Monday, April 15, 2013

Sprouted horsegram saaru - rustic & homely to make you all warm & cozy

Oh, I could have sworn we entered Spring officially a couple of weeks back. The temperatures do not seem to agree with the calendar though :-). After a wonderful Spring like weather, this week feels chillier and breezier. But what the heck, I am not complaining as I love the rains and the greenery it brings. This is how the sky looked after a quick storm earlier this afternoon.
Came back late Friday and just been lazying with family over the weekend. Had a good business trip, no flight related tales this time around :-) and I am home safe and sound. We missed celebrating Ugadi last Wednesday, though DD & BH were all talks before I left about how they will make the Ugadi pachadi by themselves, it just didn't happen :-). But DD made sure I got a green mango last evening when we went for groceries and I will be making some (post Ugadi) pachadi this week. Here is wishing all of you a Prosperous, Happy, healthy new year 'Vijaya'. I love the ring of that name.

As I haven't picked up on cooking and clicking yet this week, I was looking through the drafts I have and found this perfect-for-today's-weather Molake Hurali kaalu saaru a.k.a Sprouted horse gram rasam, looking at the pictures made me all warm and happy and got into the mood for writing this post :-). The name is a mouthful and do not flinch if you have never heard of horsegram or tasted it before. It is very well suited for human consumption and in fact I find it to be one of the tastier proteins. The last time I made this was before my hurried India trip in January and the pictures promptly had gone into the draft folder.

Today's recipe is a very authentic recipe from nammamma's kitchen. Full of sprouted goodness, this is one of those ultimate comfort foods when you crave for home tastes and eating a bowl of this warm stew makes you feel all comfy and contented in your elements. Nammamma made this combination of saaru and palya mostly in winter. I believe it is the inherent warming properties of the grain that helps you keep the system warm and cozy. A plate made of green banana leaf from the backyard, hot rice, piping hot saaru with a side of the palya and may be a roasted papad would be a meal in culinary heaven. Sit down on the floor cross legged, manage the rice and the saaru deftly so it doesn't flow out of that banana leaf and eat warm morsels, I can feel warm and cozy all over just thinking about it.
Amma either made this sprouted version of the saaru & palya or she would mix soaked horsegram with other pulses and make a sweet and khara curry. I love both. I will show you how to make the sweet and khara palya another day.

The Kannadiga saaru has many different avatars. Some have lentils and use a pre-prepared powder (saaru pudi), some are made with just tomatoes and some special ones like this and the bassaru are prepared with fresh roasted and ground masala. Sprouted horsegram saaru is by no means the usual saaru, the consistency is much thicker than a regular saaru, it is almost like a stew. It is also unique in flavor and taste as it uses freshly roasted and ground masala. One of my friend's amma makes it with an overdose of garlic which they relish but I usually compensate that flavor with onions and roasted coriander seeds. This is thicker than the regular saaru and hence can be just eaten by itself from a bowl :-), perfect for a chilly afternoon lunch or dinner. In our house, nammamma always kept aside a cup or two of the cooked sprouts for the usali in addition to making this saaru which is a wonderful accompaniment for rotis or can be eaten as an afternoon snack.

Usali is a common term in Kannada used for semi dry curries made with either sprouts or plain legumes & pulses. If making on festival days, there will not be any onion flavors but on other days there was no restriction and would depend on what you fancied. The commonality between usali (which is also called Sundal in other South Indian languages) and the quintessential Kannadiga palya is that the palya is usually only vegetables while usali is only pulses, dals and legumes.

You need to plan ahead for this dish as sprouting generally takes 2-3 days depending on the weather.

What do you need to make sprouted horsegram saaru? 
3 cups horsegram sprouted
1 medium onion - roughly chopped
1 small tomato- roughly chopped
2 Tblsp grated coconut
1 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
small lime sized tamarind - soaked in water for about 30 minutes
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional - I have not used it)
Spices to be roasted: 
2 Tblsp coriander seeds
1 Tsp cumin
6-8 red chilies (adjust to taste & fieryness of the red chilies you have)
2 pieces cinnamon - 2 inch long
1 clove
2 black pepper
1 Tsp oil
Palya ingredients:
1 cup sprouted horsegram
1/2 cup thinly chopped onion
1 Tblsp grated coconut
1 Tsp oil
1 Tsp mustard
2 green chilies - slit vertically
4-5 curry leaves
1/8 Tsp asafoetida
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)

How do you make sprouted horsegram saaru? 
  • See notes below for tips on sprouting the horsegram. 
  • Add 4 cups of water to the sprouts along with 1/2 Tsp salt and cook it in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 whistles. Note: Horsegram takes time to cook and it is not efficient to open cook it. 
  • Run the sprouts through a sieve and reserve the water. 
  • Heat a Tsp of oil in a pan and roast all ingredients listed under 'Spices to be roasted' until you smell a nice aroma of the coriander seeds and cinnamon - takes 4-6 minutes depending on the heat. 
  • Let the spices cool down, take them to a mixer, add grated coconut, chopped onion, garlic (if using), tomato and soaked tamarind along with 1/2 cup of cooked sprouts. Grind it to a smooth paste adding water as needed. 
  • Bring the reserved water to a boil, add the ground masala, 2.5 cups of cooked sprouts and salt. Let it boil for 5-7 minutes on medium heat or until there is no trace of the raw smell of onion and tomato.
  • Switch off and serve warm or hot with rice or roti. 
How do you make sprouted horsegram palya? 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan, add mustard, slit green chilies and curry leaves. Let mustard pop. 
  • Add asafoetida and mix it in. 
  • Add the chopped onions (if using) and salt. Stir and continue to cook until onions turn light pink and become limp. 
  • Add the strained, cooked sprouts (1 cup), salt and grated coconut and mix it well. 
  • Let cook for a couple of minutes until it becomes slightly dry. 
  • Serve warm along with the rice & saaru or as a snack by itself. 
  • Making horsegram sprouts: Pick and clean horse gram if needed. wash it 2-3 times in running water and soak it in 3 times water overnight or 8-10 hours. The next morning, drain out the water, put the horse gram in a cheese cloth or thin towel, wrap it nicely and keep it in a warm and dark place. Sprinkle a couple of spoons of water every 6 or 7 hours as the towel gets dry. Do not open and peek in :-) for 24-30 hours. If your sprouts have an accelerated growth, you will start to notice the whiskers trying to poke out of the cloth. 
  • I like to cook pulses and sprouts with a little bit of salt as it gets applied uniformly to every grain. So remember that you have added salt initially. 
  • Sprouts need to be cooked until soft but holding their shape. 
  • I usually grind the soaked tamarind along with the other ingredients after removing any seeds and strings. This helps get a smooth texture. You can squeeze the tamarind juice and add it to the saaru before it starts to boil. 

Updating the post to send this over to Healthy Diet - cooking with Sprouts event hosted by Roshni, started by Priya. 


Chitz said...

Healthy & simple.. A very inviting set of dishes u have made... Makes me crave for some now :)

Priya Suresh said...

Wat a healthy and comforting foods, love this kind of simple,homely and whole dishes.Sprouted horsegrams sounds fabulous.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

nice and healthy recipe. any time with any food we can eat it.
happy Ugadi to sattvaa readers.

Saranya Balaji said...

very healthy and comfort food...

Julie said...

Very healthy sprouts ,yummy!!

Roshni said...

this looks just awesome.. am surely going to make this saaru (gravy).. Thanks for linking to my event