Massoppu - Mashed Greens

Massoppu is a rustic curry, drawing flavors from the freshness of the ingredient than fat or spices. It is associated with peasants and such. A blend of fresh greens straight from the fields including some weeds are cooked with pigeon peas, garlic, green chillies and then mashed till it is all combined. It is generally served with Ragi Mudde , essentially the most popular cereal in southern Karnataka. This version can be considered an elaborate version, quite far from the simple rustic fare. But it is mouth watering and of course very very healthy.

Here in the United States of course we do not get the variety of greens available back home. Indeed all we do back home is go to the vegetable vendor and ask for mixed greens  'berake soppu'. I was so used to the system that I never quite managed to learn the names of the individual greens..However here it is a different story. Even the 'Spinach' does not look like 'Palak' back home!! So I figured out that to make a delicious Massoppu here I needed to get creative!! It paid off handsomely. All I did was use what ever greens that looked fresh in the super market. I have since used Kohlrabi greens, Beet greens, Swiss Chard both red and green, Kale, Radish greens in Massoppu. Make it to believe how good it will taste.

This ingredient list is very broad. use any combination of greens available. Here it is just about listing out possibilities!

we will need,
Spinach 1/2 lb 
Fenugreek greens 1 cup
Kohlrabi greens, Beet greens, Swiss Chard, Kale, Radish greens, or even Romain Lettuce 1/4 lb
Onion 1 small
Green chillies 5-8
Garlic 4 cloves
Toor Dal (split pigeon peas) 1/2 cup
Turmeric a generous pinch
Mustard 1/2 teaspoon
Hing a dash
Ghee 1 Tbsp
Curry leaves a handful
Coconut 3 table spoon
Cilantro a handful
Tamarind paste( canned tomatoes or raw mango can be used instead)
Salt to taste

For the spice blend
Corriander seeds 2 teaspoons
Cumin(jeera) 1 teaspoon
Urad Dal 1 teaspoon
Channa Dal 1 teaspoon
Pepper 5-6 corns

  • Clean and chop all the greens. Wash the dal in multiple changes of water.
  • Combine the dal, one cup of water, turmeric, chopped greens, chopped onion, garlic and green chillies in a pressure cooker and cook till done. (Mostly two-three whistle)  Set it aside to cool down
  • Toast the spices for the spice blend on a gentle flame till fragrant and grind it into a fine powder.(a coffee grinder can be very handy in this case; Also the regular Sambar powder or Huli pudi can be substituted in which case the number of green chillies will have to be cut down substantially). Once the Dal mixture cools down, remove the garlic, chillies and a handful of cooked down greens and mash it with a potato masher. Else, pulse it in the food processor.  Stir it back to the Dal-green mixture.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pot. 
  • Add the mustand, curry leaves and hing, followed by the cooked Dal-green mixture. Stir in the tamarind/raw mangos, salt, coconut and the spice blend. 
  • Bring it to a boil. Finish with cilantro. Serve with hot rice with a lemon pickle on the side.

Seeme Badane kai Huli

Seeme Badane kai or Coyote squash is a very versatile vegetable. As a child i remember my father buying them in pairs hiking our way back home from Chamundi hills in Mysore. The ones in the supermarket are just not the same as the one we got back then, harvested from the vines before the gentle ray of the morning sun could touch them, well before the cool mist could dry is a traditional recipe for those who still remember the taste of seeme badane kai.

We will need,

Coyote Squash (Seeme badane Kai) 2
Tomato 1
Onion 1
Toor dal (togari bele or split pigeon peas) 1/2 cup
Huli pudi (sambar powder) 1 1/2 to 2 table spoons
Coconut grated 2 table spoons
Tamarind paste 1/2 table spoon
curry leaves 5
Dry chillies 3
Hing 1 big pinch
Mustard 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee (clarified butter)
Jaggery small piece
Fresh Corriander (Cilantro)

  • Cut the squash into two. Scoop the seed inside and clean. Chop into pieces and set it aside. 
  • Combine the toor dal, the chopped squash, tomatoes and onions in a pressure cooker along with 1 1/2 cup of water. Cook till done. 
  • In a thick bottom pot, combine tamarind paste and sambar powder along with some water to make a thin paste. Cook till it is fragrant. (generally for about 15 minutes, keep adding water if the mixture dries up)
  • Stir in the dal mixture. Add coconut, salt and jaggery bring it to a boil.Once it comes to boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  • Heat ghee in a pan. Add mustard seeds. when they splutter, add the hing, dry chillies and curry leaves. Pour the mixture over the simmering dal-vegetable mixture. Simmer for a few more minutes 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat mix chopped corriander(cilantro) and serve with hot rice.

Apple and Pineapple raita

Yesterday evening i had to entertain a few friends at real short notice. I manage to conjure up some pulav and carrot halwa out of my thin pantry stocks. But i did not have cucumbers/tomatoes to make the traditional Pacchadi that is served with pulav. Instead i had a couple of apples and a opened can of pineapple ring..a viola i had a yummy pacchadi/raita.

We will need,

Apple 2 chopped
Pineapple 3 rings (canned or fresh both would do. i had used canned pineapple)
yogurt  1 cup
salt to taste
sugar 1 big pinch
chat masala 1 big pinch

  • Beat the yogurt till smooth, add a little water if it is too thick. 
  • Mix in the salt, sugar and chat masala. Set it aside for 10 minutes. 
  • Fold in the apple and the pineapple.  Garnish it with Mint/ corriander (cilantro) or Blackberries like I have (well those were the only ones left in the refrigerator). Serve it with pulav...