Friday, March 27, 2009

Ugadi – A New Beginning!!!

“Yuga YugAdi KaLedaru,
YugAdi MaraLi Baruthide
Hosa Varushake, Hosa Harushava
Hosathu Hosathu Tarutide..."

This is part of a famous kannada song of Yugadi by D.R. Bendre (1 of the Jnanapeeth Award winning kannada poet). Meaning of the song is something like this…. “Ages after ages, Yugadi keeps on coming…bringing with it new joy of the New Year…”

Ugadi = Yuga (era) + aadi (beginning), the beginning of an era. The festival marks the New Year day for the people of southern India. Also I think the arrival of spring with new life in flowers-fruits in some way symbolically marks the beginning of existence.

If I remember back home, Ugadi starts with the shopping season much before the actual day of the festival – people throng to markets to buy new clothes, flowers, and sweets and of course home appliances on sale, attractive advts and offers…really captivating!

Ugadi is celebrated as a family event jointly at mom’s place –> all my uncle-aunt’s families get together @ our place to celebrate the festival.
On the actual day of the festival, my aunt used to start off with the main door decorated with fresh mango leaves + neem leaves tied as string (thorana) and the front yards decorated with adorable colorful rangolis (row of colours drawn with finely ground white powder or some colors). Then comes the Abhyanga, where my sis and myself would have been given strict instructions the previsous day itself by my dad to wakeup early in the morning and finish off with a well oiled hair wash and be ready for the Pooja. (We both managed to please our dad :d). Meanwhile the Pooja room’s shining black granite floor would be wiped, rangolied, with all the pooja items arranged for my dad to start off the Pooja. On Ugadi the ‘Panchanga’ (religious almanac) is also kept along with other Gods and worshiped. I remember my dad used to do the pooja with his reference book beside, stumbling on verses and my proud granny being the only spectator of her son and daughter–in-law. Bet you she had all the zeal to stand there and watch the ‘devarapooje’ for almost 1hour and also help my mom in the cooking even at the age of 80. A silver thali with 5 small silver cups consisting of Panchamrata i.e the milk- banana-sugar- honey-mosaru-, 5 varities of fruits, coconut along with its water and the key item of the day i.e. the combo of beevu-bella (literally means neem-jaggery, the combo wud comprise of tender leaves-flowers of neem and jaggery) would be ready for Naivedyam.

‘Bevu(bitterness)+bella(sweetness)’ mixture signifies the fact that our life is a combination of happy and sorrow events and both should be accepted equally. Later during the day this mixture is offered to the known acquaintances.
I simply loved this scene of our Pooja Room with dazzling deepas (lamps) + colorful rangolis and the smell of jasmine flowers.

After the Gods Naivedyam comes our Naivedyam :-p. As my dad gives a finishing touches to the pooja my mom equally would be ready with ‘Habbada Oota’ i.e. the festival food, with a popular menu followed in Karnataka i.e kosambri, bisibelebath, Gasagase payasa (khus khus), hoLige, ambode…to name a few.

In the Evening Panchanga Shravana or listening to the Hindu astrological calendar (yearly calendar) is also an important event of the day. Typically, this happens in a temple with an elderly person or a well-learned scholar refers to the Panchanga pertaining to the coming year (this year it is ‘Virodhi’ samvatsara) and makes a general blessing to all the people present in the gathering. This evokes a scenario where we all used to be infront of the ‘idiot box’ for my granny to pass a standard dialogue: lately with changing times, advent of TV has made people to just switch it on to watch the broadcast of ‘Panchanga Shravana’ recitation at the comfort of their homes :d

Ugadi celebrations also include literary discussions, poetry recitations and also authors being recognized with awards that are conducted at various cultural halls. The best was ‘Harate mallara haasyotsava’ (a humor program televised) munching on hot hot ambodes with tea in the evening Yuuuummmmyyyy :)!

For me now in UK, becomes a vital part, as I would have to inculcate our Indian tradition and culture in my son – it makes me more vigilant and custom bound :). So we did try making the scene something similar to the one mentioned above with the available resources but I think we would be infront of ‘Youtube’ for ‘Panchanga Shravana’ rather than Television ;) {Wish my granny was here to dialogue on this too}

Here goes the recipe for one of the key sweet dishes on this occasion BeLe HoLige or Pooran Poli /Obbattu / Bobbattu in different languages. The recipe I am giving below makes around 20 holiges.

The Making of the HoLige begins with preparing the Hoorna i.e the stuffing
You will need
Togari beLe/Toor dal – 1 ¼ Cup
Kadale beLe/ Chana dal – ¾ Cup
Grated Jaggery – 2 Cups
Cardomom powder – ½ tspn
Water – 4 Cups

  • Pressure cook both the lentils with water till they are soft. Once the pressure is released, the broth is removed and kept aside. (you can use this broth to make‘hoorna da saaru’ – a nutritious soup)
  • Add Jaggery to the cooked lentils and mix well and bring it to boil on a low-medium heat.
  • Now further cook till the mixture thickens and comes to a halwa consistency on low heat as shown in the fig ( you can note that the sides of the vessel starts drying). Make sure you stir the mixture in between as it might catch the bottom.
  • Next blend cardomom powder to get the additioanl aroma, this constitutes the hoorna.
    Take off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Then the stuffing is sieved through a steel utensil made specifically for Hoorna to achieve a smoother consistency. Here I generally grind it in a mixie or a food processor due to the unavailability of the tool.

    Next comes preparing the KaNaka i.e the dough
    You will need
    All purpose flour/ Maida – 1 ½ Cup
    Wheat flour – ½ Cup
    Pinch of salt
    Turmeric – ¼ tspn
    Oil – 2Tbspn for mixing and ½ cup for soaking the kanaka

  • Mix and knead all the ingredients with water to make a smooth dough which is slightly softer than the chapathi dough. Leave this soaked in oil for a few hours.
  • Keep kneading the dough in between to make it more stretchy. It should be stretchy because HoLige tastes best when the kaNaka(dough) is really thin just to hold the hoorna(stuffing) together, which I feel is the most difficult part.

    Now with both hoorna(stuffing) and the kaNaka(dough) HoLige can ge rolled out
  • Take a small amount of kanaka and pat it to a medium sized circle on your palm.
  • Place a golf ball size of the hoorna at the centre of this dough and wrap around the hoorna to make a ball ( something similar to what we do for alu paratas) & make sure to close the tip well.
  • Gently pat to flatten it, then using a rolling pin roll carefully into a large, thin circular pancake shape ( Here I have used 2 thick greased plastic sheets to easen the task – keep the patties in between the sheets and roll it as shown in the fig below).
  • Meanwhile keep a griddle on medium heat. Transfer the rolled pancake over the hot griddle while reducing the heat to low. Roast it with some ghee, turn over and apply some more ghee. Repeat this till they are golden brownish in color giving out a nice aroma.
  • HoLige is ready to be eaten now.

    These HoLiges can be refrigerated in a air tight container and stored upto 1week or 10days.

    Tip : HoLige turns out best when rolled on a greased plantain leaf (baaLe ele). The Plantain leaf is then inverted on the hot griddle, the hoLige tends to adhere to the griddle as it is hot. Using a spatula one of the edge of the hoLige is detained on the griddle, while the plantain leaf is peeled away by hand. This leaves the hoLige on the griddle and thereafter the same procedure is followed as mentioned above.
    If the HoLiges are refrigerated they might slightly become firm, then you can microwave it for 5-10secs & top it with ghee just before serving.

    Serving Suggestions : HoLige itself is quite sweet and often eaten as such. If you want to eat/serve it in a ‘maduve mane ootada’ style (wedding meal stlyle), then top it with a spoonful of ghee and a cup of warm milk.
    Some prefer to eat hoLige with ‘mavina haNNina seekarne’ (squeezed mango pulp+milk+cardomom powder).
    People with sweet tooth can top it with some castor sugar and warm milk.

    Whether you celebrate Ugadi or not try out new dishes and let Ugadi bring joy and fame to you all!!

    Ugadi Shubhashayagalu! Wishing you all a very happy Ugadi and a bright year ahead!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kosambri or Salad

Typical definition of a Kosambri is a salad made from Bengal gram (kadale beLe) and split Mung bean (hesaru beLe) with some seasoning of mustard seeds + green chilies and garnished with coconut + cilantro +lemon. This is prepared on every auspicious occasion and served primarily before all other dishes.

You can also make kosambri with grated raw vegetables (you can either mix vegetables and lentils or just make it with raw vegetables). Perhaps that’s how it became famous as Indian Salad.
Today’s salad would be Carrot Kosambri, VitA veggie. Carrot kosambri being 1 of my favorites used to be a frequent dish accompanied with anna + tomato saaru (rice+ tomato rasam) @ mom’s place & I adore this combo till date. Probably that was the first dish that I learnt as a student and boasted off my cooking skills ;)…. gradually I realized that carrot kosambri was one of the easiest and fastest dish one could make: -p. And now it’s become our preferred salad during the week/ some quick Indian salad for parties/ after a long tiring journey or just a sudden snacking :)!!!
Here goes the ingredients and procedure for making Carrot Kosambri.

You Need:
Grated Carrot – 1 Cup
Grated coconut – 4 Tbspn
Cilantro – 2 Tbspn
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste

For seasoning
Oil – 1 Tbspn
Mustard Seeds – ½ tspn
Split chickpeas OR Kadale beLe/ Chana dal – 1tspn
Black gram OR Uddina beLe/ Urad dal – 1tspn
Pinch of Turmeric
Pinch of Asafetida
Curry Leaves chopped – 1tspn
Green Chilies – 1 (u can adjust according to your spice requirement)


  • Take grated carrot in a big bowl.
  • Heat oil in a kadai or pan. To this add mustard seeds, allow it to splutter then add split chickpeas, black gram, turmeric, and asafetida and lastly add curry leaves and green chilies. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  • Add this seasoning to the grated carrot; mix well with some salt and grated coconut.
  • You can give finishing touches with a dash of lemon juice and lots of Cilantro.
    Carrot kosambri is ready to be relished. Yep it was as fast as u read this procedure….go on
    Note: The above picture that I have posted has both the traditional kosambris and the carrot kosambri.

    Serving Suggestions: You can serve as a salad or a side dish with phulkas/chapattis. Tastes best with rice and rasam combo.

    You can replace grated carrot with grated beetroot, sweet corn kernels or finely chopped cucumber.
    Try replacing grated coconut with coarsely crushed putani or hurgadle to get a crunchy effect.
    Few of them like to mix pre soaked and drained lentils to the veggies to increase the nutritional value.

    Hope you all like this simple nourishing recipe. Looking forward to welcome the ‘Hosa Varusha’ (New year) with more and more delectable recipes and memories :)!
    Till then have a Gr8 week ahead.

This dish has been submitted in the Durga Puja Food Festival which you can reach by clicking here

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sandige Huli/Lentil dumplings in tangy gravy

Sandige huLi reminds me of my cousin’s wedding held in Bangalore recently. The excitement of all cousins getting together under one roof after many days was a good feeling :). Coming from a family with traditional values, was lucky to get a glimpse of conventional kannadiga wedding with a deliciously mouthwatering vegetarian dishes :)! {highlight of the wedding:-p}.

Sandige here refers to dumplings and huLi means a spicy lentil preparation. Sandige huLi typically is prepared on the Devara Samaradhane or Naandi Day (Custom followed to ensure the Blessings of God so that the marriage takes place without any interruptions) of the wedding ceremony. Still many families do follow the authentic dishes being prepared and served during particular occasions like the one I have mentioned above.

Here let me try and explain the scene of our Maduve mane oota (wedding meal)….

A traditional Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) comprises of the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf : 2 types of Kosambari ( protein rich salad), Pickle, 2Palya( vegetables), Gojju(vegetable or fruit preparation with some tamarind and palm sugar and some spice), Raita, Payasa (Kheer), Thovve (yellow dal), Chitranna (lemon rice), Uddina Happala (urad dal papad) Rice and Ghee. After serving the Ghee one may start your meal. Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert i.e Paaysa.
Next follows the series of soup like dishes such as Saaru (widely known as rasam), Majjige Huli(vegetable preparation with yogurt and chana dal), sandige huli (lenthil dumplings in tangy gravy) which is eaten with hot rice. Gojju or raita is served next; two or three desserts are served; fried dishes such as Aambode( fried dal item) or Bonda are served next. The meal ends with a serving of curd rice.

Well…am sure you guys must be drooling hehehe…will try and give you a few of our maduve mane (wedding meal) recipes of my version during the coming weeks. My cooking also would be experimental and may not be as perfect as our professional adige avaru i.e the cook :-p. Now the first recipe from me would be Sandige huLi ( lentil dumplings in a tangy gravy) again recipe I got googling my mom :d

For making the sandige (dumplings) : Makes around 15 dumplings depending on the size

Togari beLe/ Toor dal – ¾ cup
KadaLe beLe/Chana dal – 3/4cup {** ¼ cup of both the dals together would be used for the gojju or tangy gravy}
Fresh grated coconut – ¼ cup
Asafetida – pinch
Curry leaves – 4 strands of leaves
Cilantro – ¼ cup
Green Chillies – 3 to 4 ( medium spice)
Ginger – 1tbspn
Salt to taste

For making the Gojju/ tangy gravy

Tamarind – ½ cup of raw tamarind ( extract the juice by soaking in water)
Palm Sugar – ¾ to 1cup ( depending on the tanginess of the tamarind)
Fresh grated coconut –½ cup for the gojju
Mustard seeds – ¼ tspn
Asafetida – pinch
Cilantro – ¼ cup
Dried red Chillies – 4 to 5 (medium spice)
Togari beLe + kadaLe beLe – ¼ cup **
Salt to taste

For Tempering

Oil – 4tspns
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tspn
Pinch of asafetida


Making of Dumplings :
  • Soak togari beLe (toor dal) and kadaLe beLe (chana dal) for 3hours. Later drain the water and keep aside. {** here remember to save ¼ cup of lentil for gojju/tangy gravy}.
  • Grind together both the lentils with green chillies, freshly grated coconut, cilantro, ginger, asafetida and salt to a slightly coarse paste. Note that no water should be added to grind the mixture.
  • Shape this paste into round dumplings and keep aside.

Making Of Gojju/tangy gravy:

  • Grind the lentils kept aside earlier along with dried red chillies, mustard seeds, freshly grated coconut, cilantro, asafetida and salt to a fine paste.
  • Mix this paste into the extracted tamarind juice. To this add palm sugar and salt.
  • Now bring this gravy to boil on low-medium flame. You can add little water if required.
  • Later on reduce the heat to low and add the prepared dumplings to this gravy slowly. The dumplings settle at the bottom as you drop them.
  • Let the dumplings be cooked well. (Note that when the dumplings are cooked they tend to float up – this is the indication that they are cooked).
  • Once this is done, heat oil in a pan and make tempering with mustard seeds and asafetida and add it to the Sandige huLi/ lentil dumplings in tangy gravy.
  • Now the Sandige huLi/ lentil dumplings in tangy gravy is ready to be served with hot rice and home made ghee :).

    Hope the method is clear and created a scene of Maduve Mane Oota yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmyyyyyyyy……..though for me here Sandige huLi tasted gr8 on porcelain plates over BaaLe Ele i.e the banana leaf.
    Not to forget that again it’s a wholesome meal with high levels of protiens which makes a well balanced human food!!
    Ciao again with another variety next week…Have a cheerful weekend :)!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hesaru KaaLu Soppina Palya

The common thing in the Cuisine of four southern states of india is the ‘Rice’ as the staple food. Rice eaten with lenthil, use of dried red chillies, green chilies, fresh coconut, tamarind are quite similar in these states. It might just differ in the spiciness of the food.

Karnataka food is considered to be mildest of the lot. Usage of palm sugar is high when compared to red chillies. Majority of them are vegeterians in Karnataka thus benefit Vegans from every meal of the day :)!

Soppu in kannada means leafy vegetable. Under this comes a wide range like menthya soppu, dantina soppu, sabsige soppu, kotambri soppu etc. Hesaru kaaLu in kannada means green gram or mung bean. So together compounds to HesarukaaLu – Soppina Palya.

Leafy vegetables are naturally low in fat, high in protein, fiber, iron and calcium. Along with this green gram or mung bean forms a good combination for a healthy vegetable side dish what we call as Palya in kannada.

Typically this palya is made with dantina soppu {which is known as Amaranthus in English, thandukkeerai or cerikkirai in Tamil and Thotakoora in telgu} with loads of coconut, huli pudi (something similar to sambar powder), palm sugar.

Yes this recipe again downloaded from my mom’s dairy :-p. But here I deviate from dantu to Spinach ( due to unavailability) and coconut to some onions + tomatoes though I stick to huli pudi and palm sugar (here palm sugar is optional but this is 1 of my desired ingredients that u can find in almost all of my typical recipes :-p)

You can serve this as per your taste either with rice or with chapatis.
Here goes the recipe..

Spinach – 1 Pkt ( I use the one we get here in pkts which is around 300gms)
Hesaru kaalu/ Mung bean – ½ Cup
Onions finely chopped – 1medium size
Tomatoes finely chopped – 1 medium size
Salt as per taste
Palm Sugar – 1tspn
Huli Pudi or you can replace with Sambar powder – 2tspn ( u can adjust according to your taste)
Ginger grated– 1tspn
Mustard seeds – ½ tspn
Cumin seeds – ½ tspn
Turmeric – ¼ tspn
Pinch of asafetida
Oil – 1Tbspn


  • Wash and chop the Spinach finely. Heat oil in a pan on high heat, add mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter and then add cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric, and asafetida.
  • Now add chopped onions and fry on low-medium heat for sometime.
  • To this add the hesaru kaaLu/ mung bean and add around 1-2cups of water, cover and cook on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally; add some more water if required and cook until the beans are well done. This might take about 15-20min.
  • Then add chopped spinach and mix well.
  • To this add salt, huli pudi or sambar powder, and palm sugar; mix well and cook.
  • Lastly add chopped tomatoes and further cook for a minute and take off the heat to give a dash of lemon.

    Traditional cooking involves cooking the mung bean and spinach with rest of the ingredients and then adding freshly grated coconut at the end.

    Hope you all like this recipe. Do let me know the results after you guys try out – any variations in the recipes are also welcome :)!
    Ciao next week again, Happy Weekend and lucky us we have a long weekend ;)!!
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