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Khara kadabu recipe - lentil dumplings

These dumplings are an age old classic made in South India during Ganesha festival. They are vegan too! They serve as a yummy main course for lunch or dinner.

You can use a variety of greens with the lentil dumplings. Dill is usually used, but you may also add fresh mint, coriander and shredded carrot as well. Lets get to the recipe. 

Serves 4, makes about 12 dumplings


  • 2 cups chana dal, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 2-6 green chilies, as spicy as you prefer
  • Whole garam masala - 4 cloves and 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh dill/sabakshi/sabsige soppu, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander
  • Salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Coriander or mint chutney, to serve as a dip
For the tempering:
  • A spoon of ghee or oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp split urad/white dhal

  1. Soak 2 cups of chana dal in enough tepid water for 2-3 hours, This will make the lentils soft. 
  2. Reserve half a cup of whole soaked lentils. 
  3. Drain the water, add the lentils into a processor. Add cloves, cinnamon, chilies, garlic, ginger and salt. 
  4. Pulse the mixture in a food processor until it forms a crumbly dough. 
  5. In a mixing bowl, add onions, reserved whole lentils, chopped greens, and the crumbly lentil mixture. Add more salt if needed. Combine to form a dough. Set aside. 
  6. The whole lentils give nice texture to the dumplings. 
  7. Set a steamer or pressure cooker on medium heat. 
  8. Grease a bowl well with oil. Form little oval shaped dumplings by gathering a little handful of dough, Set it in the bowl. 
  9. When the water in the cooker begins to steam, place the prepare dumpling bowl. 
  10. Close the cooker and steam cook the dumplings without pressure for 20 minutes on medium heat. 
  11. While the dumplings cook, make some coriander or mint chutney. This will make a great dip for the dumplings. 
  12. Once the dumplings are coked, open the lid and let the steam cool down a bit. If your remove the dumplings right away, they will be sticky. 
  13. Once a little cool to touch, temper the dumplings. 
  14. For this, heat a saucepan on medium heat. Add ghee. As it melts, add in urad dal. As it turns light brown, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds splutter, Pour the tempering over the dumplings. Serve warm with chutney. Enjoy!

Khara kadabu recipe - lentil dumplings