Ghee / Tuppa

We love the dairy products we are currently getting from udder milk creamery coop . The milk is tasty and creamy. I make butter out of the cream I skim from the milk. Sunny boy gobbles up some butter, we slather it on toasts, rottis and what ever. The remaining gets converted into Ghee- 'Tuppa'. I love ghee. We end up consuming about 3/4 to a kilo of Ghee just the three of us,if I do not make any sweets! I use it in most of my curries. Sunny boy licks it off a spoon and demands 'tuppa' with everything including Mosaranna- curd rice. 
Most of my family members love ghee. My grandmother and mother made their own ghee so do I. The ones they made used to be thick and grainy. I never got similar texture or flavor when using the super market butter. But butter from pastured unprocessed milk scalded at home makes the best of ghee. Got to make it to fall in love with it.
Ghee being a saturated fat is solid at room temperature. A gentle heat will cause it to melt away. So a dollop of ghee on warm rottis/idlis/dosa will be perfect.

We will need,

Butter 1 lb
Turmeric  a pinch
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Garlic 1 small clove

  • Place the butter in a large mouthed heavy pot. Gently heat it.
  • Once the butter is completely melted, throw in the turmeric.
  • For a sweeter flavored ghee, add the fenugreek. (If ghee is to be used in the preparation of deserts and sweets) Else throw in the garlic. (This version is perfect for use in curries, Rasams and Saaru)
  • Cook till the butter is frothy on a medium heat.
  • Once the frothing subsides, reduce heat and look for the sediments at  the bottom of the pot to turn golden brown. The butter itself should be clear and a golden colored liquid by now. Turn off the heat.
  • Filter the ghee using a fine mesh strainer. Reserve the sediments for another use. (I throw mine in curries and saaru, it is heavenly)
  • Store the ghee in a glass /steel jar. It stays good for at least a couple of months. (May be long, it never does in my place).

Saag Panner

After all my years in the northern plains and my familiarity with Punjabi cuisine, it is quite surprising to me that I still do not have either Saag panner or Palak panner on Kannada cuisine!! In fact Palak panner is one of the first foods that I cooked, all by myself as a 13-14 year old. My father was posted in Amritsar, somewhere during the time when commandos, machine guns and 'encounters' were as common as Aloo-Pyaz in Punjab. But what I still remember of Amritsar is the food...Lawrence road, Kesar Dhaba, the Langar at Harmandir Sahib, Ghadiwali khoti's Jaleebi and the ubiquitous samosa and panner pakode...Ah! those were the days when food was plenty as appetite was very healthy. (Kinda remember Papa saying that Ghadiwali khoti belonged to legendary cricketer Madan Lal.) Those were the days of endless eating.Boy! I miss those days.
Then,, when it was almost time to head back to south, I was in sheer despair. Where will I find Chole, Palak Panner, Tandoori Rotis, Rasmali back home. I kept pestering my mother to take down the recipe from my land lady Mini aunty -a genial Sardarni. Mother did not show the least bit of interest. So I  went ahead and asked my landlady for recipes. She was very happy, just that, she wanted me to learn everything that comes out of a Punjabi kitchen. She was training a daughter she never had. So in order to learn a handful of my favorites, I had to sit through the ordeal of making Tinda ki subzee, aloo badi and Roghun Josh. Well, I should say, it was not just sitting through but very much a hands-on affair and over a few weeks, I had prepared a lot of Punjabi delicacies. I most probably wrote down those recipes as well. But over the years, I lost those recipe.
I had also prepared Rogun Josh too with lots of tomatoes, but did not care for it much. My father the only one who would eat meat, said it was unremarkable. Others that I lost were not something I cared for away way. But who knew that I would have a food blog one day and it did not matter if I liked something or not.
The ones that remains with me are Palak Panner, Chole, Rajma,Mutter Panner, Saag, Dal Makhani,Rasmalai-Kheer, because I made these so often that my then young brain lapped it up in its folds. Now I can make these in my sleep.

I have never seen chard in India, but it is one of the most common vegetable available during winters. I have used it here. Use any greens of choice.

Serves 4

Spinach 1 small Bunch (about 4 cups)
Chard 1 small bunch (about  5-6  gaint leaves)
Ghee 1/4 cup
Onions 2 medium
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Garlic  5 cloves
Ginger 2"
Green Chillies 6 +(adjust according to taste)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Dhania powder 1 tbsp
Cummin 2 tsp
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Panner 400 grams
Garam Masala a pinch
Heavy cream 2 tbsp (Malai /Kene)
Juice of a lemon.
Butter (optional)

  • Wash and clean the greens thoroughly. Dice the Panner and saute it in a tsp of oil/ghee till golden brown. Set it aside.
  • Bring a big stock pot filled with water to a rapid boil.Blanch the spinach in the hot water for 10 seconds and remove from heat. This gets rid of the slightly bitter finish of the spinach.
  • To the same stock pot, squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Blanch the chard in the hot water till the chard is slightly tender about 10 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool. Once it is cool, combine it with the blanched spinach and green chillies in a blender and pulse till smooth. Set it aside.
  • Combine the onions, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend with a little water till the mixture is smooth.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pot. Throw in the cumin.Once the cumin stops spluttering, throw in the onion paste. Cook till the oil floats on top. If the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pot, add a little water to it.
  • Now throw in the dhania powder, cumin powder and turmeric powders. Stir well, cook till the oil floats on top and the spices are fragrant and cooked.
  • Stir in the pureed greens and heat thoroughly. Stir in the panner. Simmer for a few more minute.
  • Adjust salt and finish with Garam Masala and butter if using.
  • Serve with a dollop of cream, lemon wedges, sliced onions.and green chillies.

Vegetable Korma

Korma also pronounced as 'Kuurma' back home is one of those indulgent dishes that I make when cooking for a large dinner party. It is easy to scale up and sinfully delicious. It reminds me of umpteen tonnes of Ghee rice and Kuurma I have devoured at all the wedding receptions while growing up. Now if I think of the vanaspati laden Ghee rice or the greasy and unflavored korma, my appetite dies a sudden death! But when I think of my sister's rich, spicy but satisfying Korma, my stomach screams 'here! I live again'. She makes the best Korma I have ever tasted. With mom's ghee rice, it is mind blowing. I have always made Korma her way, but yesterday midway through the Korma, I realised that I had ran out of cashews. I had to think of substitutions and fast. I tossed in  a mixture of poppy seeds and sesame seeds and the combo gave my Korma a special spin. We all loved it.

Serves 8-10

Mixed vegetables 4 cups chopped
Peanut oil 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
Star anise  2
Marathi moggu  2
Bay leaves 3
Cardamon 3
Onion 1 medium minced
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Red Chili powder 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Dhania powder 1 tbsp scant
Cumin powder 2 tsp
Tomato 2 medium
Mint a generous  handful
Fresh coriander a handful
Sesame seeds 2 tbsp
Poppy seeds 1 tbsp
Kopra 1/2 cup
Heavy cream 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Lemon segments to serve

  • Throw the chopped vegetables into a microwaves safe bowl and pop it into the microwave oven to slightly soften the vegetables about 4 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottom stock pot. Throw in the cumin, fennel, star anise, Marathi moggu,  bay leaves and cardamon. 
  • Once the spices stop sizzling, throw in the minced onions, cook the onions till they are deep brown in colour, about 15 minutes.
  • Throw in the ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell disappears about 5-7 minutes.
  • Throw in the turmeric, red chilli, dhania and cumin powders, stir continuously to make sure the spices do not burn at the bottom. Add a little water if the mixture is drying out too rapidly. 
  • Once the spices are fragrant, throw in the vegetables and add 5-6 cups of water, cover and bring it to a boil. 
  • Meantime pulse the tomatoes, mint and coriander in the food processor, set it aside. Toast the sesame seeds, kopra and poppy seeds separately in a hot dry skillet, remove from heat and pound till the seeds are reduced to a fine powder. I blitz mine in the coffee grinder.
  • Once the vegetables mixture comes to a boil, throw in the tomato and herb mixture and the nut mixture. Stir well to make sure the nut mixture is not lumpy. It is a good idea to temper the nut mixture with the hot liquid from the sauce, mix well and pour the mixture into the simmering curry. Simmer for about 10 minutes till the curry comes together.
  • Adjust salt and pour over the heavy cream. Stir once more and heat the mixture for another 3 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Serve it with Ghee rice, Raita and lemon wedges.

Apple and avocado salad

I love salads. It could be a simple Kosambari or a Italian or Mediterranean salad, I love them all if the salad has the right balance of flavours. I love mine dressed generously with citrus juice, has something crunchy and a little sweet. Most often then not, I combine fruits and vegetables in my salad, because fruits add a lot of sweetness without weighing down the Salad. I have never purchased dressing of any sort ever from a super market. I always make mine right before I am ready to eat. I  hate the gooey Cesar's salad dressing they  serve with lettuce at the fast food joints. I always wondered why people would want to eat just plain lettuce for a salad when there is a great array of fruits and vegetables to choose from. I would probably start mooing if I am fed the so called lettuce (Cesar's) salad with the gooey dressing!! However, I have loved the plain Cesar's salad served at quite a joints. A good salad can appear boring till the first bite and then it will be love at first bite.

Today was a busy morning, therefore I settled down for a simple salad for lunch. This is what I make for myself when I am having a salad for an entire meal.

Serves 1 (as an entree)
Serves 2(as a side dish)

Lettuce of choice  3 cups (washed and drained well -I use a salad sinner)
Apple  1
Avocado 1
Parmesan Cheese 2 tbsp (more or less according to taste)
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Coconut  1 tbsp grated
Coriander fresh a handful chopped
Olive oil or Peanut  oil (optional)


  • Place the chopped and cleaned lettuce in a salad platter. 
  • Throw in the diced apple, avocado. Top it with cheese, coconut and coriander.
  • Squeeze the lime juice right over top and adjust salt and pepper. 
  • Drizzle the oil if preferred. Serve immediately.

Tomato Rasam

Spring is in the air. This time around, it has been a roller coaster ride weather-wise; It was so warm that we forgot it was march, then it grew chilly. Looks like finally there is some nice warming up happening. When I saw these goslings in the backyard, it is spring indeed!These tiny goslings are so cute, in just a matter of few week they will grow into big geese! I wish they did stay like this for long :)
A thorough bred south Indian can never say no to Rasam! How delicious can it be just a simple combination of stock, spices and some ghee, unbelievable indeed that it can be so very delicious and addictive. I make Rasam when ever we have guests and when ever I am cooking for a large party. If someone does not like the other foods, Rasam is always there to fall back upon. I actually do not know anyone who does not like Rasam. In fact I discourage my mother from making Rasam everyday because I know from experience that when we see Rasam on the table, we end eating more rice than usual and that is not a healthy habit at our age.
We make a variety of Rasam/ saaru with are equally good. It amazes me that there can be so many variations in some thing as simple as rasam!!This is the default version - the tomato rasam. 

Serves 4

Toor dal 1/4 cup
Tomato  1 big
Tamarind concentrate 1 tsp
Jaggery  1 tbsp (crushed)
Jeera 1.5 tsp
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Pepper 1.5 tsp (more if preferred spicy)
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Hing a big pinch
Curry Leaves 6-7
Dried red chillies 3-4 (Byadagi variety)
Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro


  • Wash the toor dal in several changes of water and combine it with the tomato and about 2 cups water and cook till the dal is soft, about 2 whistles. Remove from heat.
  • Once the pressure cooker is cool and safe enough to open, remove the tomato into a mixing bowl and mash it thoroughly. Separate the cooked dal and the stock. Reserve the dal for another  use.
  • In a stock pot, combine the mashed tomatoes, dal stock, tamarind paste and jaggery. Add more water to make it thin- into rasam like consistency. There should be approximately 4 cups of liquid here. Bring it to a gentle boil. Simmer.
  • Pound the pepper, jeera and garlic into a course powder. Set it aside.
  • For the Oggarane, heat ghee. Add the mustard, hing, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Stir for a minute. Once the mustard stops spluttering add the garlic-spice combo and stir till fragrant. Take it off the heat and pour it over the simmering tomato broth.
  • Adjust salt and finish with fresh coriander. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice and papad.

Sweetheart cake

Just before you draw conclusions by reading the title, let me tell you, this is not valentine's day stuff. The story behind the cake is this. Sunny boy loves cake and chocolate. I do not make it very often because I have these huge cake tins that I will have to make huge cakes and me and Honey end up eating way more than what we should. So I went shopping for a smaller cake tin, so then I get to make cake more often, Sunny boy gets to eat cake more often, and we do not have to eat a mountain of left over cake. Unfortunately, I could not get either a square or a round cake tin in small size. So I was forced to by a silly heart shaped cake tin. So here it comes, a home make heart shaped cake for my sweetheart, therefore called sweetheart cake :)

We will need,

For the cake

Flour 1/2 cup
Sugar 1/2 cup
Butter 1 stick (1/2 cup) (room temp)
Eggs 2 (room temp)
Baking powder 1/8 tsp
Vanilla 1/2 tsp
Yogurt 2 tbsp

For the filling/ frosting
Cream cheese  1 tub (8 o)
Bitter sweet chocolate squares 3 (2 oz each)
Strawberries fresh 5-6
Sugar about 1-2 tbsps
Heavy cream (if needed)

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a 6" cake tin with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter till pale and fluffy. Throw in the sugar and cream till the sugar dissolves.
  • Crack one egg into the butter sugar mixture and beat till well combined. Repeat with the other egg.
  • Stir in the yogurt and the vanilla.
  • Sift the flour with baking powder. 
  • Fold the flour into the butter mixture. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake till a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire  rack.
  • For the frosting, melt the chocolate squares either on a double broiler or in the microwave. 
  • Cream the cream cheese and then stir in the melted chocolate. Add the sugar and check if it tastes good. Adjust with more sugar if necessary. Add a few tablespoons of heavy cream if the mixture is too tight. It should be light and fluffy. 
  • Chop the strawberries. Divide the frosting to two equal parts. Add the chopped strawberries to one part. 
  • Once the cake is completely cool, cut it horizontally into two. Gently set aside the top half. Spread the strawberry frosting mixture on the the bottom half of the cake. Place the top part back and spread the remaining frosting on to the cake. 
  • Garnish with some more strawberries. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Kumbalakayi Sorekayi Huli

Huli is probably the common dish on my family table. We make Huli with everything, vegetables, greens, beans aka pulses and yogurt too. The broad contours of all these Hulis are same, but there will be slight differences here and there. What matters is the combination of the base vegetables. My favorite happens to be the Mangalore soutekayi, Kumbalakayi (pumpkin), sorekayi (bottle gourd) and tondekayi (ivy gourd).

My grandmother's Huli probably took her two hours to make. But I am lazy, I did rather finish my entire day's cooking in two hours! The way she would make it is thus. She would trim and chop the vegetables and cook it till al dente. She would cook the dal separately till soft. Then she would grind coconut and spices into a smooth paste using a mortar-pestle (our own rubbo gundu). Then cook the coconut and spice mixture with other things like tamarind and jaggery. Combine the vegetables, dal with spices and then finish it with some ghee Oggarane. How do I do it? dump dal and vegetables in  the pressure cooker and cook the pre-made spice mixture and then combine everything; finishing with the Oggarane.

There are days when I do make from the scratch,  Arida huli , just the way grandma did it, but it is usually reserved for special occasions. for a regular week day this is it.

We will need,

Pumpkin /Kumbalakayi 1 lb trimmed and chopped into 1"  cubes
Bottle gourd/ Sorekayi 1 lb  trimmed and chopped into 1"  cubes
Toor dal 0.25 cup
Turmeric a pinch
Huli Pudi 2 tsp
Tamarind concentrate 1/2 tsp
Jaggery 1 tbsp
Coconut 1/2 cup (grated)
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies 4 (byadagi variety)
Curry leaves a handful
Hing a dash
Coriander fresh

  • Clean and wash the dal and combine it with 1 cup of water turmeric and a few drops of ghee and pressure cook till done. 
  • Combine the two vegetables in a stockpot with about 1-2 cup of water and cook till crisp tender. Else, combine the vegetables along with cleaned and washed dal and turmeric and a few drops of ghee in a pressure cooker and cook till dal is soft (about 2 whistles). (The disadvantage with cooking everything in the pressure cooker is that, by the time dal is soft, the vegetables will be mushy)
  • Stir together the Huli pudi, tamarind,  coconut and jaggery with about a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Simmer till the flavors combines and the curry mellows, about 20 minutes.
  • Now pour the spice mixture into the cooked vegetables. Add the cooked dal and stir together and simmer.
  • Adjust salt.
  • To prepare the oggarane, heat the ghee in a small pan. Throw in the mustard seeds, cumin, hing, curry leaves and dry chillies in quick succession. Once they stop spluttering, remove from heat and pour right over the simmering vegetable-dal-spice mixture.
  • Finish with fresh coriander. Serve with rice and some papads.

Avarekalu Usali

And finally, one of my favorite foods will finally see the light of the day  on this blog. I have written so much about my love for this beans, but I never did a post on this recipe. The biggest problem being the quality of the beans. Here we get only the frozen ones so tiny that the texture of the final product is not remotely similar to the one I grew up eating.But after all these years, I figured out, frozen is still better that nothing at all.

This Usali is served with chapatis, akki rottis, doses and goes well with jolada rotti too. A dollop of butter definitely adds to the meal and I like mine with oodles of ghee.
We will need,

Avarekalu /Lilva beans/Indian beans  2 cups
Onion 1.5 medium
Garlic 4 cloves
Ginger 1"
Green Chillies 5-8 (adjust according to taste)
Peanut oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves a handful
Turmeric  a generous pinch
Coconut 1/2 c shredded
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1/8 tsp
Juice of 1/2 lime
Coriander fresh a handful

  • Clean the beans and wash it in several changes of water. Set it aside to dry.
  • Combine onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies in a food processor and pulse till minced. Else mince all these ingredients on a cutting board using a knife.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Throw in the mustard and curry leaves. Once they stop spluttering, add the minced onion mixture. Saute till the rawness disappears, about 10 minutes.
  • Throw in the beans, turmeric and coconut. Stir to combine. Transfer this mixture to a pressure cooker and add about 1 cup of water. Stir and cook till the beans are soft. (depending on the cooker used, mine is done at the first whistle) Remove from heat.
  • Meantime, toast the cumin and fenugreek separately on a medium hot skillet till fragrant. Remove from heat and crush it into a coarse meal. Set it aside.
  • Once the cooker is cool enough to open, open the lid and stir the mixture. Throw in the toasted cumin and fenugreek meal. If the Usali is too dry, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water and cook the mixture for another 5 minutes. Usali is usually quite thick with just enough moisture to soften the accompanying bread
  • Finish with salt, lime juice and fresh coriander. Serve with a bread of choice
Sending it to the MLLA 46 hosted by Susan herself

Menthya Huli Gojju

Sunny boy was down with a flu a couple of weeks back. He passed it on to me very generously  and the unrequited guest stayed with me for a week. After a dose of antibiotics, my palate was reduced to the status of an old worn out aluminum spatula. To get rid of the metallic-bitter taste, I ended up making this Menthya Huli Gojju. This is what MIL makes somebody who is sick. It works like a charm and I love it. It does not look all that appetizing but one has to eat it to appreciate it. MIL actually used Huli Pudi but I tweaked the recipe a bit. I will upload the Huli Pudi version very soon.

We will need,

Pearl onion / Sambar onions 1 cup
Peanut oil  3 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4tsp
Fenugreek seeds  1/2 tsp
Curry leaves  3 sprigs
Ginger 1/2"
Garlic 2 cloves
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder 1/4 tsp
Dhania powder 1/2  tsp
Tamarind concentrate 1/2 tsp (about a lemon sized  tamarind otherwise)
Green Chillies 3
Coriander fresh a handful
Salt to taste.

  • To trim the pearl onions, chop and discard the top and the tail part of the onions. Throw them into a pot of cold water. Peal them as they soak in the water. This way they will not burn in the eye and the peel also comes out easily. 
  • Chop the peeled and trimmed onions and set it aside. Mince the garlic and ginger.
  • Heat oil in a pot. (I use my new earthen pot, the results were fab) Throw in the mustard and fenugreek. Once they stop sizzling, throw in the curry leaves.
  • Follow it with the chopped onions and saute till the onions are golden brown. Throw in the minced garlic and ginger. Once the raw smell of ginger garlic mellows down, about 1 minute, throw in the turmeric, chilli powder and Dhania powder. Stir the mixture and make sure it does burn. 
  • Once the spices are fragrant about 3-5 minutes, throw in the tamarind concentrate along with 2 cups of water.
  • Bring it to a boil, throw  in the green chillies and simmer for 15 minutes till the curry is fragrant. Adjust salt and finish with some fresh coriander. Serve it with rice.

Cultured Butter the home made way

Butter is yummy, after all it is 'utterly butterly delicious'. This very morning when I was preparing breakfast, Sunny boy stole up to the refrigerator and opened it, (yes now it is the newest headache) grabbed some butter right off the dish and stated nibbling it. He was like this cute mouse gnawing it's cheese. I gave him a 'look', he gives me his sweetest smile and says 'Amma benne tumba yummy Amma' (Amma, Butter is very Yummy). I know he loves butter and ghee. The other day I forgot to put away the bottle of Ghee, and this little mouse found the bottle with a spoon conveniently on  the dining table. He scooped spoonful of ghee and finished quite some before it came to my notice!! Honey calls him little Krishna, the naughty little lovable  god who stole butter in Vrindavan.So be it, my little Krishna.

My grandmother and my mother always had homemade butter on hand. It was probably  not enough given the size of their families, they also purchased good quality butter from dairy farmers. In fact my home town was famous for its dairy products in the past century and finds a mention in most gazetteers published during the time. The love for good dairy has passed on to the younger generations in the family too. We all love our milk,yogurt, butter, buttermilk, cheese ,name it, we love it.

Ever since I found this fresh raw milk source, life has been good. The milk actually forms a thick cream on top when heated. I skim the cream and churn butter out of it.  I make ghee out of the butter and some times we eat our butter with toast, Dosa, Rotti and Sunny boy will eat just the butter, nothing with it :) It is pretty easy to make and worth the extra effort by all means.
This is how we do it.

Milk 1 liter (everyday of the week)
Yogurt 1 tbsp (only on  the 7th day)
  • Heat milk till cream begins to form on top. Remove from heat and cool it down to room temperature. 
  •  Set it in the refrigerator for at least4-5  hours, so that the cream solidifies and it is easy to transfer. 
  • Skim the cream and store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Do this everyday for a maximum of 7 days. That is everyday, heat the milk, skim the cream and collect the cream and store it in the glass jar. If using more than one liter a day, you can start making the butter early.  However, do not wait for more than 7 days because then the cream will develop an off-taste and butter will taste rancid.
  • On the 7th day, pull the jar of cream collected out of the refrigerator. Add the tablespoon of yogurt thinned down in two tbsp water into the cream and let it ferment for about 6 -15 hours. 
  • After the cultured creamed has been sitting for some time, transfer it into a blender with 1.5 to 2cups of water and pulse for 5 seconds at a time, totally under a minute to separate the butter and the buttermilk. Do not run the blender continuously, just pulse.The butter will separate in under a minute.Letting the blender run continuously will result  in a butter smoothie which is sort of irreparable. Keep a close eye, the texture changes in an instant and the smooth cream appears curdled, sort of crumbly. That is when the butter is ready.
  • Once the butter has separated, collect it using either a strainer or your fingers. 
  • The buttermilk- the liquidy part of the mixture tastes great with just a dash of hing, salt, ginger and curry leaves. It can also be used to make Mosaru shaaleor Majjige Huli. We mostly end up drinking ours. There is hardly anything left after one round of me and Honey checking out the buttermilk. 
  • Store the butter in the refrigerator or convert it into ghee.

Mango Egg Curry

We have been getting some great dairy products home delivered for quite some time now. The milk forms a cream top when heated which I skim and churn some great butter out of it. The eggs are tiny but tastes way better than the super market organic/cage free stuff. The other day our friendly delivery man left us with our supply for the week. By the time I could put away the two gallons of milk in the  refrigerator, Sunny boy toppled the carton of eggs waiting for me at the door step. Most of the eggs tumbled down and a few bumped into the wall as well. After yelling at him and calling him a 'Katte' or donkey, I felt very bad. I gave him a hug and brooded over the six cracked eggs (the ones that had bumped into the wall). After inspecting the refrigerator, I decided it was time for some mango curry with the damaged eggs. So  here it is.

We will need,

Eggs 6
Raw Mango 1 Small
Salt to taste

 for the masala paste:
Onion  1 small
Coconut  1/2 cup
Garlic  3 cloves
Ginger  1"
Clove  4
Cinnamon 1/2"  piece

for the Oggarane:
Peanut oil 2 tbsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp
Marati Moggu 2
Cardamon 2
Star Anise 1
Kalhuvu 1 piece (optional)

  • Wash the egg set it aside
  • Peel the skin on the green mango and grate it using a box grater. Discard the seed. Set it aside.
  • For the masala paste, heat a pan and toast the sliced onions till  brown and remove. Toast the remaining ingredients except turmeric, one after the other till fragrant.  Set it aside.
  • Once the toasted spices and aromatics are cool enough to handle, throw it into a blender along with the grated mangoes and turmeric. Pulse till the mixture is smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
  • For the oggarane, heat the peanut oil in a wide mouth pan. Throw in all the spices. Once the spices stop sizzling, dump the masala paste into the hot oil. Add 3-4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. 
  • Cover and simmer till the masala is no longer  raw and is fragrant about 15-20 minutes.
  • Adjust salt. 
  • Crack the eggs into the curry one at a time. Poach the eggs in the curry till done. I like mine with the yolks still  slightly runny, so I cook them for about 8-10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and serve it with rice or bread of choice. We had it with Chapati and Dosa.


I love avarekalu -the Indian beans. I hail from a place that is famous for Avarekalu recipes and for eating ludicrous amounts of the beans. When I was younger and lived with my parents we usually brought like 5 to 7.5 kilos (strangely produce there is sold in the multiples of 2.5 kilo called 'tooka') of this beans and ate it every which way possible Huli, Usli, Hisidabele, Uppitu and invariably the beans would find it's way into everything coming out of my mother' kitchen. Well guess what! we were the poorest of eaters in the whole neighborhood. Avarekayi vendors would give me a 'look' when I ask them for 'bari( just) 5 kilo kodappa' .My neighbors would be buying 10 or 12.5 kilos and they would giggle at me saying we were not actually a 'local'. We were not locals in a sense. We were nomads who thought had finally settled down. Wrong again, we still are nomads. But nomads who miss their beloved Avarekayi.

When my maternal grandfather was alive, he did plant these beans in his patch next to the mango groves. Me Amma and Appaji (as we called our grandfather fondly), we would go to the Avarekayi patch early in the morning and harvest baskets full of these goodies. Then my Ajji (grandmother) would make the ultimate 'Akki tari avarekalu uppittu' for breakfast. For lunch we would have something like Huli or Hitikidabele. I remember my grandmother soaking these beans in a huge bucket and making a cauldron full of curry. We would all sit and deskin the Avarekayi. It was quite tough back then, we would smear our fingers with lime and then try deskinning the beans. But these days they just  give way. Anyway, there would be mounds of skin and mounds of Hisikidabele in the living room. Eventually a big cauldron of curry in the making.  I would be so happy looking at the cauldron thinking that the curry will last for at least two days, but inevitable would always happen and I did be lucky if it lasted for another meal. For a good reason, everybody in the family ate like the end of the world that day. That is probably when I understood the meaning of our stomachs being a distensible sack. After the meal we would go and dump the discarded skin right in the middle of the road. Appaji always told me that if we did that all the Hisikidabele in our tummy will not bother us. Wonder what it was all about? feeding the stray cattle? I do not know. That was the practice.To this day I am sure it  is being practiced in my part of the world.

 We will need,
Avarekalu/ Indian beans/Papdi lilva  5 cups
Butter  3 tbsp
Fenegreek greens 1 big bunch
Curry leaves a handful
Juice of a Lemon

for the masala paste
Peanut oil 1 tsp
Onion 1 medium
Garlic  8 cloves
Ginger 1"
Cloves  8
Cinnamon 1" piece
Dhania seeds 2 tbsp
Dried red chillies 10-15 (preferably Byadagi, adjust according to taste)
Coconut grated 3/4 cup
Tomato 1 medium

  • Wash and clean the Avarekalu and soak it in water for 3-6 hours. Drain and sqeeze the beans between your thumb and forefinger to remove the skin of the beans. Discard the skin and save the endosperm which is referred to as the Hisakidabele or Hitakidabele. 
  • Clean and trim the fenugreek greens, retaining only the leaves and discarding the stems and woody portions.
  • For the masala paste, heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Toast in the hot pan, one at a time, all the vegetables except tomato and all spices listed under the masala paste.
  • Once the toasting is done, throw them all into a blender along with tomato and grind it into a very smooth paste.
  • Heat butter in a thick bottomed pot. Throw in the Hisakidabele and toss around gently in the melted butter. Saute for 10-15 minutes till the raw smell disappears.
  • Throw in the fenugreek greens and  curry leaves into the pot. Once the greens start wilting, pour in the ground masala. Add about 2-3 cups of water, even more if necessary to bring the curry to a desired consistency.  Bring the curry to a boil and simmer covered till the beans are tender and the curry fragrant.
  • Adjust salt and lemon juice. Enjoy with rice, Ragi Mudde, Roti,Dosa or Poori.

Brown Rice Paddu

I am not a person who would deliberately try and sneak in oats in every other recipe, nor am I a big fan of  brown rice. Give me my white rice, however unhealthy they might say it is, I did rather die eating my white rice than eat say the cardboard oats or brown rice. To think of it even in olden days folks in my place ate polished rice. But polish those days meant leaving the reddish tint on the rice, I presume it was all the vitamins and things intact. They never consumed unpolished-brown-rice nor did they eat the completely bleached variety that we see in the super market shelf. Probably they ate that way for a reason and taste was certainly not one of them. Now the counter-research recommend white over brown rice. Oats! Come on Mr.Quaker a.k.a Pepsico foods, you cannot have me believe that oats is the newest panache. Yeah! it is probably the most healthiest food in your stable (Pepsi, Lays,Kurkure), that does not mean I am sold or that there aren't better alternative.
Ironically, people in India (the great educated middle class) are made to believe that if you eat oats you will beat the  ubiquitous diabetes. So guess what Aunt M gives uncle B for dinner? A bowl of oats instead of rice/mudde with vegetable curry. Ha! how smart. So instead of adding a salad and cutting down on the quantity of  rice/mudde, you eat a whole big bowl of oats? It is definitely good for Pepscio foods but I doubt if it is good for uncle B. Me? No thanks. I am beyond the marketing tricks.
I just wanted to get behind all the marketing hype. So here is what happens in terms of number. Aunt M serves uncle B a bowl of oats. Uncle B eats it and gets about 607 kilo calories, 26.3 grams of  protien, 10.8 grams of fat, 16.5 grams of fiber and now the killer about 103.4 grams of carbs!

If Aunt M were to serve Uncle B the regular dinner consisting of rice, Huli (sambar/dal), green beans palya and some yogurt, then the numbers would look like this. About 636 Kcal, 22.7 grams of protein,  15.3 grams of fat (most of it saturated fat from Ghee and coconut, therefore it is good fat), 14.26 grams of fiber and just 79  grams of carbs. Since uncle B is diabetic, the regular meal with a lower carbohydrate count appears better than just the bowl of oat meal. I wounder what Aunt M has to say to this.

Calorie Protein Fat Fiber Carbs
Oats (1cup) 607 26.3 10.8 16.5 103.4
Rice 1 C 205 4 0 1 45
Chayote Huli 212 8.7 5.3 6.7 15
Green Beans Palya 148 4 8 6.6 11
Yogurt 4 oz 71 6 2 0 8
Total meal 636 22.7 15.3 14.26 79

I do not know what to say when people make poor food choices. Well they are educated, smart and successful, but then...

Now for the Paddu. I have never been a big fan of brown rice. But I can eat it once in a while. Honey in one of his 'healthy-eating-shopping-spree' got this 20lb bag of brown rice which we could not finish.  So sitting over a big bag of brown rice started me thinking  on ways to utilize it. Naturally Idli, Dose and Paddu came up. No one could make out the substitution. So  here it is the brown rice Paddus.

We will need,

For the batter,
Split urad dal  3/4 cup
Idli Rice (short grain raw rice) 3/4cup
Brown rice 1.5 cups
Beaten rice (Avalakki) 3/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds  1 tsp
Koshar salt 

For the topping
Onion 3 medium
Curry leaves  1 generous handful
Coriander leaves  1 cup chopped
Green chillies 4-5 slit into two or minced (slit into two if serving children)
Peanut oil to grease the paddu mold

  • Pick and clean the urad dal and rice. Wash each separately  in multiple changes of water. Soak them separately in generous bowls of water for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Grind separately the soaked dal and rice and the beaten rice and fenugreek in a blender/grinder into a smooth batter. Mix the batters in a big plastic container and add salt to taste. Set the container in a warm place overnight for the batter to ferment. Once the batter rises double in volume, it is ready to be used.
  • Just before ready to serve, ladle about a third of the batter into smaller container and add the ingredients under topping. The quantity of topping added can be adjusted according to taste.I love a lot in mine and end up with the above mentioned quantity of topping for about half the batter mentioned here. Fold the topping into the batter gently.
  • Preheat the Paddu mold. Grease the mold with some peanut oil.Once it is hot, spoon in the Paddu batter into the mold. Cover and cook till golden on and outside and tender on the inside.
  • Serve it hot with chutney of your choice.