Pulse panacea

Pulse panacea


Pulse panacea
In a vegetarian diet, urad dal, tur dal and moong dal are considered the main sources of proteins. However, using them often in uncreative recipes might lead to boredom, possibly resulting in you staying away from the food.

Not to forget, the soaring prices of these pulses! A wise way  would be to mix and match these with other protein sources, to meet one’s daily nutritional requirements.  On an average, a person needs one gm of protein/kg of body weight. Half a cup of any pulse provides 10-12 gram of protein. There are two basic sources of proteins:

Animal proteins, available from fish, meat, eggs, poultry, milk and their products.
Vegetable proteins, which can be sourced from grains like wheat, lentils, peas and beans.

In fact, dairy products and soya beans are all concentrated sources of proteins. Though non-vegetarian food is usually considered rich in proteins, vegetarian food can also provide quality proteins by mixing different varieties of pulses, fermenting (as in idlis and dosas) and sprouting. Although there is such a wide array of pulses available, very few varieties are known and used commonly. Here are some of the protein-rich varieties:

 Cow peas or black-eyed peas
 Fava beans or broad beans
 Garbanzo beans or chick peas
 Horse gram
 Black beans
 Various nuts, sesame and flax seeds
 Lima beans or butter beans
 Red beans or kidney beans
 Masoor dal (chennangi bele)
 Field beans (avare)
So, how about trying out some recipes with these lesser used, but economical pulses?


Mix a handful of three or four varieties of pulses/bean peas, nuts; soak overnight and use in sambar for added protein value.

To thicken the consistency of sambar (after reducing the amount of tur dal used), grind the cooked dal with some coconut gratings.

 Sprout the pulses and beans to enhance their protein (and niacin) content.

Moong idli

Serves 6
Ingredients: 1 cup moong dal (green gram dal), 2 cups idli rava, 1 tsp methi seeds, 1 tbsp rice flakes, 1 tsp jeera, a pinch of asafoetida, 2 tbsp carrot gratings, 1 green chilli, a few coriander leaves (chopped), 2 tbsp coconut gratings (optional).

Method: Soak dal and rava separately for 3-4 hours. Drain the rava and keep aside; grind the dal to a smooth paste; add the rava along with salt and mix well. Leave for about 8-10 hours to ferment. Add the rest of the ingredients; mix well and steam cook in an idli-maker and serve hot, with coconut or mint chutney, with a dash of ghee on top.

Soya dosa

Serves 6
Ingredients: 1 cup soya beans, 3 cups rice (plain/dosa rice), 1 tsp methi, 1 tbsp Bengal gram dal, 1 tbsp tur dal, salt to taste, a pinch of asafoetida, 1 tsp jeera, oil for shallow frying.

Method: Soak soya overnight or for about 10 hours. Soak rice for 5-6 hours separately. Grind soya separately to a smooth paste; grind rice with other dals and methi separately to a smooth batter. Mix both and grind to blend well. Allow to ferment overnight. To prepare dosas, add the rest of the ingredients to the batter and prepare the dosas as usual with a teaspoon of oil around, till crisp and brown. Serve hot with any chutney.

Horse gram vada

Ingredients: 2 cups horse gram, ¼ cup Bengal gram dal, green and red chillies (2 each), asafoetida and turmeric (a pinch each), salt to taste, 2 tbsp coconut gratings, 1 onion (chopped, optional), oil for deep frying.

Method: Soak horse gram and Bengal gram dal for 8-10 hours; drain and grind to a coarse paste with rest of the ingredients (minus onion), without adding water. Add onion and mix well. Heat oil; take a lemon-sized ball and flatten slightly and deep fry, till golden and crisp; drain and serve hot with any chutney or tomato sauce. For a variation, these vadas could be used as koftas — or served soaked in rasam.

Greens & grams sambar

Ingredients: 1 cup masoor dal, greens (amaranth or dantu soppu), 2 cups palak or drumstick leaves or methi (chopped & cooked), ¼ cup field beans (fresh or dry; if dry, soak & use; mixed & soaked), 1 tbsp each of cow peas, groundnuts and whole gram, 2 tbsp tamarind pulp, 2 tsp jaggery powder, ¼ tsp turmeric, salt to taste, 2 tbsp sambar powder. (Grind all the above to a paste), 2 tbsp coconut gratings, a few curry leaves, 2 tbsp cooked field beans, a pinch of asafoetida.

Seasoning: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 pieces of red chilli.
Method: Soak field beans, ground nuts and gram overnight. Pressure cook with salt and add a teaspoon of oil, till it is soft. Cook masoor dal separately in a pressure cooker; mash the dals well; mix the cooked greens, pulses, add tamarind pulp, salt, jaggery powder and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Now add the ground paste, sambar powder and bring to a boil slowly; simmer for 2-3 minutes, till it is well-blended and a fine aroma develops. Season and pour over sambar. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Pushti roti

Serves 6

Ingredients: ½ cup each of wheat flour, soya flour, green gram flour and rice flour, 1 tsp jeera, salt to taste, a few coriander leaves (chopped) (Grind all the above to a coarse paste), 2 tbsp coconut gratings, ¼ cup cooked field beans, 2 green chillies, oil for shallow frying.

Method: Mix all the flours together with salt and jeera. Add the rest of the ingredients and make into a soft dough. Take lemon-sized balls and roll out into 1⁄8” thick and 5” diameter rounds and shallow fry on a hot tava, with a teaspoon of oil around, till they turn brown. Serve hot with a blob of butter or a dash of ghee and sprouted horse gram usali or any chutney or curd.

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