Pesaru Garelu & a Mini Thali

Last month was my mother-in-law’s death anniversary ceremony and I had prepared a mini thali. When I cooked the meal that day, this week’s theme was not on my mind, though the blog was. Since I cooked so many items, I also wanted to utilize that cooking for the blog as well. Everything on that day’s menu was already on the blog except pesaru garelu ~ moong dal vada. So, I noted down the ingredient measurements for the garelu and also made a rough draft for the garelu which could be used at a later time. However, everything doesn’t go as planned and I could not take pictures of the garelu that day and I also could not take pictures of the meal with my DSRL camera.

Telugu Thali, Thali from the Telangana State, Indian Food, South Indian Food, Indian Food, Indian Cuisine, South Indian Cuisine, Telugu Cuisine, Telugu Food

My theme for this week is meal ideas. It could be a one pot meal, combo meal or any combination that makes a meal complete. When I signed up, I had one pot meals on mind and later that changed to my everyday dinner menu. Couple of weeks ago when I saw Sandhya’s lunch menus and Rajani’s thali, I was tempted to do one as well.

Pesaru Vada, Moong Dal Vada, Pesaru Garelu, Mong Dal garelu, Mung Dal Vada, South Indian Food, Indian Food, Breakfast, Snack, Blogging Marathon,

As I was browsing through my iPhone photos, I came across the thali pictures I took a month ago. That got me thinking. Instead of cooking a thali again, I could use that picture, give the links to the recipes on the menu and share the recipe of garelu as well. This way I can do a thali and also comply with the rules for this theme. The thali picture at the beginning of the post is the Instagram picture showing all the items I prepared that day, which is a complete special occasional meal.

Pesaru Vada, Moong Dal Vada, Pesaru Garelu, Mong Dal garelu, Mung Dal Vada, South Indian Food, Indian Food, Breakfast, Snack, Blogging Marathon,

Since the garelu were the only item on that menu that has not been update on this space, I made them again day before yesterday to take some pictures. Remember, I had already made rough draft a month ago but could not take pictures! I considered splitting this post to two, one for today with the thali and a separate post for a later day with the garelu recipe. Eventually decided to do one post instead.

Pesaru Vada, Moong Dal Vada, Pesaru Garelu, Mong Dal garelu, Mung Dal Vada, South Indian Food, Indian Food, Breakfast, Snack, Blogging Marathon,

Pesaru garelu or vada is one of the common preparations in the region I hail from, in fact these are prepared more often than the urad dal vada. Pesaru garelu are prepared for breakfast, for an evening snack, on special occasions and for festivals as well. It is usually served with homemade butter and I tell you, that is one of the best combinations I have ever tasted. I think these garelu are so common as these do not require any accompaniments to serve it with. These can be served as it is or with some butter. The texture of the garelu depends on how smooth the dal is ground to and usually it is kept coarse to give it some crunch. The garelu in the thali are covered with butter but if looked closely, those garelu have smoother texture than the ones in other pictures. That day, I had ground the dal to almost smooth paste unlike couple of days ago. Garelu came out really well both times and depending on one’s preference, dal can be ground accordingly.

Pesaru Vada, Moong Dal Vada, Pesaru Garelu, Mong Dal garelu, Mung Dal Vada, South Indian Food, Indian Food, Breakfast, Snack, Blogging Marathon,

Thali has:
Pesaru Garelu – Recipe follows
White Rice
Nimmakaya Pulihora – here
Royyala Kura – here
Mushroom Bell Pepper Kura – here. This is the fifth recipe on the blog and I really need to update the pictures. 🙂
Tomato Potato Lima Beans Shorva – here. Follow the recipe and add potatoes as well
Semiya Payasam – here
Homemade Yogurt

Pesaru Garelu Recipe:
Yields: 12 (depends on the size and I usually tend to make small garelu)


  • 1 cup Split Moong (the one with skin but moong dal can also be used)
  • 6 Green Chilies
  • 1 tbsp. chopped Ginger
  • ¾ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped Onion
  • 1 Scallion chopped
  • ½ cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Methi ~ Fenugreek Leaves (opt)
  • 4-6 Curry Leaves, chopped (opt)
  • Spinach Leaves chopped (I did not use it and it is optional)
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 1 – 2 tsp. Coriander Powder (I did not use it)
  • Oil for deep frying


  • Soak split moong in water for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • Wash the moong and discard most of the skin. If moong is well soaked, the skin will peel off from split moong when rubbed between fingers. I discarded ⅔ – ¾ of the skin.
  • Transfer moong to a colander or a strainer and let the water drain.
  • Meantime, grind together chilies, ginger, salt and cumin seeds. Onions can also be ground but I forgot and used chopped onion instead. This step is optional. These can be ground with moong dal as well but to get a fine paste, I usually tend to grind these separately in a mini grinder.
  • Transfer ground paste to a food processor or a blender. I would recommend a food processor for garelu or vada as it would not require too much water when grinding. Then add washed and drained moong dal, keeping aside ¼ – ⅓ cup of dal.
  • Grind everything to a paste. It need not be a smooth paste. If necessary, add about 1 – 2 tbsp water and no more than that. I used 1 tbsp. water. Also, if onion is ground, water is not required and moisture from ground onion is sufficient to grind the dal.
  • Transfer ground dal to a bowl, add chopped onion (if not used in previous step), scallion, cilantro, methi leaves, spinach if using, and chili powder. Add the moong dal that was kept aside and mix well.
  • Taste the dal mixture and adjust chili powder and salt to taste.
  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
  • Take a Ziploc bag and place small lime sized dal mixture on it. Press it into a disc using fingers and make a hole in the middle using the index finger.
  • When oil is hot, gradually drop the garele in oil. 4 – 5 garelu can be deep fried at a time, depending on the size of the pan.
  • Deep fry on medium to medium high heat until garelu are light brown and cooked inside.
  • Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Repeat the process with rest of the dal mixture.
  • Serve garelu with butter.


  • Green Chilies – Only green chilies can be used. If using only green chilies add more chilies and do not add chili powder.
  • Onion – ground onion paste or chopped onion or ½ ground and ½ chopped onions can be used. I prefer chopped onions or a combination of ground onion paste and chopped onions.
  • Dal – I used split moong with skin but regular yellow moong dal can also be used. Whole moong can also be used though that needs to be soaked for at least 24 hours.
  • Substitute – Bobbarulu or black eyed peas can be used instead of moong dal.

This day in 2012: Chocolate Popcorn

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#61

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