Tili Saaru/Toor Dal Curry

Bele Saaru literally means dal curry. It is thinner than the normal dal, but thicker than Rasam. I love this curry and it is my ultimate comfort food. This is one dish that comforts my palate and is gentle on my tummy on long hard days. I am sure every household in Karnataka has their own recipe for this particular dish. In my family my maternal grandmother 'ammaji' as we call her wins any competition for this dish hands down. She tells me the taste of this curry is in the toasting spices for the spice blend. I never quite managed to get as close to her, or for that matter my mom either who is at a distant second. But definitely my Bele Saaru is pretty good!! The recipe I am uploading is however my grandmother's; the best ever I have ever had in my life!

For the Tili Saaru Pudi / spice blend

Chillies 500 gms (I use 50% bright colored chillies +50% of the hot variety)
Dhania 500 gms
Pepper 12 grams
Fenugreek 12 grams
Urad Dal 12 grams
Jeera 90 gram
Hing 12 grams
Turmeric 12 grams
Jaggery 50 grams
Mustard 30 grams
Curry leaves dried one big bunch
One fistful of sea salt

  • Toast each of the spices (excluding the salt) on medium flame till fragrant. Set it aside separately.
  • Toast the Chillies at the very end otherwise it can get smoky and the kitchen will get stuffy (I went through the stuffy kitchen experience!) Set it aside and cool.
  • Grind in into a slightly coarse powder using a Coffee Grinder. Mine works perfectly fine for this recipe and i am very happy with my Coffee Grinder. It has become my favorite kitchen gadget.
  • Store the spice blend in an airtight container. It stay good for months. Mine in fact lasts for anywhere around 4-6 months. This spice blend makes an ideal gift as well.

To make the Tili Saaru

Tili Saaru pudi 2 tbsp
Toor Dal 1/2 cup
Tomato 1
Turmeric a pinch
Ghee 2 tbsp
Hing 1 pinch
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies 3
Curry leaves 8-9
Tamarind paste 1 tsp
Jaggery a small piece
Fresh Coriander a small bunch

    Combine the dal, tomato, turmeric and 1/2 tbsp ghee and water in a pressure cooker and cook till done. Set it aside to cool.
  • Combine the spice blend, tamarind and jaggery with 2 cups of water in a thick bottomed pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer and cook till fragrant. About 15 minutes.
  • Add the dal mixture to the simmering spice blend mixture. Mix well. Simmer.
  • Heat ghee in a pan. Drop the mustard seeds, Hing, whole chillies and curry leaves. Turn off the heat.
  • Carefully pour the Ghee tempering on to the simmering dal. Adjust salt and finish with coriander.

This dish goes out to WYF Kitchen gadget Event hosted by easy crafts My Gadget is of course my pet Coffee Grinder!

My dear friend Lg suggests adding a spoonful of coconut milk to the Bele Saaru to make it richer and of course tastier!


Lakshmi said...

It is comfort food for many Kannadigas :) I think. I add coconut milk and it tastes too good. Try it sometimes. You can add 1tbsp of milk the UHT coconut milk u get in stores.

SMN said...

Nice to know another kannadiga.. bele saaru looks nice

Kannada Cuisine said...

Thanks for the Tip Lakshmi!!
I will try it with coconut milk next time around!

Recipeswap said...

Dont know y but I culdnt get access to your blog.....finally got in.Nice Bele saaru.

Deepthi Shankar said...

yummy .. i just love bele saaru .. simple comfort food

EC said...

So simple yet divine..thanks for participating