Ugadi Playbook – How to put together a traditional Ugadi feast without the fuss

Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous Kannada new year. I rarely ever end up wishing my readers on festivals. Ugadi for instance, I had grand plans of wishing my readers but turns out that I was busy cooking, eating and merry making with friends. It is good in a way that my actual life takes precedence over virtual life. But then I did really love to do a post right on time someday.

Putting together Ugadi feast is like putting together the Thanksgiving feast. The difference is probably in the calorific value of the meals though. An average Thanksgiving meal is supposed to contain about 3,000 to 4,500 calories but Ugadi meal will probably be around half the calories with a potential to trim more without anyone noticing. Looking at the number of items cooked on a day like Ugadi, putting together the feast might look very intimidating, especially for newbies. So I thought of putting together a plan – a play book to help busy folks plan and put together a traditional Ugadi meal. It is also a good time to have little hands help out here. So enlist your children and assign simple tasks.

Traditionally, Ugadi meals consists of Holige , holige Saaru , cucumber kosambari , hesaru kosambari , green beans palya , mango chitranna , a variety of payasa, papads, bhajjis/pakodas , pickles along with white rice and fresh yogurt. Dishes are added or removed depending on preferences. But this essentially is the template. I start on the weekend before Ugadi, prepare my shopping list and make sure I have all ingredients. So here comes the shopping list.

Weekend before Ugadi, shop for all necessary ingredients. If there is no time constraints or if it is possible to shops two days before Ugadi, that should also do. We will need the following ingredients to cook a meal for vegetable loving 2 adults 2 kids.

Neem flowers (for bevu bella)
roasted chickpeas (kadale pappu for bevu bella)
Kopra (also for bevu bella)
Mango leaves (for torana)

Carrots 1 large
Green beans 1lb
Cucumber 2-3 medium
Coconut 1 whole
Green Chillies 1/4 lb
Curry leaves
Tomatoes 2
Milk (optional, if making milk based payasa)

Rice 2 cups
Toor dal 2 cups (makes 15 medium size holige)
Jaggery 1 lb
Maida about 2 cups
Sugar (if called for in the payasa recipe , else Jaggery should do)
Peanut oil
Mustard seeds
Dry red chillies
Vermicelli/ sabodana/sooji/ channa dal/ moong dal as needed for Payasa
Choice of papad

Other optional ingredients:
Pulioggare mix for pulioggare
Mango pulp, fresh ripe mangoes for Seekarane
Chickpea flour for Bhajji or split chickpeas for vada

Once the ingredients are handy prepping will be a breeze.

One day before Ugadi:

  • Prepare the hoorana filling for the¬†Holige.¬† Clean the kitchen after the sticky mess of hoorana filling.
  • String the beans, wash, chop it for Palya and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the chitranna gojju and store it in the fridge
  • Grate carrots for kosambari and store it in the fridge.
  • Grate coconut if using a whole coconut. If using frozen coconut, thaw the package in the refrigerator overnight.

On the morning of Ugadi, typically we do not have breakfast, we just go ahead with a brunch. It took me two hours to put together the meal below. I had the hoorana filling prepared the previous evening. Sunny boy helped me chop the cucumber and green beans. Other kid friendly tasks include mixing the Chitranna /pulioggare, chopping coriander. I find it sad when kids raised here in the States do not like to eat Indian food. I hope that enlisting their help would make them feel the spirit of the festival also encourage them to try and eat Indian food.

  • First get the rice going. We need the rice to cool down to be able to mix chitranna/ pulioggare
  • Make the kanaka dough for holige and set it aside.It needs time to rest.
  • Make the payasa.
  • Meantime, kids work on chopping cucumbers etc.
  • Start the beans palya.
  • Next work on the Holige saaru
  • Prepare the oggarane for the kosambaris all in one batch. 
  • Assemble the kosambaris and divide the oggarane between the two types of kosambaris. 
  • Mix the pulioggare if making
  • By this time most of the dishes are done. So start on making the holige. 
  • Once the holiges are ready prepare papads/ vadas/bhajji
  • Just before the family is ready to eat, add salt and lemon juice to the kosambaris.  Mix the chitranna gojju with rice. 

Bingo the meal is ready.