Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Horsegram Soup (Kulitha Saaru/ Hurali Saaru)

This year we witnessed an uncommon heat wave. With temperatures soaring high my tiny matchbox kitchen feels like a furnace, my motivation to cook elaborate dishes has changed to quick cook recipes. I prefer recipes which takes less than 15 or 30 minutes to cook. More often than not, Saaru and Upkari seems to be the order of the day - simple, healthy and nutritious.

Horsegram is one of the most widely used pulse in Konkani cuisine. It is also known as Kulith in GSB Konkani and Hurali in Kannada. I get my stash from India; the only problem with the quality of pulse we get is more often than not they have lot of stones and grime. Hence the entire stash needs a round or two of thorough cleaning before use. Another quirky nature of this legume is that its loaded with heat giving property (garmi). Ammama served this with a dollop of home made butter and I prefer it that way. Use your choice as per your dietary practice. Many many decades ago, we had a tiny stable with cows who were my Ajja's and Ammama's beloved ones, their names were Ganga and Yamuna. She soaked couple of padee's of horsegram and boiled them in a gigantic copper pot the next day; the stock was preserved for making Saaru for the entire family and the cows happily munched on the boiled legume.

Horsegram is a storehouse of Iron. It is primarily a cattle feed, it is believed to improve the dexterity of their calve muscles and improve their bone strength. In many Konkani homes I know, this Saaru is regularly fed to growing kids for strong calf muscle strength and dexterity. The horsegram is of dubious nature when it comes to cook time, sometimes the legumes cook in a blink and sometimes they take hours together, all this is relative to the yield of crop, gene pool of seeds and the harvest season as well. Some of the other dishes made using Horsegram are Kulith Idli (Sannan), Kulitha Chutney, Kulith Koddel, Kulith Upkari.

~ Kulitha Saaru ~
Preparation time: Soak time of 8-10 hours

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Horsegram (Kulith) stock - 3 cups
Cooked Horsegram - 3 tbsp
Green Chillies (slit lengthwise) - 2

For seasoning -
Red Chilli (Byadgi) - 1
Garlic jumbo pods (crushed) - 4-6

Soak the horsegram in ten times the volume of water after thoroughly cleaning them and rinsing them in three changes of water. They will proliferate in size the next day around. Pressure cook them for 4-6 whistles with little salt and a tsp of oil. Once cool, strain off the stock (cooked liquor) and set aside 3 tbsp of cooked horsegram. Set aside the rest of the cooked horsegram.
Bring the cookes stock to a rolling boil, season with salt, green chillies. Blend the cooked horsegram to a puree with little water. Add this paste to the boiling stock. Bring to boil and simmer on low flame for 5-8 minutes, cook till the rawness goes off and the stock is a smooth blend. In a separate frying pan, heat few spoons of oil and season with red chilli split into two and crushed garlic. Saute till the garlic turns light brown. Pour this seasoning on the cooked stock and cover with a lid. Mix while serving and if desired, serve with a dollop of butter (home made). Pair with white rice.

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