Sarojini and Rao's
South Indian
Cooking Lessons

Lesson 5:
PULUSU ( Sweet and Sour Gravy )
RAVA KESARI (Cream of Wheat Pudding )

This is the 5th of the series on South Indian vegetarian recipes. Here again we are giving meal ideas. We are also giving a recipe for a desert.
1. PAPPU (Dal) -PULUSU ( Sweet and Sour Gravy )

Although this is given under one head, they are two separate items, the dal and pulusu. They should be cooked separately. Both have to be taken with cooked rice.

PAPPU ( Dal )


Toor dal - 1 cup
Salt - 1\2 tea spoon
Termaric powder - 1 pinch


Fry Toor dal without oil on low fire and when it turns light brown add 2 cups of water and the pinch of termaric powder. Ensure that the dal doesnot become black while frying by stirring it occasionally. When the Dal is fully cooked, i.e. when it becomes soft, add 1\2 tea spoon salt and stir. Remove from fire. This will be soft and dry. Not liquidy.



Sweet potatoes ( Big size ) - 2
Butter nut squash ( small size) - 1 ( or a small pumpkin )
Tamcon *( concentrated tamarind juice) - 1 cup
Salt - 1 tea spoon
PULUSU PODI - 1 tea spoon
Grated jaggery or brown sugar - 2 table spoons
Rice flour 1 table spoon Green chilis - 2
Red chilis - 4
Mustard seeds - 1\4 tea spoon
Methi ( fenugreek seeds ) - 1\4 tea spoon
Urad dal - 1\2 tea spoon
Sun flower oil - 2 table spoons
Curry leaves - 4 or 5
Coriander leaves ( cut ) - 2 table spoons
Turmeric powder* - 1 pinch

*See Ramesh's posting of Indian spice powder recipes

( * If Tamcon is not available soak 1\2 cup of tamarind pulp in 1\2 cup of water for 1 hour and take the extract, discarding the pulp)

You can add any other vegetables like okra, carrots etc. if you like.


Cut sweet potatoes into 1\4 in.thick round slices and the butter nut squash or pumpkin into medium size pieces. Remove the skin of butter nut squash or pumpkin. Don't remove the skin of sweet potato. Wash the cut pieces. Boil the vegetable pieces in 2 cups of water . Add 1 pinch of termaric powder and 1 tea spoon of salt , green chili pieces , curry leaves to the boiling vegetables. When they are half boiled add 1 cup of thick tamarind juice, 1 tea spoon of PULUSU PODI 2 table spoons of grated jaggery or brown sugar, 1 table spoon of rice flour mixed in little water. Stir well while adding these ingredients so that they mix well. It is most important to keep the fire low always. While these are boiling, fry separately 1\4 tea spoon Methi seeds , 1\4 tea spoon mustard seeds, 1\2 tea spoon urad dal, red chili pieces in 2 table spoons of sun flower oil on low fire. When they turn brown, add them to the boiling vegetables. Cook for half an hour on low fire. Add coriander leaves before removing the gravy from fire. The Pulusu is ready. Mix dal and Pulusu in cooked rice and have a delicious meal. If you like it more sweet add jaggery and salt to your taste.

2.RAVA KESARI (Cream of Wheat Pudding )

This is a desert suggestion. But this can be made any time and can be taken at tea time or bed time even.


Cream of wheat - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee* ( clarified butter ) - 1\2 cup
Split Cashew nuts ( unsalted & unfried) - 10 no
Raisins - 15 no
Saffron powder - 1 pinch
Cardamom - 1 pinch

( If you do not get Ghee, you can make it. Melt unsalted butter on low fire. When butter is melted and heated, all the moisture will evaporate and the milk solids are separated from the butter fat. A golden colured liquid is formed. This is ghee, It will not get rancid and will remain for months unrefrigerated).


Fry 1 cup cream of wheat in 1 table spoon ghee on low fire till it turns light brown. Remove from fire and keep separately. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins in 1 table spoon ghee on low fire. When the cashews turn light brown, remove from fire and keep separately. Add 1 cup of water in 1 cup of milk and boil. When it starts boiling add the fried cream of wheat slowly all the time stirring well. When the cream of wheat is cooked fully add 1 cup of sugar and the remaining ghee. Cook for 15 minutes on low fire, continuously stirring. Add saffron powder mixed in 1 tea spoon of milk, cardamom powder, cashew nuts and raisins. Mix well and remove from fire. The Rava Kesari is ready.

Most of the recipes we gave are not generally found on the Menu cards of most Indian Restuarants. Nor do you find them in the cook books. But these are cooked daily in thousands of South Indian houses. We hope you enjoyed these recipes.

This is the last of our series on meal suggestions for now.

" Sarojini & Rao * Bon Apetit. Posted by: Ashok Erramilli

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