Never again will I jinx myself by complaining how warm it is in December. Only to be followed by the worst cold front ever over New Year’s weekend. It is so cold now, my feet are always cold, I feel as lazy as can be. And now I sound like a nagging old lady!
So, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year with family, food and fun. We did, in spite of the weather, and now the old routine is back. Or somewhat. Which means the blog will receive the tender loving care it deserves. I had sort of neglected the kitchen after all the food-frenzy over Christmas. We ate out way more than acceptable and it’s time to go back to wholesome home-cooked family meals.
Green gram or mung beans are a favorite in South India and can be prepared in many ways. They can be sprouted as well.
We prepare green gram or cheupayar in quite a number of ways. The beans are boiled and tossed with coconut and a simple tadka to make a thoran or stir fry, similar to this recipe made with fresh vegetables here. Most commonly, a simple curry is made with them to be eaten with rice or soft rotis.
Every household has a signature cherupayar curry, of course. Mom makes it with a gravy of ground coconuts and spices. I usually make do with canned coconut milk, because let’s face it, it’s much easier that way. But today’s recipe is something I picked up while living as a paying guest during the early days of my career, right out of college. This cherupayar curry is simmered in milk (and I mean plain cow’s milk).
Milk or cream is rarely used in savory curries in South Indian cuisine. Yogurt may be used, or coconut milk, but I had never come across a curry thickened with just milk. It is absolutely delicious, by the way. The milk adds just the right amount of silky creaminess and richness to this humble dish.
- Oil - 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- Curry leaves - 6-8
- Whole dried red chilies - 2
- Asafoetida (hing) - a pinch
- Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
- Ginger - 2 tsp, grated or finely chopped
- Garlic - 1 clove, minced
- Green chilies - 2
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder - ½ tsp
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder - a fat pinch
- Tomato - 1 large, chopped
- Green gram (mung beans or cherupayar) - 1 cup, washed and soaked in water till needed in the recipe
- Milk - ½ - ¾ cup
- Salt - to taste
- Cilantro leaves - to garnish
- Heat oil in a large pot or pressure cooker. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chilies.
- When the seeds sputter, add a pinch of asafoetida, chopped onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Saute till onions are lightly browned.
- Now add the masala powders and mix well. Add the chopped tomato and cook till mushy.
- Add the green gram (mung beans) and enough water to just cover them. Add ½ tsp salt, cover and cook till beans are soft. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles, remove from heat and allow the pressure to be released naturally.
- Open the lid and add milk. Simmer gently till milk is heated through and curry is reduced to your liking. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with steamed rice, rotis or idiyappams.
2. Some recipes boil green gram separately and add to the masala. But I have found no reason to do so.
3. If you do not wish to use milk, feel free to use thick coconut milk in place of regular milk.
4. If you want to use freshly ground coconut, add the ground coconut along with the spice powders and saute well till coconut is cooked and fragrant. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Replace milk with coconut milk to make this curry vegan. But if you are able to, try using regular milk in this curry to make it as creamy and delicious as possible.
Try including green gram in your diet. They are highly nutritious and easy to cook. You can have this curry with rice, chapatis or my favorite, soft idiyappams.
So, here’s to good health and delicious food in the New Year. May they go hand in hand!!
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