Hagalakai Melara / Bitter gourd Majjige Huli :

Bittergourd always comes under the Love or Hate category. People are fond of this veggie or hate it at the core. Bitter gourd is an acquired taste. All four of us in our family love it and Bitter gourd Melara is synonymous with the Chowthi celebration at our home. As a kid, I relished Chakli dunked in this Melara, and the custom continues with my daughters.

In Mangalore, we always use pale/white bitter gourd the most,taste-wise less bitter and loved by many.

Method:

Ingredient:

Bitter gourd – 1 big

Salt- as needed.

Green chillies – 2

tamarind – one gooseberry size (soak in 1 cup of water)

To grind: Fresh Coconut – 1 ½  cup

For Seasoning: Coconut oil- 1 tablespoon, mustard – 1tsp, red chilli – 1 (optional), curry leaves- 1 spring.

Method:

-Wash the bitter gourd, slice roundels, and if seeds are hard, remove seeds.

-Boil little water, add tamarind pulp, slit green chillies, salt, and Bitter gourd roundels and cook until it is soft and perfect.

-Now, grind the coconut into a fine paste, add the paste to the cooked veggie, adjust the consistency, and boil for 2 minutes.

-Add buttermilk or beaten curd, and switch off when it starts to boil.

-Prepare seasoning, heat oil, splutter mustard, add red chilli and curry leaves, fry and pour over Melara. Serve with Rice.

The best way to have this Melara is during festivals when Chakli is made. That too Chakli immersed in a pool of bitter gourd Melara. Try this if you have not tried it yet.

Soya Nuggets Kurma:

Soya Chunks/nuggets curry is a perfect protein rich side dish for any Rotis. I usually make Yeasted Roti’s to go with it. It tastes good with regular whole wheat pulka or chapati as well.

Soya chunks or nuggets, also known as meal makers, are made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It is easy and quick to cook and known as veg meat. Though it does not have its flavour, it tends to absorb flavours well. I have shared Soya chunks in  Biryani, and now, I want to share this kurma.

Ingredients:

Soya nuggets – 1 to 2 cups

Oil – 1 + 1 tbl spoon

Cumin – 1tsp

Green chillies – 2 (slit)

Cashew – 10

Onion – 2 (medium, chopped)

Garlic – 8 – 10 (crushed)

Turmeric – ½ tsp

Red chilli powder – 1tbl spoon

Coriander – 2 tsp

Garam masala – 1tsp

Coconut – 1 cup (grated)

Curds – 1 small tumbler

Salt, sugar – to taste

Coriander leaves – little

Method:

-Take one saucepan, boil water and pour soya nuggets, and when it swells, drain the water and keep aside.

-Now, take one skillet, heat one tbl spoon of oil, and fry cashew, garlic, and onion.

-When the onion turns translucent, add all the dry masalas such as turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala.

-Add coconut, switch off the flame and toss the coconut for 2 minutes.

-Cool the mixture, grind it into a smooth paste, and keep it aside.

-Now, heat one tbl spoon of oil, cumin, and green chillies toss for 1 minute. Next, add ground masala paste, adjust the consistency by adding water and boil.

-When it has boiled for a while, switch off the gas. Add beaten curd and drained soya and mix everything properly.

-Switch on the gas, and allow the gravy to boil. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with roti or any flavoured rice.

Menthya Baath: Fenugreek/ methi greens rice:

Menthya baath/bath is a quick, healthy, flavourful south Indian dish, made with methi greens and mixed veggies or plain. It is a one-pot nutritious meal and ideal for lunch boxes.

Here, we use fresh methi/ fenugreek leaves and green peas. The rice’s raw and earthy flavour of methi greens makes it unique. Hence, it is an added advantage to avoid the difficulty of including greens in kids’ diets. Each family has its recipe, and I will share how we like it. Typically eaten with raitha or just with some curds. But it tastes great with any mild vegetable curry, like gobhi and broccoli, which I shared earlier. 

Ingredients:

Rice – 2 cups (wash a couple of times, drain and keep aside)

Fresh Green peas – 1 small bowl (frozen would do)

Methi/fenugreek leaves – 1 small bowl ( cleaned, chopped)

Coriander leaves – ½ small bowl (washed, chopped)

Milk – 1 cup ( you can opt for any plant-based milk as well)

Onions – 2 ( medium) thinly sliced

Oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons (As required)

Whole masala: Cumin – 1 tsp, cinnamon – 1″, cloves, Marathi moggu, cardamoms and bay leaves ( 2 each)

To dry grind: Green chillies – 3 to 4, ginger – 1 inch, garlic – 6 to 8 cloves

Coriander powder – 1 ½ tsp

Salt ( as required)

Lemon – ½

Method:

-Take one cooker, heat oil, and put all the whole masalas such as cumin, two pieces each of cinnamon, cloves, Maratha moggu, cardamom, and bay leaves.

-Now, add sliced onion, and fry until it is transparent. Then, add green peas and continue to fry.

-Next, add dry and roughly ground ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Fry until its raw smell vanishes.

-Next, add chopped methi greens, coriander greens, coriander powder, and salt and fry further.

-Add drained rice and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of milk and allow to boil.

-Lastly, add the lemon juice. When water starts boiling, close the cooker lid. Cook until the first whistle.

-When pressure releases, serve with any preferred raita, plain curd or veg curry.

 

 

Cauliflower and Broccoli curry:

This curry happened by accident. Yes! My daughter was craving creamy cauliflower and broccoli curry, as a side dish for one pot rice dish, like menthya bath/methi greens rice or jeera rice.

It was challenging for me to create creamy without using fresh cream or any considerable quantity of fat. The final verdict was to publish this curry in my blog so they could refer to the recipe and make it.

The result is here, which is vegan as well as creamy, super rich side dish with roti or rice.

Let us see the recipe part-

Ingredients:

Broccoli and cauliflower florets – 1 Bowl (cleaned and blanched)

For Masala Paste:

Oil – 1 tbl sp

Cumin – 1 tsp

Cinnamon – 1” piece

Bay leaf – 1

Clove – 2

Black peppercorns – 3 to 4 (optional)

Almond – 6

Cashew – 6

Garlic – 6 to 10 cloves

Onion – 1 (chopped)

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Green chillies – 1 to 2 (slit)

Tomato – 1 (chopped)

Salt and sugar – according to the taste

Coconut – ½ cup (freshly grated)

Paneer butter masala powder or any oriental curry powder – 1 spoon

Method:

-Wash cauliflower and broccoli florets, blanch in boiling water, drain the water and keep it aside.

-To prepare masala paste, heat oil, and add all the dry masalas from cumin to peppercorns, fry a little.

-Add cashew and almond, and fry until it turns light brown.

-Add chopped onion, green chillies, turmeric, and fry until it turns transparent and light brown.

-Next, add a little salt to chopped tomato to quicken the process. When it turns soft, add coconut and fry until it emits an aroma.

-Cool the content and make a smooth paste by adding water.

-Now, put this ground paste into the same Kadai in which masala has been roasted and adjust the consistency by adding water.

-Check the seasoning and adjust the salt and sugar according to the taste. Boil the content.

-When it starts to boil, add blanched broccoli and cauliflower and allow it to boil.

-Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with roti, peas pulav or menthya bath.

Thovve:

Our Thovve is nothing but dali thoye, a delicacy of the Konkani household. With Idli or buns,thovve is somewhat the most loved combo of my husband and his family. Over the years, even I have started to relish this combo as much as they do.

According to my father-in-law, tempering is the basis of any dish. Here, cooked toor dal is boiled and added with a liberal tempering. As we have now monsoon season, it is a most comforting and soothing meal option for us.

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Green chillies – 2 (slit)

Salt

Hing – ¼ + ¼  tsp

Ghee or coconut oil – 1 tbl spoon

Mustard – 1 to 2 tsp

Red chillies – 1 or 2

Curry leaves

Method:

-I prefer to soak toor dal in advance to get a smooth texture. Wash the dal, add sufficient water, and collect and discard all the foamy froth which forms at the upper surface.

-Now, before closing the cooker lid, put turmeric, green chillies and a tsp of coconut oil or ghee and cook for 3 to 4 whistles with sufficient water.

-Mash the dal, and adjust the consistency by adding extra water. Add salt, ¼ tsp of hing and nicely boil.

-Now, do the tempering. Heat oil or ghee, crackle mustard, hing, red chillies, and curry leaves and pour over the boiled dal.

-Close the lid for some time and allow it to seep in all the flavours. Serve with Idli or buns.

NOTE:

-Soaking the dal and skimming (removing the foam) is optional. It does change the taste of the final product. Hence, I follow the process.

 

 

Badanekai Gojji Sambar/ Brinjal Dal :

Our Native Brinjal has its charm and a fan base. People who like it relish it in many ways. I have already shared the palya, and this dal is one more item, which is our family favourite and mild at the taste. Here, we use either Gulla or a native variety of big green brinjal.

It needs hardly any ingredient but tastes fantastic and soothing in the summer heat. It is No coconut, vegan curry. 

Ingredients:

Brinjal – 1 ( big)

Toor dal – 1 cup ( cooked with turmeric and mashed)

Green chillies – 5 to 8 ( slit)

Salt – as per taste

Jaggery – as per taste

Roasted methi powder – ½ to 1 spoon

Tamarind – small lemon sized

coriander leaves – 2 tbl spoon (Chopped)

Seasoning: Coconut oil – 1 tbl spoon, Mustard – 1 tsp, Hing – peanut size ball, red chilli – 1, curry leaves – 1 spring.

Method:

-Here, we use full brinjal, even its stalk. So, the chopping procedure is, Halve the brinjal, even the stalk. Make four slits lengthwise. And dice it. Remove the inner woody part of the stalk and discard.

-Put those brinjal pieces in water and immerse.

-Now, take one vessel, Boil tamarind, 2 cups of water, salt, jaggery, slit green chillies. When it starts boiling, add brinjal pieces by draining the immersed water.

-When brinjal pieces turn soft, add mashed dal, roasted methi powder, adjust the salt and, jaggery and chillies according to your taste.

-Boil nicely, garnish with coriander. Do the seasoning by heating oil, splutter mustard, hing, red chilli and curry leaves.

-Enjoy with hot rice and papad.

NOTE: You can check the quantity of all the essential ingredients in the Above picture.

 

 

 

Khara Pongal/ Ven Pongal :

Ahh..what to say about humble Pongal? It is one of the comfort food for any South Indian. It is most prevalent in Tamilnadu as a Ven Pongal and a Khara Pongal at Bangalore.

Be it breakfast or as popular Tiffin Item or Lunch or Dinner in a chilly winter season, with added healing properties of ginger, black pepper, hing and loads of ghee to soothe your soul.

It is one of the wholesome, one-pot meals. As the Makarasankranthi festival is around the corner, I would love to share the recipe I follow at home and loved by my family.

Ingredients:

Rice – 1 cup

Moong dal /green gram dal – 1 cup

Ghee – 2 tbl spoons

Cumin – 1 tsp

Hing – ¼ tsp

Green chillies- 2 (slit)

Ginger – 1′ ( julienne)

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Milk – 1cup

Water – 7 cups

Salt

Fresh coconut gratings – ½ cup

Tempering: Ghee – 1 tbl sp, mustard, cumin- 1 tsp, black pepper – 1 tsp – 2 tsp, curry leaves – 1 spring, chopped cashew nuts – 1 to 2 tbl spoons.

Extra ghee – to serve ( optional)

Method:

-Dry roast yellow moong dal for 2 to 3 minutes. Cool it. Wash rice and dry roasted moong together and soak it for some time, or you can use it directly.

-Take a cooker, add 2 tbl sp ghee, add cumin, hing, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and turmeric and fry for 2 minutes.

-Now drain the rice and moong dal, add-in, mix everything and add water, milk and boil.

-When water starts boiling, add salt, coconut, close the lid, and cook for three whistles.

-Crush black pepper and cumin by putting them together in a mortar and pastel. Keep it ready.

-After opening the lid, make tempering by heating ghee, splutter mustard, add crushed pepper and cumin, curry leaves, cashew bits and fry until the cashew becomes light brown. Pour over the tempering on ready Pongal.

-Mix everything, serve with tamarind gojju, sambar, Raita or chutney.

NOTE: I usually use Broken rice, which is used explicitly for Pogal and available in all the local Rice traders here in Bangalore.

If it is not available, I would prefer to use Jeeraga samba rice/ small grain rice/ sannakki.

 

Milk Noodles: Instant noodles with coconut milk

As I always say, learning is an ongoing process. This particular recipe, which I learnt from my daughter. Yes! You heard it right 😀 Here, she has used coconut milk powder, which is an easy option for a hostller.

Instant noodles can be a super tasty, comforting meal by themselves if we consider replacing it with a little healthier option by opting for millet noodles and some tossed veggies. When I heard milk and the explanation of the recipe, I was a little hesitant. After tasting it, I can tell you; it was creamy and delicious. I felt the addition of curry leaves and coconut milk was a game-changer.

Here, I have used Instant Millet based noodles. One can opt for any preferred noodle and its masala for this recipe.

Ingredients:

A small pack of instant noodles – 1 ( with masala)

Onion – 1 ( slightly bigger pieces)

Garlic – ½ tsp (chopped)

Ginger – ½ tsp (chopped)

Green chilli – 1 (sliced)

Curry leaves – 2 springs

Coconut milk/powder– 1 sachet or as required

Chopped veggies – of your choice ( I used Carrot, green peas)

Turmeric – ½ tsp

Coriander powder – ½ tsp

black pepper powder – if needed ( optional)

Garam masala – ½ tsp

Sugar – to enhance the taste ( to balance)

Method:

-Take one tawa, heat a tbl spoon of oil, when it is hot, season with lots of curry leaves.

-Then, add chopped onion, green chilli, garlic, ginger fry for 2 min.

-Add turmeric, coriander powder, salt and add chopped veggies and green peas.

-Fry all these until veggies wilts. Add 2 cups of water, ready Maggi masala, and adjust the salt.

-Now, drop those noodle blocks, cook. When it is almost done, add coconut milk or coconut milk powder, add water to adjust the consistency.

-if you want some more zing, sprinkle a little pepper powder and serve.

 

 

 

 

Bassaru Palya :

Now, what is bassaru? The literal transition of bassaru is Basida (drained) saru (Curry) in the Kannada language.  Here, we cook the legumes or dals and the choice of greens or veggies in an open vessel with little more water than the required amount to cook. When the cooking process ends, drain the water (stock) and use it for gravy by adding ground masala. Cooked veggies would turn into the dry curry with added seasoning. They are usually served with Ragi Mudde (finger millet balls) or Rice, topped with ghee with chopped onions or papads as an add-on. Bassaru is a staple affair in Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Kolar, Tumkur region of Karnataka.

Bassaru Can be prepared using either Toor dal, Sprouted green gram, soaked black eye peas (karamani or Alasandekalu) or Sprouted horse gram etc. for protein ( also as a thickening agent to the curry)

If you prefer Greens, you can use the choice of greens except for fenugreek or Methi leaves.

If you don’t prefer greens, you can opt for any veggies such as French Beans, Ridge gourd, Cabbage etc.

Bassaru can be prepared in various ways, and each family has their method. Here, I am sharing how I make it and relish our Mudde Oota.

Ingredients for Saru:

Black eye bean – 1 cup (overnight soaked)

Chopped greens – 1 bowl

Salt

Green chillies – 4 to 5

Onion – ½ (chopped)

Garlic – 5 – 8

Curry leaves – 4 leaves

Coriander – 1 tsp

Cumin – ½ tsp

Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon (chopped)

Coconut – 1 tablespoon

Tamarind – 1 tsp

For seasoning:

Oil – 1 tbl spoon

Mustard – 1tsp

Onion – ½ (chopped)

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Method:

-Take one vessel, cook soaked bean. When it is half done, add chopped greens, salt and a pinch of jaggery (it is purely optional) and cook further.

-When beans and greens are perfectly cooked and done, drain the stock, collect the water and keep it ready. (take out one serving spoon of cooked legume to grind the masala).

-At first, we would prepare the masala.

-First, heat 1 tsp of oil, add coriander, cumin, curry leaves, green chillies, onion, garlic and fry until onion becomes translucent. Switch off the gas. Add in chopped coriander, coconut, tamarind and mix everything.

-When fried content is cooled, grind it into a smooth paste by adding one serving spoon of cooked legume by adding a little water.

-Now, reserve little ground masala in the mixer jar ( to make palya) and proceed to make saru.

-Take one vessel, mix drained water/stock, ground masala, adjust the consistency, check for the salt, boil until it is frothy.

-Do seasoning, heat oil, splutter mustard, add curry leaves, chopped onion and fry until light brown. Add it to boiled bassaru.

Now we would see the procedure of palya:

-Take one tawa, heat oil, splutter mustard, add curry leaves, chunks of onion, fry until it is translucent. -Add reserved ground masala, fry for 2 minutes. Now, add cooked and drained legumes and greens.

-Check for the salt, seasoning, garnish with freshly grated coconut and mix everything and enjoy with ragi mudde or Rice.

Note:

-Please cook legumes or dals in an open cooking method. Don’t use the pressure cooker. It indeed makes it mushier and soggier.

 

Ragi Mudde/ Finger millet balls:

Ragi Mudde is a Humble, day to day meal of Hassan, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Tumkur, Kolar region of Karnataka. As a coastal girl, I never used to like Ragi Mudde earlier. As time passed, I learnt to make perfect; please read as “suitable to our palate” mudde and tasty Bassaru palya to go with it. It is one of our family favourites too.

Ragi Mudde is rich in calcium, well balanced, wholesome, healthy food. Perfect meal for elderly, diabetics, weight watchers.

Making of mudde is a real art. It needs little patience and perseverance. Like preparation, eating is also a tactic. Instead of chewing, Ghee laden mudde should be swallowed by dipping it in veg or non-veg curry.

Mudde can be prepared in various ways, and each family has their method. Here, I am sharing how I make it.

Ingredients:

Finger millet / Ragi flour – 1 cup

Water – 2cups

Salt – one pinch( optional)

Cooked rice – 1 or 2 tbl spoons

Ghee – 1 tsp

Method:

-Take one saucepan or thick vessel, heat water by adding salt, ghee, rice.

-When water starts boiling well, keep it in a simmer, add ragi flour and keep one wooden spoon or steel spoon and close the vessel with leaving a gap to allow to escape steam.

-After 5 min, you could smell the cooked ragi. At this juncture, open the lid, start to move the spoon in a circular motion to cook further until you feel the dough doesn’t stick to your finger while checking and the aroma of cooked ragi fills the nostrils. It takes a reasonable amount of time ( from 5 to 10 min)

When ready, transfer the cooked dough to a wooden chopping plank or a wet steel plate. Immerse your hand in a bowl of water, start making the required sized ball by pinching the main dough.

-If you are serving immediately while serving, add ghee and serve. Otherwise, reserve all the balls in a hot box.

Note: -The colour of the Mudde depends on the Ragi flour. 

-For the vegan version, omit ghee and use any vegetable oil.