There's one thing that you will almost always find in my kitchen - Huruli Happala or horse gram pappad. This micro-wave friendly (I usually brush a little ghee on this pappad and then microwave it, instead of deep-frying it in oil) pappad is a great accompaniment for rice and rasam and also makes a great snack. This and horse gram powder are usually on my shopping list when I'm at one of Malleshwaram's old school 'condiment stores' in Bengaluru. Horse gram (Huruli in Kannada) is an integral part of most diets in Karnataka and it's provided nutrition and wellness for generations.
Horse gram is known to be native to Southern Asia and has been found in archaeological sites in India. It has been fodder for generations for horses (hence the name) especially on race day but has multiple nutritional benefits. It's no exaggeration to call this a superfood. It's a rich source of polyphenols, flavonoids and potent antioxidants. It's also packed with protein - it's one of the most protein-rich lentils, calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
Huruli saaru used to be one of my mom's 'go to' rasams and almost every time she made this rasam, she would talk me through the health benefits. I did fall for the sales pitch but more than that it was the flavours that I enjoyed. A few months ago, I was at my friend Parineeta's place in Bengaluru where we all tried a delicious Huruli basaaru (see recipe), a delicacy from the old Mysore region in Karnataka.
Bassaru comes from basida (drained) and saaru (rasam); this double-layered dish is both aside and gravy. This dish features whole horse gram (that is served as part of the palya or side) and ground horse gram in the rasam. You can serve this with rice. Horse gram needs to be soaked well in advance. For instance, in this bassaru recipe it's soaked for 48 hours. This recipe is Parineeta's Ajji's (Grandmother) recipe. One of her tips is to dry roast the horse gram and then pressure cook it (you have to wait for eight whistles) in case you forget to soak it.
Horse Gram Basaaru
Recipe courtesy - Saraswati Gururaj
- Horse gram - 250 gm
- Jaggery - lemon size
- Tamarind juice - 1 tbsp
- For powder
- Coriander seeds - 2tbsp
- Jeera 1tbsp
- Fenugreek - 10 grains
- Byadgi Chillies - 10 pieces
- Dry copra
For the rasam powder:
Dry fry all ingredients till they turn brown and grind them to a fine powder
For the Basaaru (Rasam):
- Soak the horse gram for 48 hours and strain them.
- Pressure cook (6-8 whistles).
- Sieve the boiled Huruli (Horse gram) and save the boiled water.
- Add tamarind water, jaggery, salt and rasam powder to the above water and bring it to boil.
For the palya:
- Add some oil and asafoetida in a pan and bring to boil.
- Add red chilli and the boiled horse gram and toss for some time.
- Then add salt to taste and fresh coconut. In the end add a little bit of lemon juice before you take it off the stove.
- Serve the Palya & Rasam together with hot rice and ghee.
Horse gram chutney / Huruli Chutney recipe
This chutney works as an accompaniment for dosa or idli but it tastes best with hot rice and a small dollop of ghee.
- Horse gram: 1 cup
- Coconut (grated): 3/4 to 1 cup
- Dried chilli (preferably dagi chilli): 2
- Urad dal: 1.5 tsp
- Tamarind: 1-inch piece
- Curry leaves: a few sprigs
- Salt: to taste
- Coconut oil: 1.5 tsp
- Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
- Asafoetida: a pinch
- Garlic - 2 pods (Optional)
- Shallots: 10-12 (optional)
- Add very little oil to a pan and fry 2 chillies and urad dal. Add the horse gram after a little while once the dal is fried.
- Add the horse gram and fry till it's done
- Let it cool and blend in a mixer with the coconut, tamarind, salt and very little water till it reaches a coarse texture.
- You could add garlic and the shallots to the blender but this chutney tastes equally good without the garlic and shallots.
- Now temper the mixture with mustard seeds, curry leaves and the asafoetida and a small quantity of the urad dal.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.