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Ripe mango and pigeon pea curry (Mambazha kuzhambu)

Mango season in India is primetime. The markets are flooded; the only possible conversation is about mangoes and various varieties. I look forward to this season immensely and gorge on mangoes every which way I can. Here is a lovely curry to kick off the season.

This is a sweet sambhar made with mangoes, the season's fruit. The sambhar is typical in many respects but is loaded with sweet mangoes instead of vegetables, as is typical. It si spicy with hints of sweetness from the soft mangoes. I loved it because of how unique this dish is. Traditionally it is made with a specific variety of mango called the sugar baby. These are tiny mangoes that are super sweet. They are added whole, with skin. However, they are unavailable in Bangalore, at least I cannot find them. I substituted a larger mango peeled and chunked instead.

This is a thin volume of amazing recipes by a master chef. This volume rounded up my collection of Chandra Padmanabhan's cookbooks. It is filled with amazing recipes from South India, like this one. Each recipe is absolutely delicious, stays true to the core of the native cuisine and is always a crowd-pleaser. I highly recommend this, and all her other cookbooks, as a must-have for South Indian cuisine.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.



Ingredients:

1 cup pigeon peas (toor dal), soaked for 3 hours to overnight in 5 cups water

Salt, to taste

5 cups water


3 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-3 dried red chillies

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida


1 tablespoon sambhar powder

1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

2 medium mangoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

15 curry leaves

4 cups water

Salt, to taste


Drain the soaked pigeon peas and rinse them out well. Add to a pot with the salt and water and bring to a boil. Scoop off any scum and simmer quite vigorously for 45-60 minutes till the dal is broken down completely. The dal should be very thick at this point.


Heat the oil in a pot and add the mustard seeds. They will splutter in 10 seconds and add the cumin and red chillies and toss well for 5 more seconds. Add the asafoetida and stir well. Add the sambhar powder and fry for 30 seconds.


Add the tamarind paste and cook for 1 minute, mixing the ingredients in the pot well. Add the mangoes, curry leaves, water, and salt and simmer for 15 minutes. The curry should thicken slightly, the mangoes become super soft, and the tamarind no longer smells raw.


Add the cooked dal and mix in well. Simmer for 10 minutes till the dal is of a consistency of your liking. Taste for tartness and salt and adjust as needed.


Serve hot with rice, dosas or idlis.

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