Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hurgaalu/Hurigaalu - a healthy, protein rich, spicy trail mix I will give my life for :-)

Happy Deepavali to all of you celebrating the festival of lights! Wishing you all hope, love and joy forever.   

This weekend being Deepavali, I am carried back to my Mysuru Deepavali memories where every year nammamma and anna would place tiny home made lamps all around the compound wall and in the portico and go around lighting one by one. Neither of them cared for the fire crackers but the lamps and lights was an integral part of Deepavali celebration at home as was the traditional oil bath and the yummy food. We did the lamp lighting here this year as well though food part was mostly kept very simple.
I started this week long series of home made dishes from Nammamma's kitchen last Sunday as my humble way of sharing my love for my mom. When I wrote my blog post after a couple months of gap, I was looking at it mostly as an outlet to say things that I haven't been able to say verbally and also to remember my mom through some of her best loved dishes. What I didn't expect though was the flood of personal emails and notes from so many of you, sharing your experience of loss of a loved one and supporting me to deal with my pain with the help of your kind words. All I can say is a heart felt thank you to every one of you, beyond any words can possibly express.
I started the 7 day marathon blogging with Puri Unde - Nammamma's signature sweet dish and a very traditional sweet from Karnataka and I want to end this week long blogging with another one of her signature recipes, a savory one this time, called Hurgaalu/Hurigaalu. I haven't blogged at this frequency even when I started the blog 4+ years back :-). It was draining to keep doing it every day, tiring to sit down for another few hours of blogging after a long day of work, but at the end of it I enjoyed chronicling some of nammamma's yummy dishes and I am glad I did it. I don't claim that I have documented all of the recipes she used to make, there are still many more to come and I will definitely tag them as I bring them onto the blog here, I chose some really simple ones and every day dishes this past week just because of the memories connected with those dishes.
Plumped up kadle kaalu after overnight soaking
My earliest memory of Hurgaalu is when nammamma made these on a very large scale welcoming her first grand child. I was in grade school when akka was expecting her baby and nammamma was almost delirious with happiness to have a grand child at home, she would prepare special food every single day and feed akka for the 2 months she was in Mysuru. It was like a 'foodie dream come true' for me and the younger brother without even taking the effort to dream :-) since we would be given every one of those delicious delicacies. Thinking about it, I am sure that the two of us ate most of what was prepared and akka mostly just sampled them, she never over eats anything :-). Out of all the goodies prepared, this one is by far my most favorite.
Plumped up Alasande kaalu after overnight soaking
It is not surprising given the fact that I love spicy food, I adore crispy, crunchy snacks and I can eat them almost any time of the day. It is labor intensive and not something Nammamma either had the time to prepare often nor had the inclination if I had left her alone. But eating the delicious hurgaalu at akka's baby shower got me totally hooked on it, so I used to beg her every so often to make these at home. In that innocent childhood, I had even told her that I would have atleast a dozen kids just to be able to eat her hurgaalu every time :-). Well, that didn't happen, I mean the dozen kids part but I am sure that she made it more than a dozen times just to please the demanding kid I was.
Plumped up matki after overnight soaking
It wasn't just me craving for her hurgaalu, almost every one that has eaten her home made hurgaalu swears by it. She had this custom of making yummy dishes for any pregnant woman in the colony. I have seen her frequently make something special for an expectant mom whether it was a friend's daughter, daughter in law or a new neighbor. They all knew that my mother was a sucker when it came to pregnant women and their 'cravings' :-). Many of them openly asked amma for a specific dish or two while a few newly acquainted ones dropped hints about how she loved to eat a certain something nammamma made. Either case the person was sure to receive whatever they had wished to eat from nammamma's kitchen, she would prepare it with all the love and care and carry it over to them :-). Yes, it is part of the perks of living in a tight knit, small community where every one knows each other. None of us minded since we all got our share of it as well. She was like the surrogate mom for many young mothers in our neighborhood. That is who she was, generous with everything she had, making people around her feel cared for, loved by always. Even when things were hard she made it a point to share what she had.
Hurgaalu is like a trail mix, a mixture of roasted beans of different varieties and jazzed up with the right amount of red chili powder and salt. Nammamma had her touch of using the lemon juice to make the spice paste which I believe is sheer brilliance as it enhances the taste of the final product by many folds. She also had perfected the proportions of the different varieties of beans to make the mix taste just right. A few years back, I stopped troubling amma to make this at home knowing that she would willingly start soaking the beans the moment I opened my mouth and asked for it. I didn't have the heart to put her through all the effort and started looking for alternate sources of getting hurgaalu. I have tried many stores in both Mysuru and Bengaluru, some are more delicious than the other but not one of them came close to what nammamma used to make. I hesitated making hurgaalu at home because of the nagging feeling in my head that it will fall short of my own expectations but made it recently when there was a finality that I would never taste nammamma's hurgaalu again. The family received it with genuine compliments and I feel confident that it is as close to nammamma's hurgaalu as it gets.
Plumped up hurli kaalu after overnight soaking
The process is really simple if you pay attention to a few key tricks (see the notes below), a little goes a long way as the beans get mixed together. So start small, get the hang of the roasting and you can make this delicious, healthy snack at home any time. If I were to break down hurgaalu making for a novice, here is how it would look like - Take dehydrated kaalu -> hydrate them in water over night -> dehydrate them back on slow heat -> add spice paste -> go get your favorite book -> take the hurgaalu in a big bowl -> find a quiet spot -> get lost from the world :-)
Nammamma had the advantage of 'bhatti' in Mysuru, these are small shops with professional grade roasting equipment. There used to be a street in old Mysuru that had a couple of these bhattis, you would take your ingredients there and the shop owner would roast them for you. They had huge, wide, thick kadais called bandle in Kannada, half filled with clean sand (for even distribution of heat), they would put the beans one group after another in to the hot kadai and roast them on wood fires. It would take less time than if you were to do it at home but nammamma stood there the entire hour or so, chatting with the bhatti owner and making sure he roasted them just to the point she wanted. The inside of the stores would be hot, humid and not at all comfortable, so if we accompanied her, we would be asked to sit outside and wait.

Once the roasting was done, the entire content of the kadai would be passed through a fine sieve that was just the right size to hold the beans but let the sand pass through. He would put the roasted beans back into their individual container they originally came in and hand it over. Nammamma brought it back home, mix it with the spice paste before the second roast in multiple batches. After adding peanuts, kadle and coconut, the mixture would be ready to start munching on. Hope you try this at home and enjoy it as much as I do :-)

Happy Halloween everyone, Have a safe and spooky tricking and treating!!

What do you need to make Hurgalu? 
1 cup whole moong/mung bean/hesaru kaalu
3/4 cup whole black chickpeas (this is not garbanzo, see the picture)/kadle kaalu
1/2 cup black eyed peas/alasande kaalu
1/3 cup moth beans/matki
1/2 cup horse gram/hurli kaalu
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup roasted gram/kadle
1 cup chopped dry coconut/kobbari

For the spice paste: 
1 Tbsp red chili powder (adjust to your taste buds)
1/2 Tsp asafoetida
1 Tsp salt
1/8 Tsp turmeric powder
1.5 Tbsp lemon/lime juice

Needed kitchen gadget: A heavy gauge, thick bottom kadai/skillet. A damp kitchen towel or paper napkin. 

How do you make Hurgalu? 
Preparation (previous evening):
  • Take each of the beans (1-5 in the list above)in a separate bowl. 
  • Pick any dirt/small stones from the beans.
  • Wash the beans in 2 changes of water, soak overnight in double the quantity of water.
Making of Hurgalu:
  • Next morning, drain water from each bowl using a sieve.
  • Spread a thin, clean cotton cloth in your kitchen or any other area of the house indoors that is dry and shaded. 
  • Spread the washed bean on the cloth, still keeping each variety of bean separate from the other. 
  • Let it dry and lose the dampness (about 4.5-5hrs), but not dry completely. 
  • Heat a really thick bottom kadai/skillet on medium heat, reduce the heat to low and add raw peanuts. 
  • Roast them until they get brown spots on the skin and give out a nice roasted aroma. Take them onto a plate, let cool and remove the outer skin. Keep aside until ready to use. 
  • In the same kadai, warm the roasted gram for a minute and take it out to a plate. 
  • Next, warm the chopped dry coconut pieces for a couple of minutes until it turns a very light brown, keep aside.
  • Add horse gram, stirring frequently, roast until the kaalu shrinks back to almost the original dehydrated size and starts to pop. 
  • Taste test a couple to make sure they are crispy and light. Take it off the kadai and pour into a wide mixing bowl. 
  • Repeat the process for the remaining 4 types of beans and as they get done, add them to the same mixing bowl.  
  • Here is a cheat sheet for the roasting times for the quantity mentioned above and on low heat. It may vary slightly depending the heat and the kadai gauge. 
    • Hurlikaalu - 15 mins
    • Kadle kaalu - 25 mins
    • Alasande kaalu - 25 mins
    • Matki - 10 mins
    • Hesaru kaalu - 15 mins
  • In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the spice paste and mix well, the paste needs to have a dropping consistency. Add a spoon of water if needed to get the consistency. 
  • Once the roasted kaalus cool down slighly (give about 15mins wait time from the last batch of kaalu), add the spice paste to the bowl and using your hands toss them well to coat the spice onto all the beans. Use gloves if you want to avoid the heat of the red chili powder. 
  • Once all the beans are well coated, return them to the kadai on low heat, stirring frequently roast for another 12-15 mins until the moisture from the spice paste is lost. Add peanuts, kadle and coconut pieces prepared earlier, mix well with the beans and roast for another 2 minutes. 
  • Switch off, transfer to a wide bowl, let it cool down completely before storing in dry, air tight containers. 
  • Hurgaalu stays good for a couple months (use good quality coconut) and can be enjoyed as a high protein trail mix any time. The perfect company for this snack is a good book :-)
  • There is no hard and fast rule for the amounts of the different beans in this recipe. Nammamma struck a perfect balance of bigger Vs smaller beans in the mix and I follow the same proportions. You can up or down any variety (even add a favorite bean or skip) based on your preference. 
  • Soaking the kaalu overnight is one of the crucial steps to get a really crispy hurgalu. 
  • The mung beans are notorious for what are called 'kallagaalu' or really small sized beans that refuse soften even after an overnight soak in water. Pick the ones that are at the top of water and leave the hard ones at the bottom, do not use them in the hurgaalu unless you want to spoil the experience with rock hard beans popping in the middle of a blissful munch. You can leave these hard ones soaked in water for another day till they soften and use it in cooking or eat them raw as salads. 
  • Drain all the water from the soaked kaalu and let it dry in a cool, shaded place indoors. At the end of the 4.5-5hr period, kaalu should feel moist but not wet. 
  • As soon as you add the kaalu to the kadai/skillet, keep stirring it as they will stick to the bottom because of the moisture. If you are not paying attention at this stage, the kaalus will get cooked and not roasted :-)
  • Each set of kaalu is to be fried until it reverts back to its original pre-hydrated size. 
  • After every batch, remember to wipe the kadai with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any remnants from the previous batch sticking to the surface of the kadai. 
  • When you return the beans for the second roast after mixing with the spice paste, make sure to open the kitchen windows and switch on the exhaust, because when the spice paste hits the hot kadai, it can start off a coughing fit. 

  • How to remove roasted peanut skin - roast peanuts on a slow and low heat for best results. Once cool, put them in between 2 layers of a kitchen towel and rub the top layer gently to peel off the skin. pick the skinned peanuts and use them in the recipe. You can also put the peanuts in a ziplock bag and do the same thing. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

very happy Deepaavali to all Sattvaa readers. yummy Hurigalu is a special one for the festival of lights.

Sashi said...

Nagashree,Happy Deepavali to you and your family. Hurigalu is my favorite too. We had the bhatti right behind our school and when we ventured to play or during the lunch time, the aroma of roasted grams was magical.
My grandma would soak the grams and put them to dry in the sun in the backyard. We kids found the hesarakalu and chickpeas pretty tasty when half dried and so grandma had to keep a constant watch on us from the kitchen window as soon we entered the backyard(angala).The next day I would tag along with her and my mother to Bhatti and as you said we were made to sit outside. Also along with hurigalu, she would get the ragi roasted for hurihittu and I believe cracked wheat(my mouth still waters at the thought of this one. She would give us mixed it with sugar) I don't think anything can match the taste of the warm,freshly roasted grams and it was hard to resist to dip into the bag again, but couldn't muster enough courage in grandma's presence. Coming home we had to take a bath, change our clothes and then allowed into the kitchen to watch the making of spice paste and mixing. My grandma also used the lemon juice to the spice mix and the combination of hingu with tanginess of lemon would hit the right spot.Also she would roast the kobri a bit to give a touch of crunch and the slight carmelization would enhance the taste of kobri. Then the mix put to dry and finally the next day it would be ready to eat. So every afternoon we would anxiously wait for hurigalu along with coffee. She would roast the coffee beans in batches over a coal fired roaster(a small circular contraption which would rotate over hot coal) with the family members sitting around and chatting and kids running around. Thinking of it now, seems like this happens only in movies now.
As years passed store hurigalu replaced grandma's hurigalu until one day my mother decided to restart the home hurigalu. She did it for a few years until the bhatti closed. I have been doing hurigalu for the last few years at home and I usually put in the oven as kadai hadn't worked before.
I read somewhere, when you eat its not just the taste but also the memories that make you relish it. Everytime I take a handful of hurigalu, I go back in time to that nadumane(which was a room right next to the kitchen where food was served) in mysore and can hear those conversations mixed with kids laughter and screams and the aroma of roasted beans topping it).
Thanks again for sharing this recipe and will surely let you know how it turned out.

Sreemala said...

Kudos on yet another authentic, nutritious, labor intensive recipe from nammamma.
Brings back memories of appa narrating how he helped his great-grand ma make this in large (in fact,huge) scale in Chamaraja Nagara.
I wish there were "bhatti" around here, so I'm not going to attempt to make it any time soon but would love to taste the one you've made :)

Nagashree Ravi said...

@Sashi, thank you so much for sharing your experience, the hurgaalu and process seems so familiar :-). I have never had an ajji mane experience myself beign the youngest in our generation and both my grandparents passed on very early. I only have heard my paternal ajji's love for me as a baby as she was the only grandparent that saw me. Thanks again!

Nagashree Ravi said...

@Sreemala - large/huge - yes those are the key words for that generation, right? Everything in big quantities including the way they spread love, their work ethics, love for perfection is something I hope we continue to imbibe for generations to come. Try making a small quantity at home, it is not difficult. Or visit me and we can made a big batch together :-)

Unknown said...

Made hurigalu yesterday. Nayana and I have already munched away half of it. Thanks for the recipe

Tanuja said...

Great Job Nagashree for making hurigalu @home! I guess this recipe brings back the good old memories of people from Mysore-Bangalore region during that time.

Thanks for sharing this!!:-)