Though majjige huli is made from a variety of vegetables, boodu kumbala kaayi or ash gourd majjige huli is a favorite, the combination of this vegetable in the tangy gravy is a match made in heaven and easily takes the crown away from the other versions. The porous structure of the vegetable helps soak up the gravy well and you can taste it with every bite.
One of my uncles lived in North India and every time during their annual visit, we used to have this majjige huli on the menu as it was my aunt's favorite. She preferred my dad's preparation of this dish and would work through nammamma to let know of her liking for a thicker majjige huli as she wouldn't dare tell that directly to my father (as he was her husband's elder brother) :-)). The thickness of the gravy depends on the amount of chana dal you use as it tends to add bulk to the gravy on boiling and cooling. I like a creamy, pouring consistency which slowly drips onto your plate which can then be mixed with rice or dunked in by rotis.
What do you need to make Majjige huli?
1.5 cups sour yogurt/curds, 2 days old tastes good :-), use sour cream as a poor replacement
Ash gourd - peeled, de-seeded and cut into bite size pieces about 2 cups
1/2 Tsp turmeric
1 Tblsp salt
Ingredients for masala:
1.5 Tblsp chanadal/kadle bele soaked in water for an hour or till it softens & swells up
1 Tblsp grated coconut - fresh or frozen
4-5 green chilies, adjust to taste, you will need more chilies if your yogurt is sour
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 Tsp cumin seeds
A handful of cilantro/coriander leaves
1 Tsp cooking oil
1 Tsp mustard seeds
1 Tsp cumin seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 red chili broken into 2 pieces
1/2 Tsp asafoetida
How do you make majjige huli?
- Boil the ash gourd pieces in water, turmeric and salt till the pieces are soft to touch.
- Prepare masala by grinding all ingredients under masala with 1/2 cup of water.
- Pour the masala into the pan with ash gourd, let it come to a gentle boil.
- Whisk the curds till smooth and add it to the gravy and let it boil once before switching it off.
- Prepare vaggarane by heating oil, add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilies and wait for mustard & cumin to splutter.
- Pour the sizzling vaggarane on top of the majjige huli.
- Serve it hot or cold with rice or rotis.
- The amount of chana dal changes the consistency of the final product, I like this proportion in my gravy, adjust to suit your taste.
- Majjige huli tastes best when the yogurt is sour, do not use fresh curds in this recipe.
- Add the masala as soon the vegetable pieces are just cooked since ash gourd cooks further when you boil it with masala. The vegetable being high in water content tends to dissolve with prolonged boiling.
- Do not boil for long after adding the whisked yogurt as it will curdle with heat and spoils the creamy texture of the majjige huli.
- As I said before use sour cream in the dire situation you don't have curds but my tip is to beg and borrow some home made curds if you can - I know this sounds extreme but I am extremely partial to home made curds and the taste it imparts to the majjige huli.