November 24, 2015

Bassaru Palya - Made With Mung Sprouts

Though I love trying out different cuisines, I mostly prefer eating our regional cuisine. From those teenage days when good food meant Pizzas, Burgers & Bombay Pav Bhaji, I've come a long way. 

Somewhere down the line, I realised that when I am really really hungry for food, I crave for the comfort a good home made meal. And, this Bassaru,Palya with the good old Ragi Mudde certainly features on the list.

If you grew up eating Kannada cuisine, you would definitely agree that Bassaru, Palya & Ragi Mudde is a match made in heaven. Not to mention, that this scores quite high on the health quotient too

Sprouts Saaru

Bassaru (Basida Saru) is a Rasam/Saaru that is made using strained water with which Lentils+Greens are pressure cooked. A palya or a stir fry is made out of the cooked Lentils & Greens.

Bassaru & Palya are served together with Ragi Mudde or Steamed Rice

There are tons of variations to this recipe. You can make this using  the regular Toor Dal with Greens or use seasonal beans like Avarekalu (Flat Beans) or even a mixture of various lentils

The version that I have for you today is made using Mung Sprouts. I didn't add any greens to this, but feel free to add any greens of your choice


To Make Bassaru - You Will Need:
  • 2 cups Mung Sprouts
  • 2 Tomatoes - Halved
  • 1 large Onion - Roughly chopped
  • 2 Green Chilies
  • 2 tsp Rasam Powder
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Coconut
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4th tsp Turmeric powder
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • Salt as per taste
  • A big lump of Jaggery
  • Fresh Coriander for Garnish

How To:

In a cooking pot, add 2 cups of Mung Sprouts along with tomatoes. Add 4 cups of water & some salt. Boil for about 4 minutes until the mung beans are tender yet firm.

Drain the water using a colander & reserve for later use. Fish out the tomatoes &Green Chilies, set aside.

In a mixer grinder, Add a tablespoon of the cooked Mung Sprouts, Green Chilies, along with grated coconut, 1 tsp cumin seeds, Rasam Powder, Garlic, Tomatoes, Onions & Turmeric powder. Grind into a smooth paste adding a bit of water.

Return the drained water into the cooking pot, Add the ground paste & Bring it to a boil. Add some salt, curry leaves & a lump of jaggery. If the Saaru is too thick, add a bit of water to adjust the consistency. Let it simmer on medium flame for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat & add chopped coriander. Heat a tsp op Ghee & temper with Asafoetida, Mustard & cumin seeds & add it to the Bassaru

Sprouts Saaru2

To Make Stir Fry/Palya:

  • Cooked Mung Sprouts
  • 2 onions
  • 4 Dry red chilies
  • 1/2 cup of fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A big pinch of Asafoetida
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh Coriander for garnish

How To:

In a Kadhai, heat some cooking oil. Splutter cumin & mustard seeds. Add Asafoetida & Dry Red chilies. Sauté for 20 seconds

Add chopped onions & a pinch of salt and turmeric & Sauté until the onions turn pink. 

Add the cooked Mung Sprouts & salt and give it a good mix. Add grated coconut & mix again. Check for salt. Let it stand on low heat for about 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat & add lime juice & chopped coriander. Mix well & set aside 



  • This Saaru is usually on the runnier side & it tastes good that way.
  • Feel free to add any greens of your choice. Spinach, Amaranth or Dill Leaves are my favourite.
  • If I don't cook the greens along with the lentils/sprouts, I use them to make Palya & stir fry them along with cooked sprouts/lentils
  • Since I used sprouts, I didn't need to pressure cook them as they would turn mushy. cooking them for 3-4 minutes was enough to retain the bite
  • You can also use Green Chilies instead of Dry Red Chilies to make the palya. Since, the palya is almost green in colour, It's easier to fish out the red chilies than the green ones

Serve the Saaru Piping Hot along with a serving of Palya on the side along with Ragi Mudde (Another favourite recipe that I got to blog) Add a few slices of onions on the side. And, don't forget that dollop of Ghee .. It's good for you, believe me :)

November 19, 2015

Hot Cocoa Coffee

I usually have very early breakfast so by 10 AM, I am usually hungry again. So, I have gotten into the habit of drinking something warm to curb the hunger pangs. Its usually a glass of Green Tea or sometimes I give in to the temptation & have a cup of Coffee or spiced Tea .. But, today was a Hot Chocolate kinda day

It's been raining continuously since the past week * Bangalore feels like a refrigerator right now So, The weather demands a cup of Hot Chocolate 


I love Coffee & I live for Chocolate so the best bet is to combine the best of both the worlds & make a Coffee flavoured Hot Chocolate 

There are dozens of variations out there but the recipe is a no brainer. Heat some milk, add chocolate, coffee, sweetener &  spices of your choice & you are done. Top with Marshmallows or whipped cream for a calorie dense version.

You could also make it Vegan by replacing milk with Soy Milk or Nut milk. Totally up to you

Here's how I made an easy peasy version of Hot Cocoa Coffee


Hot Chocolate Coffee

To make a quick version, you can make your own Hot Cocoa Mix by adding Instant Coffee, Cocoa Powder, Milk solids & spices in a air tight jar. Just add a spoonful of the mix in Hot water & voila its done in a minute & I think this is any day going to taste better than a store bought Hot Chocolate mix

November 16, 2015

Zucchini & Walnut Soup

It's been more than a week, the weather in Bangalore continues to be as cold as ever. We also had a damp Diwali all thanks to the untimely Rains. But I totally love this kind of weather ..  All I want is to snuggle under a nice duvet & endless cup of Hot Chai 


The nip in the air also means that we have been craving for some sinful deep fried goodies. We had our share of Onion Pakoras over the weekend & I have been making a lot of soups to keep us warm 

I love Soups, & they always come to my rescue during winter months. They are warm, hearty, filling & healthy too. 

This quick Zucchini & Walnut Soup was my lunch today. Zucchini is a low cal vegetable, so this soup is good for weight watchers too. I toasted some Garlic Bread and served it along with the soup. 

Zucchini Soup

How To:
Preheat the Oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Toast the walnuts for 5 minutes & set aside. Meanwhile roughly chop onions & zucchini

In a pot, heat olive oil. Add bay leaves, garlic & onions. Sauté until the onions turn soft. Add diced zucchini & some salt. Sauté until they turn soft. It should take about 4-5 minutes. Set aside & allow it to cool. 

Once cool, fish out the bay leaves,  blend into a smooth paste along with walnuts & dried thyme.

Return to the pot, add 3 cups of vegetable stock or water. Check for salt. Gently simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Add Lemon Zest just before turning off the stove

Drizzle Olive oil on top & mix in chilli flakes. Serve warm with soup stocks or  a crusty garlic bread on the side


You can replace the Walnuts with toasted Almonds or Pecans. 

November 8, 2015

Bendekayi Gojju

One of my favourite ways to eat Bendekayi/Ladies Finger/Okra is this Gojju with some steamed Rice. Gojju in Kannada is a coconut based gravy which is thickish in consistency. Its got a bit of sweetness from the jaggery, bitterness from the methi seeds & tartness from tamarind. 

Some of the vegetables commonly used to make Gojju are Ladies Finger, Green Bell Pepper, Pumpkin , Pineapple , Tomatoes, Bitter Gourd.

Bendekayi Gojju

Gojju is typically eaten with hot steamed rice. But they can also be served with Akki Rotis, Dosas or even Chapatis. I reckon, it goes best with Rice 

This version of Bendekayi Gojju is a staple in most Kannada home & a  traditional Kannada meal will always have a Gojju (mostly Pineapple) as a part of the menu. 


How To:

Clean & wipe Ladies finger. Trim off the edges & chop them into thin slices - about half an inch thickness.

In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, add all the items listed under 'To Roast' & roast on medium flame until the dals change their colour slightly and are fragrant. Set aside to cool a little.

Soak Tamarind in warm water & extract juice. In a mixer grinder, add grated coconut & roasted spices along with tamarind extract & roasted gram & grind into a smooth paste using little water.

In a Kadhai, heat some oil. splutter mustard seeds. Add chopped Ladies Finger along with some salt & sauté on medium flame until they lose their slime & are cooked well.

Now add the ground paste along with 2 cups of water. Add jaggery & check for salt. Give it a good mix & simmer on low flame for about 10 minutes. Stir at regular intervals to avoid the bottom of the pan from getting burnt. 

If the Gojju/Gravy is on the thicker side, add some more water to get the right consistency. 

Turn off the heat & transfer to a serving dish. Serve warm with Rice/Dosas or Chapatis 

November 5, 2015

Chilli Cheese Toast

I dislike Chilli Cheese Toast served in most restaurants or Cafes.  Either the bread is too chewy, or there is too much Cheese or too little toppings. 
And there are several cafes, where the toast is made beforehand & they just reheat the toast in the Microwave before serving. 

There is nothing better than a freshly made Chilli Cheese Toast just out of the oven, Right??  So, the best bet is to make your own Toast, the way you like it 

Chilli Cheese Toast

I do not like an overdose of Cheese in my dishes. Be it Pizza, Nachos or this Chilli Cheese Toast. I add loads of toppings & like the taste of the toppings shine through rather than the taste of cheese.

Chilli Cheese Toast

How To:

Cut the Bread slices into triangles. Finely chop the Yellow & Red Peppers. Add the Chilli flakes , dried Basil, Chopped Garlic & salt. Mix well

Grate Mozarella Cheese & set aside

If using a Oven, Preheat the Oven to 180 Degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, On each bread slice, evenly spread the chopped Bell Pepper & Herb mixture. Top with a Tablespoon ( or more if you like ) of grated cheese

Bake the  slices at 180 degrees for 3-4 minutes until the cheese melts. Switch the oven to the Grill mode & grill for about 3 minutes

If using a Microwave, Toast the bread slices in a pan or toaster. Assemble the toppings & cheese. Microwave for 40-60 seconds until the Cheese Melts

Serve Warm with Tomato Ketchup. A couple of slices of this toast & a cup of great Coffee .. Just Perfect :)


I've tried making this on the Stove Top too. I very lightly toasted the bread & assembled the topping & on very low flame I toasted the bread without flipping. But I felt the cheese took forever to melt &  even though the flame was very low, the base of the toast was over crisp. So I prefer the Microwave or the Oven method any day. 

If anybody knows a foolproof method of making this toast on the stove top, do let me know