It’s amusing to see the importance given to this one-spice curry. It is the first solid food fed to babies, especially in south Indian homes. It is also the first course at weddings and special religious functions, where it is ladled over steamed rice mounded on lush banana leaves. “Simply flavorful,” my dear friend and fellow cookbook author Mary Evans stated at lunch one day. It reminded her of the split pea soup with ham hock from her childhood, even though this curry has no meat in it.