Hurali Kattu

What could be a Kannadiga's answer to Dal Makhani? the rich decadent elixir, just a spoonful of which makes that moment as smooth as silk, as light as a feather and as satisfying as a mother's touch... If I were to pick one dish, it would be Hurali Kattu. Both are rich, luxurious, smooth, very very satisfying besides taking a very long time to cook. On the contrary, Dal Makhani has oodles of fat, butter, cream etc, but Hurali Kattu is more of a poor man's food and has no fatty garnishes. But then it is easy to amp up the fat content of any dish and I typically add a generous spoonful of ghee on my rice-Hurali Kattu. I would recommend serving just like that bowls full of Hurali Kattu and a spoon full of ghee on top.

This dish looks to be of humble origin. Horse gram raised during dry season, piled high in gunny sacks to last the entire season, could provide the scarce protein. Bowlful of beans were washed, placed in earthen pots with lots of water and simmered all through the night over glowing embers of wood fire. The ingredients are very simple, and cooked this way the beans did not need any baby sitting.

However it is not so simple in a modern kitchen. Horse gram is a very tough bean to cook. It takes ages to breakdown. I had my share of unsuccessful attempts to get them to cook. Now, after all the efforts I have a good technique to get the beans to cook and breakdown. So here it goes.

We will need,

Horse gram 1 cup
Hing 2 generous pinch
Onion 1 medium
Garlic 5-6 cloves
Saaru Pudi  2 tsp
Tamarind extract 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee to serve

Method:

  • Start the previous night. Pick and clean the beans carefully and make sure to discard all the gravel and dirt. Wash multiple changes of water. Put the beans in a deep pot and add about 6 cups of water.
  • Throw in one pinch of hing into the beans and place to pot on high heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and cover. Set it aside for the entire night.
  • The next morning, drain the bean and discard the soaking liquid. They say the eating the soaking liquid will cause flatulence and in my family we always discard the liquid that the beans has been soaking in, expect in the case of Idli /Dose, fermentation does something to urad dal in and it is quite easy on stomach. 
  • Transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 6-7 cups of water and the remaining hing and cook on slow flame for about 5-6 whistles for about 20-30 minutes. Adjust the time/whistle according to your pressure cooker and no two are alike. The idea is to let the beans cook in the pressure cooker for a long time. We do want it to break down completely. Remove from heat and set it aside to cool.
  • Once the pressure cooker is cool, open and check if the beans are soft. If they are soft go ahead to the next step, if not add more water and cook again till the beans are soft.
  • If the beans are soft, throw in the rest of the ingredients and pressure cooker again on low heat for 20-30 minutes till the beans completely break down and the mixture resembles a thick and rich slurry. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in desired quantities of ghee. Serve hot with Rice. I eat it like a soup on a cold day. It magically warms up my entire being! 



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