This is (roughly) a Tamil recipe from a cookbook that I bought in Bangalore, called "A Cook's Tour of South India". I doubt it's available here. Fat-free-ized only by the deletion of ¼ cup of oil.
- 2 cups of small red lentils
- about 5 cups water
- 2 tsp [[black mustard seeds]
- 5 medium to large yams, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- enough water to cover the yams by about ½"
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp tamarind concentrate, blended with water so it dissolves easily in the pot (ever bite a lump of tamarind concentrate?)
- 1 tsp (or more) compounded asafoetida
- 1 tsp (optional) finely ground dried coconut
- ½ cup rice milk
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- a handful of fresh or dried curry leaves
- salt to taste
- fresh chile paste to taste
- 2 tbsp – ¼ cup chickpea (gram or besan) flour mixed with water
- Simmer the lentils in the water while you are doing everything else.
- In a separate, large pot, dry pop (like making popcorn, over medium heat) the black mustard seeds
- Add to the pot the yams, enough water to cover them, turmeric, tamarind concentrate, blended with water so it dissolves easily in the pot, asafoetida, dried coconut, microwaved with ½ cup rice milk
- Simmer yams until soft but not falling apart.
- When lentils are soft (takes about ½ hr if you got the right kind) drain off any water you can and add lentils to the yam pot.
- Stir and cook, adding more water if mixture is too thick (texture of a thick soup is good, texture of refried beans is "too thick").
- Then add cilantro, curry leaves, salt to taste, fresh chile paste, chickpea flour mixed with water and gradually thinned to avoid lumps.
- Dribble into the soup while stirring.
- The chickpea flour replaces hand-ground chickpeas or mung beans, which thicken the stew, making the sauce more "gravylike". Yum!
- Also, using the red chile paste (a violently hot Vietnamese concoction with citric acid added to fresh ground chilies) improves the taste. Yum.