Moar (or Mor, More or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all. This one includes the lentil dumplings and so takes a little longer. The base for this dish with the lentil dumplings is Moar Kuzhambu, but rather than add vegetables or vatral, balls of ground lentils and spices are made (pulse balls) and added to the base.
S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See set of books has 2 Moar Kuzhambu (Buttermilk/Yoghurt spicy gravy) with Lentil Dumplings made from ground lentils.
This Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu differs from the first version of this dish. The ground lentil balls are simpler and cooked in the buttermilk and coconut gravy rather than steamed. It is very delicious.
Making Indian Buttermilk
When Buttermilk is called for in an Indian recipe, use a good unsweetened yoghurt thinned 1:1 with water, or if you have thicker yoghurt, use twice as much water as yoghurt. Then beat or churn for about 1 minute. I have found excellent results if you follow this – the yoghurt is unlikely to split even when heated. You can also add a tspn of besan to the buttermilk as you beat it, which helps to stabilise the yoghurt. Desi yoghurt is the best to use, from your Indian store, or use a Greek Yoghurt.
You can also use the Western buttermilk if you can get it; I have found that it also gives excellent results. I tend to use it when “sour buttermilk” is called for in Indian recipes, as it has a tangier, sharper taste than you can get from yoghurt. Or use half Western buttermilk and half yoghurt.
Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk Gravy with Ground Lentil Balls | Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings
Source : from Cook and See Part 1, by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil
Prep time: 25 – 30 mins plus time for soaking the toor dal
Cooking time: 5 mins to heat the base and heat through the pulse balls
Serves: 3 – 4 people depending how you are using it. It makes about 2 cups.
1 cup toor dal, soaked for an hour or more
8 dried red chillies
1.25 tspn salt
1 tspn rice flour
green coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 cups buttermilk (see the note above on Indian buttermilk)
1.5 tspn salt
4 – 5 green chillies
0.25 tspn cumin seed
0.25 tspn rice
1 handful of grated coconut – use frozen if you don’t have fresh
12 curry leaves
fresh coriander leaves
2 tspns ghee or gingelly oil (Indian sesame oil)
1 tspn black mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies
Soak the dal for at least an hour – overnight works well. Drain and grind into a very smooth paste with salt, red chillies and asafoetida. A spice grinder works well for this.
Heat the ghee in a frying pan. Add the dal paste. Stir and turn well until it changes colour and has a nice aroma. Remove from the heat and add rice flour and coriander leaves. Cool a little and roll into thick balls, compressing them well.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped coriander and mix well. Knead the paste well. Roll the paste into balls. You will make about 8 or 9 with this amount of dal.
After churning the yoghurt to make buttermilk (see notes above the recipe), make the moar kuzhambu base. Grind the coconut gratings, green chillies, cumin seeds and rice in a spice grinder. Mix well with half of the buttermilk.
Add 1 cup water to the other half of the buttermilk. Add the salt and bring it to a simmer.
Cook the lentil balls
Add 4 of the lentil balls into the buttermilk. Bring the buttermilk back to a simmer, add a few more and repeat. Turn the dumplings once or twice with a flat spoon or the handle of a ladle, working from the bottom of the pan. Be careful to avoid breaking the balls.
When these lentil balls are cooked, pour in the other half of the buttermilk with the coconut paste. Gently mix and bring back to a simmer.
Remove from the heat.
Make a tadka by popping the mustard seeds in the hot ghee or oil, adding the dried red chillies for a few moments, and then pouring the oil and spices onto the hot buttermilk.
Garnish with curry leaves and a few coriander leaves.
Coconut can be added to the lentil balls for more flavour.
When lentil balls are cooked in the gravy, and not steamed, rice flour is added to the balls so that the balls do not break up easily. The balls can also be rolled in rice flour.
If there are quite a number of lentil balls to cook, add more water to the buttermilk that they cook in, and keep the buttermilk-coconut paste quite thick. Make sure there is sufficient space between the balls as they cook.