City Food – Julia Child Makes Tomato Pappu in Dwarka
The great chef’s life in Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Meet the Julia Child of Dwarka, an expansive settlement of residential apartments, bleak-looking malls and many many metro stations. In her 30s, Ruchira Hoon lives with her husband, Snehesh Philip, at a book-lined house in Sector 7 — most books are on food. “I bond with food. Deeply. Emotionally. I like to chop, stir, cook and bake. And then I like to share… If you can’t share what you enjoy the most, well then you’re just a stingy-poo. I ain’t one. I like to feed people,” writes Ms Hoon in her food blog Cookaroo. She started it in February 2012 at a time “when I was depressed and didn’t know where my life was heading.” Here is the recipe of Ms Hoon’s ‘Tomato Pappu’.
Tomato Pappu is my earliest recollection of my mother’s cooking. I have to admit, however, that Mom is not one of the world’s best cooks. (She compensates that liability by being a professionally trained Bharatnatayam dancer). Pappu is a one-pot meal dish from Andhra Pradesh but I make it in the style of Tamil Nadu’s Aiyengar Brahmins. You see my mother is a Tamil Brahmin from Mysore and my papa is an Arya Samaji Punjabi from Lahore. The Andhra-style pappu is very hot but ours is a little sweet. We eat it with rice.
Tomato Pappu (for three)
1 cup arahar/tuvar daal
3 green chilies
1 small piece tamarind
1 small piece jaggery
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tblsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
pinch of asofetida
(For dry powder)
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 red chilli dry
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
Soak the arhar daal in water for a few minutes and then boil it in a pressure cooker.
Meanwhile dry roast the coriander, dry red chilli and the methi seeds in a pan. Keep it aside.
Cut the tomatoes into cubes.
Soak tamarind in warm water.
Heat oil in a pan; add mustard seeds, followed by curry leaves and asofetida seeds.
Add tomatoes and stir fry for a few minutes. Add green chilies, turmeric powder and salt.
Add the tamarind water, a little jaggery and the dry powder that you had kept aside.
Cook till tomatoes are pulpy – about 15 minutes.
Add the boiled arhar daal and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with white rice, ghee and green chillies.
The making of tomato pappu