Monday, August 2, 2010

Lentil Spicy Soup (Bele Saaru/ Udupi Daali Saaru)

Bele Saaru or Udupi Daali Saaru is an amalgamation of Daal + Saaru. The final product which you get when you marry both is Udupi Daali Saaru or Bele Saaru. This approach of cooking Daal along with Saaru is very popular and sought after in Udupi & Mangalore regions, also practised in Kannada/ Karnataka cuisines. This version is a far cry from the traditional Tomato Rasam or Tomato Saaru Recipe. The only twist here is the addition of Daal plus the consistency is more thicker and not as thin and soupy as Rasam.

If you are making a big batch of this recipe, try putting a bunch of Coriander leaves and Curry leaves tied together as a Herb Bouquet in the soup. Else, put all the herbs in a muslin cloth, tie off the ends and dunk in the soup. Discard once the soup is ready. I believe this is the chef's little secret to get the 'precise' flavour for Saaru. This is one of the approaches still practised in Udupi Krishna Temple where more than 5000+ people enjoy temple food preparations cooked by Shivalli Brahmins cooks; this Saaru is served as part of lunch and dinner to a huge mass of devotees thronging to the holy abode from nooks and corners of the world. I recall watching it on a Travel and Living documentary on Udupi Temple food served on Plantain leaf hosted by Padma Lakshmi ; simply incorporated this method into my recipe. :)

I am forever bowled over by this humble recipe which fuses two cooking methods of Daal and Saaru. In my home, this is a regular one. Daal adds volume and provides the much required pep to improve the texture. Feel sick, just slurp this up from a mug.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

Toor Daal (cooked) - 1 cup
Tomatoes (finely chopped and pulsed) - 3/4 cup
Rasam powder - 2 teaspoon
Green Chillies (sliced) - 2
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander leaves (chopped) - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1 teaspoon
Herb Bouquet - Coriander leaves + Curry leaves strands (bunch of 2-3 strands tied together)

For Seasoning -
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Oil/ Ghee

Cook Toor Daal in a pressure cooker and keep aside. Pulse the tomatoes in blender to rough chops or manually crush them with your hands. Add Toor Daal paste to this. Bring to boil with Green Chillies and the Herb Bouquet. Add Rasam powder, Turmeric powder, Jaggery, Asafoetida powder and adjust salt & water as per taste. Simmer on low flame for 10 minutes. Turn off flame once completely cooked.
In a separate pan, heat few spoons of Oil/ Ghee, add Mustard seeds, once they begin to pop add Curry leaves and saute. Turn off flame and pour this seasoning over the cooked Daal consistency. Garnish with chopped Coriander leaves. Serve hot with warm rice and a dollop of Ghee.


  1. Saaru looks good. Nice to come across another konkani blog :).

  2. @ Aparna - Thanks for the kind words.


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