Paruppu thogayal/ spicy lentil red gram chutney

Paruppu thogayal or lentils red gram chutney is our usual favourite emergency condiment to fall back upon   when the urge to cook is very low and the feeling of inertia kicks in , but what a healthy way to indulge in this feeling.

That's is the reason I never feel guilty when I make such tasty spicy thogayal which satisfies many ways of having it. As an accompaniment doing away with veggie chopping , masala , and other spices, the minimal utensils we use when we go for this combination of paruppu thogayal  with rice and papads! Oh ! The feeling of having cooked something healthy is a great feeling .

But what is paruppu togayal ? To the unfamiliar folks , this is nothing but a great  healthy spicy chutney called thogayal in Tamil. Which is prepared by roasting toor dal/ split pigeon peas or red gram lentils with some red dry chillis ... Wait ! Better to get down to the recipe straight . 

Paruppu thogayal / spicy lentil chutney 

A real life saver for the days when you don't want to slave  in the kitchen yet do not  want to compromise on taste and nutrition! These chutneys or thogayals  as it is called in Tamil is a great boon that can be made within minutes . In fact in less than 10 minutes you can have a great tasting thogayal this not only healthy but lip smacking.

The recipe

1 cup toor dal / split pigeon peas
4 or 5 red dry whole chillis ( reduce for a less spicy version )
Generous pinch of asafoetida
1 small berry size tamrind ( optional )
Salt to taste
1 tsp sesame oil or any cooking oil.


Take a pan, add a tsp of sesame oil and roast the red gram and the red chillis along with tamrind if you  are using tamrind till a fine aroma envelops Nd the gram turns a brown golden colour. The whole red chillis should crisp up nicely . The tamrind piece soul have softened too. Add the asafoetida while roasting itself.

Let the roasted ingredients cool down completely . Add salt. 
Adding some sprinkles of water grind to a paste in the mixie jar.

Store in  refrigerator. Will stay good up to  a week.
This is a great replacement for  pickles with curd rice or to simply mix with rice or again as an accompaniment with rasam and rice when you do not want to cook  vegetables.

Notes: fresh grated coconut may be added while grinding for a even richer taste. I prefer to do the no coconut version!

Health facts and other info about lentils

Lentils, like peas, garbanzos and peanuts, are legumes. You can think of them as a starch since they are mostly carbohydrate and protein with essentially no fat. They best part is that they contain tons of fiber with a half cup of cooked lentils coming in at around 8 grams.

Like other legumes you can cook and serve lentils whole, but they are also great pureed into in soups and sauces. Because they are so tiny, dried lentils don’t have to be soaked overnight like other legumes. 

It is a good idea to rinse them well because they contain a lot of dust and dirt. Boil very gently, testing often for doneness.

There are three main types of lentils. The most common is the brown lentil, red lentil gram  . They cook quickly and will be mushy if you cook them too long. This does make them perfect for soups and will give the soup a rich thickness.

Red (pink) and yellow lentils have had the hull removed and are split much like split peas. As a result they will cook more quickly than brown or French lentils. 

These are slightly smaller and not as plump as green lentils and have a milder flavor. In India yellow lentils are known as moong dal and red lentils known as masoor dal. 

1/4 cup uncooked lentils = 169 calories, <1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 gram monounsaturated fat, 12 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fiber, 3 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mcg Vitamin K

1/4 cup uncooked pink lentils = 166 calories, <1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams monounsaturated fat, 12 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 3 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mcg Vitamin K

Compared to other types of dried beans, lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare. 

They readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings, are high in nutritional value and are available throughout the year.

Lentils are legumes along with other types of beans. They grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds that are round, oval or heart-shaped disks and are oftentimes smaller than the tip of a pencil eraser. They may be sold whole or split into halves with the brown and green varieties being the best at retaining their shape after cooking. 

Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. 

But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.

Lentils—A Fiber All Star

Check a chart of the fiber content in foods; you'll see legumes leading the pack. Lentils, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber, both the soluble and insoluble .

Lentils' contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these little wonders supply. 

Folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. When folate (as well as vitamin B6) are around, homocysteine is immediately converted into cysteine or methionine, both of which are benign. 

When these B vitamins are not available, levels of homocysteine increase in the bloodstream—a bad idea since homocysteine damages artery walls and is considered a serious risk factor for heart disease.

Lentils' magnesium puts yet another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects. Magnesium is Nature's own calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. 

Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart. Want to literally keep your heart happy? Eat lentils.

Lentils Give You Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. 

Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. 

One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contains with 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day. Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein—the most dangerous form of cholesterol)levels by 12.5%.

Iron for Energy

In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, lentils can increase your energy by replenishing your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with lentils is a good idea—especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, lentils are not rich in fat and calories. 

Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. And remember: If you're pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase. 

Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron.

Lentils are legumes, seeds of a plant whose botanical name is Lens ensculenta. They grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds.

Lentils are classified according to whether they are large or small in size with dozens of varieties of each being cultivated. While the most common types in the United States are either green or brown, lentils are also available in black, yellow, red and orange colors. 

These round, oval or heart-shaped disks are small in size, oftentimes smaller than the tip of a pencil eraser. They are sold whole or split into halves.

The different types offer varying consistencies with the brown and green ones better retaining their shape after cooking, while the others generally become soft and mushy. While the flavor differs slightly among the varieties, they generally feature a hearty dense somewhat nutty flavor.
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