balls need to cook in this thin spicy mixture first. We allow the kuzhambu to thicken at the last stage when all the balls are cooked.
Soak the dals for an hour at least and then grind with the ingredients given under to grind .

Grind to a almost smooth consistency, by just sprinkling water, avoid it if possible. Dont keep the paste too coarse also. Add the curry leaves to the ground paste and mix well.

Make small smooth balls  and keep aside. 
While the paste is being ground, keep the tamrind extract on the gas to boil.

Add the salt, asafoetida powder, sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt .Throw some sprigs of curry leaves as well to enhance the flavor of the kuzhambu.

When the tamrind mixture after adding the sambar powder becomes aromatic and the raw smell of the powders disappears, drop the lentil balls slowly one by one and at this point the mixture should have been on a good boil.

As you drop the prepared lentil balls in the hot boiling kuzhambu, wait for the balls to come up as they cook, do not be impatient and keep poking in the mixture, disturbing the lentil balls, which will crumble.

You will see within few minutes, the balls come up and float in the hot kuzhambu, continuing to cook inside, keep the flame on a medium after you finish dropping all the balls. and also thin the kuzhambu a bit if it has thickened too much as you want all the lentil balls to cook for few more minutes.

Once it is done, you can allow the tamrind sauce to thicken, then pour the seasoning at the end with a garnish of sprigs of curry leaves.

This is such a simple aromatic tasty kuzhambu, it doesn't need anything to go with it apart from plain rice. The lentil balls are very good to eat with the kuzhambu and the rice.


Some variations are to add some chopped onions, green chillis with the ground paste, some fennel seeds, garlic paste ( optional) and then the balls are made and steamed, then dropped in the kuzhambu.

Another way is to add the chopped onions, green chillis, sprigs of curry leaves, grated coconut , some fennel seeds and then it is sauteed for few minutes, then the balls are made and dropped in the hot tamrind sauce.

Personally I  prefer the simpler no onion, garlic, no coconut  version which I have detailed above. You could try which ever way and they taste good.