Tamil Nadu is famous for the Paruppu Urundai Kulambu, which is steamed dhal balls cooked in a savoury curry. My mother had a recipe using Bengal gram dhal for the balls, but the curry she had suggested was very vague. When I prepared her recipe at home, it was not popular and we also had attacks of flatulence. In my eternal search for recipes, I found many using either red gram dhal or a combination of the two dhals. I chose to use only red gram dhal because it is the least digestively offensive. The curry that I have used is a combination of ideas taken from several recipes.
Kootanchoru is a speciality of Thirunelveli cooking. In feudal times the labourers/workers were paid in kind i.e., rice, dhal, and whatever vegetables were grown in the farm. All these were cooked together to form a one-dish meal (kootu – everything together; choru – rice). Later on the landowners added groundnuts and maybe other pulses which were available to make it rich. Kootanchoru is not a vegetable fried rice. The rice, dhal, and vegetables are all cooked together and the dish must be soggy and mushy. It is usually served with pickle and fried appalam; the crisp appalam is a wonderful contrast to the soggy rice.