Bari Soppina Saaru

I love  regional Indian cuisine. The robust Punjabi dishes, the refined and elegant Awadhi dishes, the rich and royal Hydrabadi, the elaborate Chettinadu cuisine, all of them are my favorites. My own Kannda cuisine is nothing like any of these more popular cuisine, I cannot claim Kannada cuisine to be refined and elegant like Awadhi dishes, nor is it rich and royal like Hydrabadi or Mughali or even robust like Punjabi but it is earthy, simple and unpretentious. Kannda food is what Kannadigas are, simple. What we grew we ate in the most simple fashion. I guess we are a no-nonsense, to the point creed when it comes to our food..A can think more than a dozen dishes with few ingredients than finger in my hands. And yes Kannda cuisine is not just the fare we get at the ubiquitous 'Udupi  hotel's around the world.

Here is one example of a classic Kannadiga dish. This dish is an example of how people ate in the era before the advent of super markets stocking all sort of produce all the year round. Back in the days (i have seen them too, so it was not like 200 years ago) in the smaller towns, we had a weekly market "Sante". We would buy most of our produce for the week there like onions, tomatoes, garlic ginger etc. The rest of the week farmers would hawk their wears in a bamboo basket right on your doorstep especially your regular ones. They would sell freshly harvested greens and things that would not survive till the next "Sante". (and yes, cold storage is still unheard of in a large part of our large country). This dish is from that era, when your pantry staples came from a Sante and a farmer just sold you freshly harvested greens right at your doorstep. 

We will need,

Assorted fresh greens 1 lb
Onions 4 medium
Coconut 1 cup (grated)
Garlic cloves 5-6
Chillies 4 green and 2 red dry (dry chillies optional)
Tamarind paste 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil /peanut oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste

  • Wash and chop the greens. Put it in a big pot, along with half of the coconut and  2 cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil. Once the greens are tender i.e the first boil, turn off the heat and pour the mixture over a sieve collecting the drained cooking liquid in a another pot. Set aside the cooked greens. 
  • Throw in the remaining coconut, two cloves of garlic, green chilly, jeera , tamarind  and little water into a blender and pulse till the mixture is very smooth.. Remove the mixture into a  pot and cook it till the raw smell of the masala disappears. 
  • Once the masala paste smells fragrant pour in the cooking liquid strained from the greens. Adjust salt and bring it to a rolling boil. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from fire.
  • Chop onions and remaining garlic. 
  • Heat oil in a Kadai, throw in the mustard and red chillies if using. Once fragrant throw in the onion and garlic. Once the onion is golden brown, throw in the cooked greens. adjust salt and add lemon juice if preferred. Serve with Ragi Mudde or rice.

1 comment:

Priya Suresh said...

just a bowl of rice is enough for me to enjoy this healthy green saaru.