Batani Saagu/ Peas Stew

Saagu is again a confusing genre of 'curries'. I just finished reading a book on the culinary history of India and every time I use the term 'curry', it has started to sound very alien!! But then there is no other term that can rather capture the essence of our culinary creations than curry. That is rather strange. May be centuries of influence is not so easily shaken off :)

Coming back to Saagu, it is a thick curry kind of accompaniment to breads like Chapati, Poori, Dosa, Idli etc. I am sure every household and every restaurant in Karnataka (or rather should I say south Karnataka) has a secret recipe for this one. In my family we have multiple Saagu recipes, each different from the other. I have specific combination though. This particularly Saagu goes well with Idli and Dosa. I hate it when it is served with Poori or Chapati.
In most restaurants back home Saagu is served with Rawa Idli rather than the rice Idli. I somehow prefer to eat this Saagu with Rice Idli... Today we had it with Dosa, coconut Chutney and some Chutney powder. It was heaven, a perfect way to begin the week end.


We need,

Shelled Green Peas 2 cups
Potatoes 2 large
Onions 2 large
Tomato 1 medium
Capsicum 1 medium
Green Chilles 5 and above
Oil 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 10-12
Hing a generous pinch
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Fresh Coriander a few sprigs.
Lime juice
Salt to taste

  1. Wash, clean and cube potatoes. Pressure cook till tender. Alternately place it in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle some water, microwave high for 7-8 minutes. (keep an eye)
  2. Dice onions, tomatoes and capsicum. Slit the green chillies.
  3. Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Throw in the mustard seeds, when they stop spluttering, throw in the hing, curry leaves and green chillies. Cook for a minute.
  4. Add onions and cook till golden.
  5. Add tomatoes. Cook till mushy.
  6. Reserve about 1/4 cup of cooked potato chunks and throw in the rest into the pot. Stir in the turmeric. Cover and cook.
  7. Mash the reserved 1/4 cup of cooked potatoes into a fine paste.
  8. Add green peas to the pot and stir. Throw in the capsicum and add about 2/3 cup water. The quantity of water depends on how thick you want the Saagu to be. I like mine fairly thick so I add rather a small quantity of water.
  9. Now stir in the mashed potatoes. Adjust salt and bring it to a boil. Finish it with fresh coriander and lime juice. The addition of mashed potatoes creates a kind of silky gravy which I absolutely adore
I like my Saagu to be rather chunky and keep most of the potatoes whole. But I know many in my family they like their Saagu less chunky and more like a gravy. In that case, before adding water in step 8, mash all the ingredients in the pot using the back of a big spoon or a masher or India buttermilk churner (Maggige manthu as we say in Kannada). The Saagu will be smoother and will have a glossier finish.

This goes out to the MLLA event hosted by Annarasa


Lakshmi said...

ahaa..eega chapathi mathe saagu thinbeku antha annistha ide nodi :) aa photo nodi

Deepthi said...

Loved your blog..Am a true Bangalorean myself :) Could relate to most of the things written here..Took me back in time !!!!

Sanghi said...

This is a different dish for me..
Good click and presentation! First time here.. Will follow.!

Deepthi Shankar said...

I love saagu .. Bangalore is so typical for its different kinds of saagu

Vani said...

Saagu looks yum! Reminds me I ahve not made it in a very long time.

Kannada Cuisine said...

@LG!! Bisi bisi idre yestu chenna alwa?

@Thanks Deepthi.. I sometimes feel I am in this time shell and tend to remember home the way it was ages ago before I left..I still feel Majestic to J.P.Nagar in a 'BTS' bus will take me 30 minutes :) I guess there are a lot many of us like that...

@Thanks Sanghi, hope to see you again.

@Deesha, Alva... there are umpteen types of saagu and of course, in Bangalore it is one of those typical foods...

@Thanks Vani..

Unknown said...

Nice saagu. Looks lovely. First time to your blog and you have a nice one.

Cilantro said...

Delicious looking Saagu... most of the side dishes from India are termed curry elsewhere so this Saagu becomes peas curry.

Bindiya said...

Saagu looks so tempting!

Priya Suresh said...

Tempting dish!

Savi-Ruchi said...

I'm not like you, but like your other family members :p, I like the saagu not crunchy.., I mash the potatoes completely. Lovely picture. eegle madi thinnabeku annistha ide :)