Sunday, September 23, 2007

Karnataka Meals

Kedareshwara temple in Balligavi, Karnataka, India.

Karnataka is one of the four southern states of India. With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has also been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient India. Great philosophers and musical bards patronized by these empires launched socio-religious and literary movements whose ennobling effects have been felt far and wide. Karnataka has contributed significantly to both forms of Indian classical music, the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions.

The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state.

I have visited some of the most beautiful temples in Karnataka. They are rich in history and architecture.

Hampi is a small village in Karnataka, famous for ancient temples and its architecture.

Amritheswara temple in Amrithapura, Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka state, India

This is the famous Chamundi Temple at Mysore, Karnataka. This temple is located on top of a hill and the whole town of Mysore can be seen from here. This is one of my frequently visited places.

This is Nandi at Chamundi temple.

(Picture source: Wiki) click on the image to see the temples closer.
Temple at Nanjangoodu, Mysore. This is a famous Lord Shiva temple. My Father's ancestors worshiped this God. So I used to visit this temple a lot during my childhood.
Cuisine of Karnataka comprises diverse vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines.
Although the ingredients differ from one region to another, a typical Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Kosambari, Pickle, Palya, Gojju, Raita, Dessert (Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert - Paaysa), Thovve, Chitranna, Rice and Ghee.

This is the first time I am trying my hands on Karnataka cuisine. When I tasted them, to my surprise I couldn't believe that the sambar and Gojju tasted like the way my grandmother used to make. I had tried all means to bring out the taste from my grandmother's kitchen till now but like magic all the secret ingredients was hiding inside Karnataka cuisine:)
It has now become a must save recipe.

Udupi Sambar

My friend and fellow blogger Padma has made this sambar famous around the blogsphere. Udupi sambar gave me a new meaning to the word sambar. It is a thicker version of sambar and the taste keeps tingling in my taste buds.

1 cup Red gram dal/toovar dal
2 cups mixed vegetables of your choice (Drumsticks/Eggplant/Yellow pumpkin, etc diced or cubed)
6-8 whole shallots/madras sambhar onions, peeled
1 plum tomato, cut into large chunks
3-4 green chillies, cut lengthwise-slit
2 tsps tamarind pulp (I used the readymade one here)
1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
2 tsps of cilantro/coriander chopped¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp jaggery, grated
salt as per taste 

For Tempering

½ tsp mustard seeds2-3 dry red chillies
 ¼ tsp asafoetida2 tsps cooking oil

Dry roast and grind to fine paste:

2 tsps of black gram dal/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds
3 tsps of coriander seeds
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds
4 dry red chillies
¾ cup fresh or frozen (thawed) grated coconut
water as required to make smooth paste


Cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil in a cooker upto 3-4 whistles, mash it and while its still hot/warm and keep as side.
Meanwhile heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan to make the sambhar.
Add asafoetida followed by shallots/madras sambhar onions, green chillies and half of the curry leaves off the sprig, and sauté until the onions become transparent and start to leave the juices.
Add the vegetables of your choice, tomato pieces and turmeric powder, if not adding any vegetables then add more shallots/madras sambhar onions.
Cook covered until the vegetables are cooked with enough water to cover the veggies, take care to retain their shape/texture.
Once thoroughly cooked add the tamarind pulp and cook covered until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off, approx 5 mins.
Add the ground paste, jaggery and salt to taste. Sambhar should not be too thick nor too watery, so add more water if necessary. You will notice that your kitchen is filled with nice aroma of this sambhar.
Once the mixture comes to a boil add the cooked dal, mix well and check for salt.
When the sambhar just begins to boil, switch off the stove. Make sure you don’t boil the sambhar after adding the dal coz the dal will lose its soft texture.
For tempering
Heat a tsp of oil in a small kadai, add the mustard seeds, when it starts to splutter add the dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. fry for a min and pour over the sambhar.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with idlis, dosas, or plain rice.

Hagalakai Gojju(Bittermelon gojju)
This is a tamarind based hot, sweet and sour curry.


1 cup chopped Bitter melon(Bitter gourd)
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
3 tbsp Grated Coconut
1 cup tamarind water
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Brown Sugar or Jaggery
3 tbsp fresh chopped Cilantro

For Masala Powder

2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Urad dal
2 tsp Channa Dal
2 tsp Moong dal
2 tbsp roasted chana dal (roasted gram dal)
3 tbsp Grated Coconut
4-5 dry red chillies

For seasoning

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil

In a deep bottomed pan add the seasoning ingredients and let them splutter. To this add onions and fry until translucent.
Add the chopped bitter gourd, turmeric and salt and saute well on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add tamarind water and let it cook.
Meanwhile roast the masala powder ingredients until they turn slilghtly brown. Also dry roast the roasted chana dal separately along with coconut until aroma raises and grind them all together into smooth paste by adding little water.

Add this paste to the bitter gourd/tamarind mixture. Fold them all together and bring to boil on medium low heat. Add Jaggery or brown sugar and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and remove from heat. If the gojju becomes thick, add very little water.
I couldn't believe my eyes, the gojju brought back the taste of my grandmother's kitchen. The credit goes to RCI.

Polodya (Plantain-buttermilk curry)
This is a buttermilk based curry, with a blend of tamarind and coconut too.


1 cup Raw Banana/Plantain(peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks)
2 cups Water
1/2 tbsp Tamarind Paste
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar(optional, I did not use)
1 1/2 cup Buttermilk

For Masala

1 tsp Channa Dal
1/2 tsp raw uncooked Rice
2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Oil
2 Green Chilli
1/2 cup Fresh Grated Coconut
1/2 cup Water

For Seasoning

1 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Red Chilli
1 1/2 tsp Oil
1/8 Asafoedita


To a medium sized pan add banana chunks and water. Also Add salt, Tamarind paste and jaggery. Cover the pan and cook on medium low flame until the plantain chunks are well cooked.

In the meantime soak channa dal and uncooked rice in water for at least 15-20 minutes. Put coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small pan and heat it until the mustard seeds start spluttering. Then grind channa dal, uncooked rice, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, green chillis, and coconut along with water.

Once the plantain chunks are cooked, add the ground masala paste and let the mixture boil once. Remove it from the heat and season it. When it cools down add buttermilk and fold together.
Note:You can use okra or raw jackfruit or cucumber instead of raw plantain.

Hesaru Bele-Akki payasa (moong bean-rice porridge)

This recipe is a famous sweet dish called as Payasa at Kannada Brahmin household.


1 cup Rice
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 cup jaggery (grated)
3/4 cup grated coconut
1 tsp Cardamom powder
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup whole milk or 1/2 cup condensed milk or 1 cup evaporated milk
8-10 Cashew nuts
1 tbsp raisins


Fry the moong dal in a pan until light brown. Cook the dal in pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
wash rice and cook separately. To a sauce pan add the milk(I used evaporated milk), crushed cardamom powder, jaggery and bring to boil. I used sugar and jaggery in equal proportion.
Add the moong dal and rice to this and bring to boil. Let the mixture thicken a little. Add grated coconut and leave it on medium low flame.
Separately fry the cashewnuts and Raisins in ghee till golden brown. Garnish this on the payasa. Delicious Hesaru bele-akki payasa is ready.

This is store bought mango pickle. Pickles are a must have on plate at the south Indian household.

This is my contribution to RCI Karnataka hosted by the very talented and friendly Asha.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chow Chow Bhath

This is one of my entries for the RCI Karnataka hosted by dear Asha. Chow Chow Bhath being my favorite breakfast at Kamat, Bangalore, I couldn't stop myself from posting it. I used to enjoy it with a cup of hot filter coffee.

Chow chow bhath is basically a combination of breakfast which has sweet and savory on the same plate. One is upma or uppittu and the other is halwa or kesari. Both are made of Semolina/sooji.



2 cups semolina/sooji/rava
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onions
1tbsp chopped ginger
1-2 green chillies
1 cup vegetables (peas, beans, carrots, corn)
1tbsp peanuts/groundnuts
5-8 cashew nuts
1/2 tsp split urad dal
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chana dal
curry leaves
3-4 tbsp oil


In a deep bottomed pan, roast the semolina on medium low flame for 5 minutes.
In another pan add oil. Once it gets heated up splutter it with mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts,curry leaves and cashew nuts. Once they get fried well, add ginger, chillies and onions and fry well. To this add vegetables and fry for another 5 minutes. Add warm water and salt. Bring the water to boil. Slowly add the semolina and simultaneously keep stirring it. Lower the heat to medium low and stir well so that no lumps are formed. Lower the gas stove and cover it with lid and leave for 5 minutes. Delicious Upma/Uppittu is ready. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Kesari / Halwa


1 cup semolina/sooji/rava
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
a dash of orange food color(optional)
4-5 tbsp Ghee/clarified butter
5-8 cashew nuts
2 tbsp raisins
1/3 cup pineapple chunks (optional)


In a deep bottomed pan roast the semolina for 5 minutes on medium low heat. In another pan add 1tbsp ghee/clarified butter. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins till golden brown. Remove it from the pan and keep aside. Add the remaining ghee to the pan. To this fold in the semolina. In a cup of warm water dissolve the food color.
Add the water to the semolina. Also pour the remaining 1/2 cup water and stir well on medium low heat. Also add Sugar. Once the water is absorbed fold in pineapple chunks, cashew nuts and raisins. Leave it on low heat of few minutes. Serve hot.

Asha, coming up is my Karnataka feast!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Banana Walnut Bread!

I have no time and got to address so many events. There were some bananas getting ripe and staring at me after all the festivals in our house. Thought of making one of my favorite recipes "Banana Walnut Bread".

I always remember it coming out of the oven with a mind blowing aroma and then vanishes in minutes. This one goes to Coffee's MBP. I discovered this recipe from "Splenda". I was at a billing counter waiting for my turn, grabbed this small splenda recipe book near by and found this recipe which needed only bananas and "No Eggs". But how do I remember the measurements? Quickly noted its website and found a lot of beautiful recipes.
This also goes to JFI Banana hosted by Mandira of Ahaar.


1 1/3 cups All purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1tsp Baking powder
1/2tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (3 large )
1/3 cup buttermilk
2tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (thats my special effect)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Blend flour,sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Add oil, buttermilk and vanilla to mashed bananas and mix well. Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and blend.
Add chopped walnuts and coconut flakes. Stir until just mixed.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until center is set.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi-(Ganesh Festival) is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, is widely worshiped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

During the Ganesha festival, Indian household worships a statue of Shri Ganesha. The worship lasts an odd number of days from 1 to 11 days, sometimes 13.

This festival starting with the installation of beautifully engraved (sculptured) Ganesh idols in colorfully decorated homes and mantapas (small stage). The idols are worshiped with families and friends.

The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modagam or modakam in South India). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the Karanji (karjjikai in Telugu & Kannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has the shape of the 4th day moon.
(Source Wiki)

This is how we celebrated. Usually a Ganesh idol made of clay is bought home and is worshiped for 10 days. Being here in US, I made a Ganesha at home out of Turmeric. It gave us immense pleasure to worship an Idol made with my own hands.

After Pooja and Nievedyam

We worship him with different kind of leaves, flowers, fruits and Grass.
I had made Modaks (Kozukattai) and Channa (sundal/ sanegalu) for neivedyam.

Being a first timer to make modaks, I was not very perfect at it. So no recipes please:(

So how did you all like my little handmade Ganesha??

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Paneer Pizza

This was my first attempt to make a pizza right from scratch and it was a great success.
I have used my own imaginations from the sauces to the topping and it came out really well.

Making the pizza dough


Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas

1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar


In half the cup of warm water dissolve the pack of yeast. Add a tsp sugar to feed it. let it sit for a few minutes until it foams up. Add flour, salt, water and yeast mixture to your electric mixer or a mixing bowl to make a smooth and elastic dough.
The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. I used my hands to knead the dough.
Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.

This dough can be kept in the fridge for a week if you want to make it ahead. I had some dough left which I saved for the week ahead.

Pizza Topping


1/2 cup medium chopped oinons
1/2 cup Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
1/2 cup medium chopped pineapple chunks (I used dole chunks)
1/2 cup meduim chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup meduium chopped capsicum
3-4 tbsp tomato puree or sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp ginger/garlic paste
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp Bombay sandwich spread (found at the Indian store)
1 tbsp Samosa Chutney (found at the Indian store)
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese


Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
Once the pizza dough has raised, as seen in the picture, Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

Take a ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Use your finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes.

I used a normal baking tray, transfered the pizza base to the tray with very little flour on the bottom of the tray, so that the dough does not stick.
Now add the topping. Mix up the tomato puree/sauce (store brought), ketchup, ginger/garlic paste, Italian seasoning, sandwich spread, chutney in a bowl. I wanted a little Indian flavor on my pizza, so I added some different varieties of chutneys to my pizza.
You can create your own tomato base or buy a ready made one. Spread the sauce on the pizza base evenly. Now top it with onions, cottage cheese (paneer), pineapple chunks, tomatoes, capsicum and finally sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese.
Bake pizza until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, for about 10-15 minutes.