Preparation / Directions:
Soak the lentils and chiles in water for 2 to 3 hours. Drain. Place dal and chiles in a electric blender or food processor. Add salt to taste and asafoetida powder. Blend ingredients to a thick paste.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan or skillet. Add a few curry leaves and the ground paste. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and shape mixture into small balls. Place the dumplings on an idli stand or steamer. Steam in a pressure cooker (without the weight) for about 10 minutes, or in a saucepan for about 20 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Add to sambar 10 minutes before simmering is completed.
"Dakshin, Vegetarian Cuisine from South India," by Chandra Padmanabhan, 1994