Category Archives: Kannadiga Cooking

Maavinakaai Chitranna (Raw mango rice)

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Maavinakai chitranna

Maavinakai chitranna

Sharing a recipe after a hiatus of almost a year! Breaking the no-post bad spell with an authentic kannadiga recipe which I love. I made this today and shared it with a friend. Her son liked it so much that she decided to try it too. So for her benefit and hopefully others too, here’s the recipe.

The recipe:
Source – Mum
Cooking time – 20 mins
Serves – 2 – 3

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 medium sized raw mango (grated)
  • 4 tablespoon coconut (grated)
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste

For seasoning

  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp channa dal
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 dried red chilli (broken into bits)
  • 1 strand of curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil

How to make it:
1. Pressure cook rice with a pinch of salt and a few drops of oil. Use a little lesser water than you would normally so that the rice is not too mushy and soft.
2. While the rice is cooking, grind the coconut, dried chillies, mustard seeds, hing and turmeric into a fine paste with as little water as necessary.
3. Now, we need to prepare the seasoning – For this, to a heated pan, add 1 tbsp oil. Once it’s hot, reduce the flame to medium and add the mustard seeds; let it crackle. Then add the channa dal and let it turn reddish color. As it’s getting roasted add the urad dal, dried chili bits. Finally let the curry leaves in and let them splutter.
4. Pour in the ground mixture to the pan and stir it until the raw smell disappears (or around 5 minutes). Add salt to taste and turn of the stove.
5. As you wait for the mixture to get cooked, peel and grate the raw mango.
6. Add the raw mango to the mixture after turning off the stove. Add rice and mix well. Check for salt before serving.

Note:
– Fluff the rice a bit by cooling it on a plate or a wide bowl before mixing to ensure the rice doesn’t break or get mushy.
– If the raw mango isn’t very sour, you can add a bit of tamarind pulp water into the mixture as it cooks.
– You can make this rice with a variation using onions instead of raw mango – Thinly slice the onions and add to the ground mixture as it cooks in the pan and add tamarind water from a small lime sized ball of tamarind. Cook until most of the water evaporates.

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Baked Thatai/Nippatu

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I’ve been waiting with eagerness the whole of last week to share this recipe as a ‘gokulashtami’ / ‘janmashtami’ special and here goes! I love savory crunchy tidbits synonymous to the festival season in India. But what I don’t like is the fact that most often they are all deep fried. Thatai in Tamil or Nippatu in Kannada is a snack made from rice flour and some spices and shaped like flat little plates, and hence the name in Tamil. Now that I have started expanding my cooking capabilities, I decided to be a little adventurous and tried a healthy baked version of the traditional Thatai. Of course I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to ruin it. But it turns out that baked Thatai is really simple to make. It doesn’t use too much oil and can be just as crispy and crunchy as the deep fried version.

For the first time, I made sure to take snapshots of all the steps. So this post has step by step illustration of the recipe. 🙂

Crunchy baked Thatai

The recipe:
Source – my Paati (maternal grandmother)
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Baking time – 20 minutes
Makes around 20 mid sized Thatai

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup rice flour
2 tbsp Urad dal (roasted and ground into a flour)
3 tbsp grated coconut
2 tbsp Channa dal (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
2 tbsp peanuts (roasted and crushed into big bits)
1/2 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
2 tbsp oil (to mix into the dough)
A few chopped curry leaves
Salt to taste

2-3 tbsp oil for baking

How to make it:

1. Lightly roast the urad dal for a couple of minutes. Let it cool and then grind it into a smooth flour.

Lightly roasted urad dal, waiting to be ground

2. Mix all the ingredients together.

All the ingredients, ready to be mixed

3. Add a little water and knead it into a workable dough.

The Thatai dough

4. Let the oven preheat to 350 deg F and grease the baking tray with 1 tbsp of oil.

5. Now to flatten out the thatais, break lime sized balls from the dough, roll it into a smooth ball. Add a drop of oil on your palm and start flattening the ball. This step can be a little tricky and the thatai might start sticking to your hand. If it does so flatten it out on your palm just a little, then transfer it to the baking tray and then flatten it out further. (I moved them from the plate to the tray just before baking it.)

Thatai – before baking

6. Fill out the baking tray neatly and place it into the preheated oven. After 10 minutes, take them out and flip them over and continue to bake them for 10-15 more minutes, until reddish brown in color. (You can reduce the temperature to 300 F after the first 10 minutes.)

7. Let them cool over some paper towels and then store in an airtight container.

Additional notes:

  1. By adjusting the level of urad dal flour, you can play the level of crispness vs. brittleness. We like it slightly brittle at home, giving our teeth something to work on. So I used a tad lesser urad dal flour.
  2. I had a little trouble getting the edges of the thatai to be neat and circular. My mother explained that this could be because the rice flour wasn’t smooth enough. So it might be useful to seive the flour if its not too smooth.
  3. I was worried about the thatai sticking to the tray while baking, but it was so easy to remove, thanks to the lack of any gluten in the mixture. 🙂

Palak Thambuli (Spiced Spinach Yogurt Purée)

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For those of you not familiar with dishes from Karnataka, presenting to you the humble thambuli. This is a kind of raita containing a ground mixture of peppercorns, cumin seeds and some greens or roots like ginger. It is a staple in many homes in coastal Karnataka and regions in the western ghats, forming the first course of the meal. We were introduced to this dish at a very young age from my aunt who hails from Sirsi and from then it became my favorite, so my mum made it very often. This is usually eaten with rice right at the beginning of the meal and it’s known to help in digestion and has other medicinal values based on the type of thambuli. I’m posting this recipe following a request from a close friend, Shri. 🙂

Now that we’re done with my history with thambuli and other trivia, let’s move on to the recipe. 🙂 I made Spinach thambuli this time.

Spinach Thambuli

The Recipe:

Source – My aunt (Dodamma)
Cooking time – 10 mins

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup or a handful of spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh coconut, grated
  • 1 cup fresh curd (preferably cold from the fridge)
  • 4-5 peppercorns, or 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tsp ghee or butter (you can use oil if you don’t have or don’t like ghee)
  • salt to taste

For the seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp ghee or oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • A few curry leaves

How to make it:

  1. Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the whole peppercorns, cumin seeds, and dried chili.
  2. Once the chili is roasted, add the chopped spinach and cook for around 3-5 minutes until the spinach is done. Let this mixture cool.
  3. Once slightly cool, blend it along with the coconut until it turns into an almost fine pulp.
  4. Now pour in the curd and add salt and give it one whizz, just sufficient to mix it.
  5. Heat a little more ghee in the same pan used earlier, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add the curry leaves bits and hing and season the thambuli. Serve chilled along with rice right in the beginning of lunch.

Additional thoughts:

  1. It is suggested to use ghee or butter because that adds a special aroma that becomes characteristic to this dish, so try using it and you will notice a nice waft in the air and in your thambuli. 🙂
  2. A variety of thambuli can be made by substituting spinach with other ingredients like ginger, Brahmi (a herb supposedly good for the brain), doddapatre (another commonly grown herb in south India, known as omavalli in Tamil. I’ve  linked it to its closest cousin on wikipedia), and kachisoppu (another garden herb with berries, for which I couldn’t find a link). If you’ve come across other types, please share them with me. I’ll be happy to try it sometime.
  3. By the way, thambuli is pronounced as <thumb>(like the finger) and <uLi> (touching the tongue to your upper palette when you say the ‘L’ sound). 🙂
  4. Lastly, the picture shows some spring onions in the background. They are only present to beautify the photo and are not actually used in this recipe. 😛

Majjige Huli (Morkozhambu)

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Week 1, Recipe 2

OK folks, so here’s the second recipe as part of the mini marathon this month. Majjige huli in Kannada or Morkozhambu in Tamil is a curd based sambar most famous for its appearance during weddings and the festive season. It is often served along with other types of sambar like hulthove in kannadiga weddings. This can be made with different types of vegetables and the popular ones are ash-gourd, ladies finger, drumstick. My mum also makes it with the leaves and stem from amaranth (known as dhantina soppu in kannada). This time I’ve made it with drumstick. Anyway, let’s get started with the recipe under the spotlight, Drumstick Majjige Huli.

Majjige Huli / Morkozhambu

The Recipe:

Source – Mum

Preparation time – 15 minutes

Cooking time – 15 minutes

Serves – 3-4

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 drumsticks (chopped) (or 1 big cup of veggies like ash-gourd or bhindi chopped into thumb sized pieces)
  • 2 tbsp channa dal (Bengal gram dal)
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (Dhania)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 green chillies
  • 4 heaped tbsp coconut (grated)
  • 3-4 strands fresh coriander leaves)
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 cups curd (preferably slightly sour)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp freshly squeezed tamarind pulp (optional)
  • salt to taste

For the seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • a generous pinch of hing
  • a few curry leaves

How to make it:

  1. Soak the channa dal in warm water for 2-3 hours.
  2. Take 1.5 cups of water in a vessel and boil the chopped vegetable (drumstick in this case). If you’re using bhindi, first saute it in a pan with a little oil and then boil it in water. Add a small pinch of turmeric and salt to it.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, grind the dal along with the dhania seeds, jeera, red chillies and green chillies, coconut, coriander, and hing. Make sure to grind it into a fairly smooth paste.
  4. Add the mixture to the boiling vegetable. Add one cup of water and continue boiling for another 10 minutes until the mixture is cooked.
  5. Once ready, add the curd. Using tamarind is a good trick if you want achieve the right level of sourness when you don’t have sour curd. If you’re using the readymade concentrated tamarind, then 1 tsp should be sufficient.
  6. Upon adding the curd boil for a maximum of 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook at this stage since the the curd will begin to break away leaving behind water. Give it a quick taste check and its almost ready.
  7. Last step, seasoning. Heat the pan with oil. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Turn off the stove and add the hing and curry leaves and the dish is ready to be served piping hot with rice.

Note: In case you want to make this dish in advance and you’re not serving it right away, then hold off step 6 and 7. Keep everything ready and add the curd and boil for a couple of minutes just before serving.

My recipe is kind of a cross between the kannadiga and tamilian versions. Ash-gourd, drumstick and bhindi are the most popular veggies used. Have you ever eaten majjige huli/morkozhambu made of other vegetables? I’d love to try them. 🙂

Heeray Kaayi Mosaru Bajji (Ridge gourd raita)

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This is an interesting recipe for a raita, quite different from the conventional raita recipes but fairly simple to whip up. This dish has Havyaka origins from Karnataka, but it has been modified and innovated upon as it changed hands in my family. I borrowed this recipe from my mum. A cool thing with this dish is that its goes down well even with those who don’t usually like members of the gourd family. I have the husband as proof of that. 🙂

The recipe:

Preparation time – 5 minutes

Cooking time – 10 minutes

Serves 4

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ridge gourd (Thurai in Hindi/Heeraykai in Kannada/Peerkangai in Tamil)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups of yogurt/curd

How to make it:

1. Wash, peel and chop up the ridge gourd into medium sized bits. You don’t have to be too careful with chopping since we’re cooking them very soon.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. When sufficiently warm, add in the chillies, urad dal and sesame seeds and fry until the dal turns golden brown ( it takes very little time).

3. Once the urad dal and sesame seeds are roasted add in the chopped ridge gourd and cook until it turns soft (around 5 – 7 minutes). Let this mixture cook for a bit.

4. Blend the cooked mixture, coconut, hing and salt in a mixer (or with a hand blender) into a fairly smooth pulp.

5. Add in the yogurt and give it just one whizz in the mixer and the raita is ready.

You can serve it along with rice, as a side dish to Sambar or Rasam. It tastes best when you use cold yogurt or chill it before serving. I love using this as a dip with dosas as well.

Until next time…keep the curry leaves ready!