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Vaala Cha Birda

The word "birda" is a Marathi word for curries made out of soaked lentils. This curry is a trademark of Marathi cuisine.

Preparing the vaal

  1. Take 1 cup of "vaal". Put the vaal  in a bowl and cover with twice the amount of water. Swirl thoroughly and pour off all the floating debris and stray grains. Catch the rest in a colander. If the water is very dirty, repeat the procedure. Soak the vaal over night in 5 cups of room temperature water. 
  2. Remove all the water the next morning and wrap the soaked vaal in a damp cloth all day. The vaal will have sprouted. 
  3. The next morning soak them in another 5 cups of room temperature water for half an hour. The skins of the sprouted vaal will loosen. Now remove from the water and start removing the skins from the vaal. You woll end up with 2 cups of soaked and peeled "vaal".

This is a tedious process but one that will bring joy to a Marathi Cuisine connoisseur. 

2 cups Vaal, soaked and peeled
4 Onions chopped finely
6-7  Curry leaves
2 Green chilies
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Red chili powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Coriander powder
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds 
1 teaspoon Black mustard seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida powder
2 teaspoons Jaggery
1 teaspoon Tamarind pulp ( Use Tamarind Powder, if unvailable)
1/2 cup Coconut milk
As per taste Salt
1 tablespoon Oil

 Soak the tamarind in about 2 tbsp of hot water to make a pulp. Heat a little oil in a pot and add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and asafoetida. Add the vaal, and sauté for about 2 minutes to rid them of their slightly bitter taste. Now add the onions. Sauté and cook till the onions become colorless. 

Now, Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, the cumin and coriander powder, curry leaves, green chillies, and stir well. Add water and turn the heat down to medium high and cook until the vaal is tender. Then add jaggery, tamarind pulp,  coconut and salt to taste.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with chapatti or rice.


  • Soaking lentils shorten the cooking time and also reduce the gas-producing effects. 
  • Also do not add the coconut before the vaal is cooked as adding the coconut will stop the cooking process. 
  • To make this recipe cholesterol free do not add the coconut milk, but increase the amount of onions to 6 onions make a wonderful gravy. 


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