Green pea and coconut dumplings in Gujarati lentil curry

Green pea and coconut dumplings in Gujarati lentil curry

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

I was introduced to this delicious sweet-and-sour lentil dish at a friend’s house in Mumbai. It quickly became a firm favourite and they made it for me every trip. Here, I have added dumplings with a vibrant pea and coconut filling to freshen the lentils and make it more elegant, but you can leave them out and just add some diamond-shaped pieces of roti to the lentils, or even leave the lentils as they are. This quite soupy dish is normally served as a stand-alone meal. Cocum is a fruit that grows on tropical trees in parts of India; the dark purple flesh is dried. It adds a lovely sourness and tastes absolutely delicious. If you don’t have any, balance the sourness to taste with the tamarind.


Quantity Ingredient

For the lentil curry

Quantity Ingredient
200g split pigeon peas, well washed
salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 large-ish tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons jaggery or brown sugar, or to taste
15g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed, (optional)
8 dried cocum, soaked, (optional)
2 tablespoons ghee
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
4 cloves
7.5cm cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon mustard and cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in a little hot water, or to taste

For the dough

Quantity Ingredient
65g chapati flour, plus more to dust
1/4 teaspoon turmeric and carom seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
130g frozen peas
1 rounded teaspoon ghee
1/3 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 rounded tablespoons desiccated coconut
10g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
small handful coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Put the pigeon peas in a saucepan and pour in enough water to cover by 5 cm. Bring to the boil, then add salt and the turmeric and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes, or until soft, skimming any scum from the surface. Using a stick blender, blend to a smooth purée.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the dough, adding 45 ml of water and a pinch of salt. Knead well until soft and elastic. Set aside, covered with a damp piece of kitchen paper.
  3. For the filling, pour boiling water over the peas and leave for five minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Put the peas into a bowl. Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they have popped, pour into the peas with the remaining filling ingredients; mash them with a fork, season to taste and set aside.
  4. Add the tomato, sugar, ginger, chilli powder, peanuts and cocum (if using) to the lentils. Then heat the ghee in a small saucepan; add the asafoetida and whole spices and, once the popping starts to subside, stir in the ground coriander and curry leaves. Cook for another two to three seconds, then pour into the lentils. Return to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make the dumplings. Roll the dough into a rope and cut into eight equal pieces. Take one and use a little extra flour to help you roll it out into a very thin 7.5 cm disc. Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling and close like a pasty, folding over and pinching the seam. Repeat with the rest.
  6. Pour enough boiling water into the lentils so they have a thin consistency. Add most of the tamarind, taste and adjust the salt, sugar and tamarind to taste. Add the dumplings to the curry and return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Serve in warmed soup bowls with two dumplings each.
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