I have always believed that simplicity is the USP of Kannada cuisine which augers well for busy time constrained modern life. We have no time to cook elaborate meals now, looks like our ancestors did not have time for elaborate meals either. Our everyday meals are quick and easy with a sort of no-nonsense air about it. One such meal is Uppsaaru along with Ragi Mudde/Rice. Uppsaaru is just a handful of beans/legumes, vegetables, greens or any combination of the three cooked together and served with a side of "Khara" a spicy chutney made of red chillies and garlic.  A little more refinement means draining the cooked beans and vegetables reserving the stock. And then a quick Oggarane on the cooked beans/vegetable combo. How about this for a quick weeknight meal? Make the "Khara" once and Uppsaaru is ready in no time. In fact the Khara ground in a stone mortar/pestle would last for days without any refrigeration. That was how it was done indeed, kept in the empty shell of a coconut in open air.

There are three components to a more refined version of Uppsaaru, the Palya, the Kattu or the broth and the Khara, all served separately. As we ladle rice into our plates, we make a hole in the center and pour the Kattu into the hole. Then we throw a peanut size Khara and mix everything. We increase the heat by helping ourselves for more Khara if preferred.

So here it is. Simple food at its best.

For the Palya and Kattu,

We will need,

Beans/legumes of choice I have used Alasande (red chori) 1  cup
Mixed greens  1 lb or chopped vegetables (green beans, carrots, ridge gourd etc) 1 lb
or a combination of green and vegetables
Onion 1 large
Garlic 2 cloves minced
Red chillies 2 (broken)
Peanut oil/ghee 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves a handful
Coconut fresh grated 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt and lemon juice to taste

  • Pick and wash the beans till water runs clear. Combine it with six cups of water in a pressure cook till al dente. 
  • Once the beans are cooked, throw in the greens/ vegetables and cook till vegetables are tender al dente.
  • Drain the vegetables in a colander and reserve the stock.
  • Heat oil/Ghee in a Kadai. Throw in the mustard seeds, Jeera, red chillies and curry leaves. When they crackle throw in the onions and the garlic. Saute till the onions are slightly pink. Throw in the well drained vegetable mixture.
  • Adjust salt and lemon juice. Throw in the coconut if using and remove from heat. 
  • For the Kattu, place the stock in a pot and adjust salt. Throw in a tea spoon of butter if preferred.  Serve the Palya and Kattu separately with the Khara as shown in the below picture

There are a bunch of recipes for Khara. It is nothing but one size fits all. I guess our grandmothers and their mothers were quite creative when it came to recipes like these. They just used what ever ingredient was handy, from coconut to garlic to peppers to toasted curry leaves.  Think of the recipe below as a starting point and customize is as desired. Most of the ingredients are optional except Red chillies, garlic, tamarind and salt.
We also make a green version of this Khara and call it Sapneeru.

We will need,

Byadagi chillies 10-15
Garlic 4 cloves
Pepper corn 2 tsp
Jeera 2 tsp
Tamarind extract 1/2 tsp
Jaggery 1 tsp
Kopra /dry coconut 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender with as little water as possible and grind it to a smooth paste. Better it grind it in a granite mortar/pestle
  • Keeps well for at least two weeks in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did not know about the pat of Khara with safari...sounds great!
Vani of Mysoorean