Hesarubele Chuntey / Moong dal chutney

Moong dal is one of the oldest and most trusted foods in our part of the world. It is an approved food for new mothers, babies, senior citizens, those with weak digestion etc.  I have always loved it. One of my favorite ways to eat it is in the form of chutney. The recipe reflects the simplicity of ancient lifestyle. They needed no Microwave, no oven, nothing. They could accomplish the task of making this chutney with a simple stove and a mortar-pestle.

We will need,

Moong Dal 1/2 cup
Dried Red Chillies  5-10 Adjust according to preference
Tamarind pulp 1/2 tsp
Garlic 2 cloves
Curry Leaves 10-15
Coriander leaves a handful
Salt to taste
Coconut 2 tbsp


  • Toast the dal till fragrant and golden brown in colour. Set aside.
  • Toast the chillies till fragrant and set it aside. 
  • Combine everything in a blender and pulse with a little water till smooth. The texture should not too fine. It goes well with Rice, Ragi mudde, Rotis.

Herekai Bajji/ Ridged gourd Curry

Ridged gourd grows on a climber. It used to very common to have one in the backyard or sometimes on the compound wall /fence! So this is one go-to vegetable we are so used to back home. Just pluck a few gourds here and there bingo you have a wonderful curry ready in minutes. This is one of those made-in-minutes rustic curries. We love it for its complexity of flavours and simplicity of ingredients. Thanks mom again for yet another old-world-long-forgotten recipe.

We will need,

Ridged Gourd                            1 cubed
Eggplant/ Bringal (Indian, small)  2 cubed
Green Tomatoes                         2 chopped
Grey Squash         (Optional)      2 chopped
Garlic                                         4-5 cloves
Green Chillies                              4-5 (adjust according to taste)
Fresh Coconut                            3 tbsp
Turmeric                                      a pinch
Butter                                          1 tbsp
Mustard seeds                              1/2 tsp
Curry leaves                                 a Handful

  • Combine all the vegetables, turmeric and coconut in a pressure cooker or a large pot and cook till done. Simmer.
  • Heat 1/4 tbsp butter in a pan. Toss in the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Once they crackle, pour it over the cooked vegetable mixture. Stir in the remaining butter and serve with Ragi Mudde. 
Actually the original recipe calls for no "oggarane" or the Mustard tempering. But then I cannot finish a dish without the "oggarane"! 

    Mysore Pak/ Chickpea Fudge

    The sweet equivalent of Bisibelebath is probably Mysore Pak. Nothing represents ‘Karnataka’ better than Mysore pak after all the dish carries our Cultural Capital in its very name. The other day I was really amused when I noticed somebody writing about Mysore pak that it is originally from AP! Quite did not know Mysore was in AP. Oh! yes it is official, the dish was invented in the Mysore palace kitchens.

    The legend is that the Mysore Maharajas were very fond of this particular sweet. “Guru Sweet Mart” in Mysore is still was once upon a time  the Mecca of Mysore pak and used to supply the sweetmeat to the palace as well. Recent reviews are not as favorable though. "Guru Sweet Mart" you still rule!!!I have still struck to “Guru Sweet”… I still make it a point to grab their Mysore Pak when ever I am in the city. When in Bangalore I buy Mysore Pak from ‘Sri Krishna Sweets’ Malleshwaram or ‘Venkateshwara Sweets’ Chickpet (Could be Balepet as well, very close to Upparpet Police Station). Sorry  Sri Krishna Sweets, Sorry Venkateshwara Sweets and Sorry Tazza Mithai, you all loose, It is still "Guru Sweet Mart" all the way. Look at this piece of Manna from  the heaven. No fancy packing, only pure ghee and unbeatable taste. I am sure they do 1:5 Gramflour: Ghee and the mild cardamon flavour the just hoovers around in the background.Oh boy! I love it.

    Mysore Pak is a delicate dessert. The consistency should be that which melts in your mouth in seconds and it should be so rich that you cannot go for seconds. But you find plenty of inferior versions, some that are as hard as Peppermint candies! Do not skimp on Ghee if you desire velvety smooth Mysore pak. Stay clear from Vanaspati or oil. Also, good Mysore pak should have very few hole. The ones that have holes would have been made commercially, more out of economic considerations than love! therefore, less rich but more in quantity and do not rank high in terms of quality. Unfortunately in the case of Mysore pak, inferior imitations seem to be more popular than the original!!

    During our long life in Mysore, mom used to make it very frequently. Of late she had stopped making it because of health considerations. None of us are as young and none of us can justify such pleasures anymore.. Back then things were different. Our butter vendor used to visit us for fortnightly butter deliveries. The resulting ghee was too much for the four of us to finish. So the day before the appointed butter delivery, mom used to make Mysore Pak to use up the remaining ghee to make way for fresh ghee the next day :) What a plan. She used to alternate Mysore pak and Cake. So effectively, we got to eat Mysore Pak a week or so every month. Back then we were still not into 'stealing' from the racks and dabbas, so it indeed did last may be a week or so. Here is the amazing Mysore pak.

    Serves 20
    Per serving: 407 calories: Protein 1.3 g: fat 33.28: Fiber 0.65

    Chickpea flour/ kadale hittu/ Besan 1Cup
    Sugar 2 Cups
    Ghee 2 ½ to 3 cups

    • Take a tbsp of Ghee in a skillet and toast the Besan till fragrant. Set it aside.
    • Grease a tray. Set it aside.
    • Melt ghee and set it by the stove. Keep ghee and Besan handy.
    • In a thick bottom pan combine sugar and a scant ¼ cup of water. Dissolve the Sugar and  bring it to ‘one thread consistency’. i.e. when you pinch the syrup between your wet thumb and forefinger you should see a single thread running between them.
    • Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle a tbsp of besan and a little ghee on the syrup and mix well making sure there are no lumps. Be careful, the mixture splutters and potentially scald. Repeat till all the ghee and besan are used up.
    • Keep stirring till the mixture leaves sides and lumps together into a big porous ball. Pour onto the greased tray and let it cool. Cut it into desired shapes and serve. Generally the sweet is generous in serving. But I cut them into 1”*1”*1/2” for our lifestyle justifies just as much!! Enjoy.
    Again to get authentic Mysore Pak, never skimp on the Ghee. Pure home made Ghee will give the best results.

    Arida Huli/ From the scratch vegetable curry

    What do you cook when you ought to feel indulgent? No not Biriyani! Not me... I am an Arida Huli gal!! Arida huli is another name for from the scratch vegetable curry. It is also sometimes referred to as Kootu. A rose by any name would smell as sweet! Arida Huli by any other name would taste just as indulgent.. This is a dish that is reserved for special occasions, may be a guest, may be a Sunday noon...
    Generally vegetables like yellow cucumber and Yellow pumpkin make up the very heart of the dish, but if these vegetables are unavailable go ahead with vegetables of your choice.

    Serves: 8
    Per serving: 357 calories : Protein  13.57 g : Fat 16.5 g : Fiber 9

    Toor Dal ¾ C

    Vegetables 3 Cups
    Tomato 1 small
    Turmeric a generous pinch
    Coconut 4 tbsp
    Onion ¾ C (pearl onions)

    Tamarind extract 1 tsp
    Jaggery crushed 2 tbsp
    Peanuts 1 Cup

    For the Spice blend:

    Red Chilles 9-10
    Channa Dal ½ tsp
    Urad Dal ½ tsp
    Pepper ¼ tsp
    Fenugreek ¼ tsp
    Jeera 1 tsp
    Cinnamon 1/8 tsp
    Dhania 2 tbsp

    Oggarane/ tadka
    Ghee 3 tbsp
    Mustard seeds ½ tsp
    Hing a dash
    Curry leaves 15-20
    Dried red chillies –Kashmiri mirch/ Byadige chillies 4-5

    1. Combine dal, vegetables and peanuts in a pressure cooker and cook till done. Else cook the dal in a open stock pot till half way through and add the vegetables and peanuts and cook till everything is done. Set it aside.
    2. Toast all the spices under ‘spice blend’ one by one till fragrant. Combine it with onions, tomatoes,coconut, tamarind, 1 cup of water and blend it till smooth. The paste must be very smooth. My mom says it should resemble sandalwood paste! That is somewhere between oat meal porridge and peanut butter.
    3. Add a little more water if necessary to the mixture and cook it on a slow flame till the raw smell disappears.
    4. Once the spice mixture is well cooked and fragrant anywhere between 20-30 minutes, gently stir in the dal mixture. Bring it to a gentle boil. Throw in the jaggery. Adjust salt. Simmer.
    5. Prepare the oggarane. Heat ghee in a pan. Throw in mustard seeds, Hing, curry leaves and the dried red chillies. Once the popping stops, pour the contents on to the simmering curry. Stir gently and serve with rice.

    Conquered Macaroons

    Macaroons have become such a fashion statement these days. I have been waiting for a long time to achieve a certain degree of success in making them in my Kitchen. How lovely would it be to be able to make these ultimate indulgence in my own kitchen savour it at my own time and relax!! (RELAX is a word not often found in my dictionary these days with a four month old around )

    But then these Macaroons are horribly moody and they have a mind of their own. I have been diligently bookmarking every Macaroon recipe Helen posts on her blog. But my previous two attempts ended up with anything but Macaroons. When it comes to food, I can probably better King Bruce! I guess I got luckier than the unhappy Scottish King or the proverbial spider and my third attempt was a fair success. We ultimately got to eat Macaroons proudly baked in my kitchen. They were not as pretty though. Got to still master the art of piping bag :(  Mom and Honey are thoroughly impressed. Thanks Helen!!
    I struck to Helen's recipe for the shells altering only the flavor. Just added some Vanilla to the shells. The filling had to be Strawberry. With the spring in the air, my head is reeling with the thoughts of strawberry and cream. So combined the two for the filling. The recipe for the filling follows. What better way to serve the macaroons than cups of cafe creme.

    We will need,

    Whipped Cream   2 tbsp
    Strawberry preserve 1 tbsp

    Fold the strawberry preserve gently into the whipped cream.
    Place a teaspoon of the filling on a Macaroon shell and sandwich it with another. Do not sit these filled Macaroons for long, they tend to get soggy. At least they did not in my home.
    Enjoy with a cup of cafe creme!!

    Bananti Pudi, Postpartum chutney powder

    A new mothers dietary requirements are very different. Not only do new mothers require extra calories but breast feeding mothers are constrained by a variety of foods that needs to be avoided because of the weak digestive system of the new born.
    Traditionally new mothers are served this particular spice blend to improve the digestion of both newborns and the mother. The new mother starts her meal by mixing about 1/2 -1 tsp of this powder with a tablespoon of freshly cooked hot rice and about 1 tsp of ghee. This morsel is followed by the rest of the meal.
    This works magic on colicky babies, it worked very well with me and my son :). I will post a few more posts on remedies for a colicky babies, after all I can not write with a great deal of experience.

    To prepare this blend we will need,

    Jeera 1 tbsp
    Pepper 1 tbsp
    Fennel Seeds /Saunf 1/2 tbsp
    Ajwain/ Omkalu 1/2 tbsp

    1. Toast all the spices one by one till fragrant
    2. Using a mortar pestle or coffee grinder or mixer crush the spices into a fine powder.
    3. Store it in an air tight jar.
    Use a measure of your choice instead of the tbsp, it works just as fine. Sending it out to the home remedies event hosted by Ruchika started by Sadhana & Muskhan