Monday, August 31, 2020

Masala Kadapa (Dal & Veggie Stew With Coconut & Spices)

A rich and delicious Korma-like stew, Masala Kadapa is a fabulous taste treat served with Idlis and Dosai in Kumbakonam -Thanjavur area, the Eastern part of South India. Masala Kadapa is just like Simple Kadapa but is enriched with the fragrant addition of a few more spices. It is phenomenal as a side served with Pongal, plain rice, etc. also.

Although split and skinless yellow moong/mung dal is the traditional dal used in this stew, I have used others with good results. For example, if I make Sambar or a Red Lentil dish, I usually cook a little extra Toor Dal/red lentils and put aside to use in making Rasam, mulagutal, etc. I also often add cooked whole Peas, Chickpeas, etc in addition to whichever dal I use if they happened to be available. 

The traditional Kadapa uses only potatoes; I love to add lots of vegetables in my recipes as they make them filling and rich in nutrients. I have included carrots, green beans, cauliflower and green peas in addition to the potatoe; choose your own favorite combinations. Most mild and sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, chayote (aka Bangalore Kathirikai), summer and winter squashes, etc may be added according to your preference and availability.

NOTE: 1 cup of coconut milk may be used instead of grinding the fresh/frozen/dry coconut; the rest of the masala ingredients may be finely ground in a spice grinder and added to the Kadapa. Almonds maybe substituted for the cashews. Remove and discard the cores of the chiles for a milder Kadapa; conversely increase the chiles and/or include the cores for a spicier result.

6 Servings


1/2 cup fresh/frozen Coconut (1/3 cup dried)
1 tsp Fennel seeds
1 Tbsp White Poppy seeds (Khus Khus) (optional)
1 plump green Cardamom
1/2" piece Cinnamon stick
2 Whole Cloves
1 hot Green Chile, remove seeds if you like
4 - 5 Raw Cashew nuts or a small handful of cashew pieces
1 tsp Uncooked Rice

1/4 to 1/3 cup dry yellow Moong Dal
1 cup Cooked dried Whole Peas, Black-eyed Peas, OR Chickpeas (optional)
1-2 Tomatoes, diced
1 small Sweet Potato
1 small regular Potato, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1 large handful Green Beans, thinly sliced
1 cup Cauliflower, separated into small florets
1 cup Peas, Fresh/Frozen
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1-2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 piece 1/2" Cinnamon stick
3-5 whole Cloves
1 Big brown Cardamom (aka Badi Ilaichi)
1 pinch Asafetida
4 small Shallots OR 1 small Onion, finely chopped
1-2 Green Chiles, minced 
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1-2 cloves, Garlic, peeled and minced (optional)
1-2 stems Fresh Curry leaves, sliced fine

1 Stem fresh Curry Leaves, thinly sliced
1 Lime/Lemon, juiced


Prepare Masala: Grind together the coconut and rest of the masala ingredients into a smooth paste using a small amount of water. Set aside until needed.

Rinse and cook the dal in enough water to cover until soft; pressure cooking speeds this process.

Add the prepared potatoes and carrots along with turmeric and salt to the dal and cook over low to medium heat until just tender, about 7-8 minutes.

While the dal is cooking, heat a small pan. Stir in mustard seeds and cover until they finish popping.

Stir in asafetida, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, and onion; stir and cook until shallots/onions soften and turn slightly golden. Sprinkle a little water as necessary to keep the veggies from sticking or burning.

Tip the tomatoes into the shallot/onion mixture and cook until soft.

Pour the ground coconut mixture into the dal and veggies; use a small amount of water - a few tablespoons - to collect all of the ground spices clinging to the blender carafe and add to the pot. Or if you are using coconut milk, add it here.

Add the cooked whole beans/peas if using, the cauliflower and green beans, and the tomato mixture to the dal and veggies. Bring to a boil and cook until green beans are bright green and just tender - about 4-5 minutes or so.

Stir in the peas, remove from heat, stir in the curry leaves, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Finishing: When ready to serve, stir in lime/lemon juice to taste. Correct for salt as needed.

Serve hot. Enjoy!!
Masala Kadapa with Ragi Dosai

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