Thursday, February 21, 2013

Karnataka farmer style food - Bas saaru and soppina palya

Its been over a month since I really made some regular South Indian food. There's been a lot of pizza, pasta and the like happening in my kitchen for a while now and last Sunday TH even commented about it. Luckily, TH and my son are very open to any type of food, but definitely our regular food is what is comfort food for us.

At my mom's place, we had this cook for a little while who made amazing Karnataka style food. Avrekayi masala, bisi bele bhath, Mysore rasam and this bas saaru were her specialitiesI found these amaranth leaves / dantina soppu here after a long time, and remembered its been ages since I had this bas saaru. Though this is not something I grew up with, I enjoy the earthy traditional goodness of this dish

soppu saaru

This is a nutritious meal that is popular among the Gowda community of Karnataka. In Kannada 'basidu' means strained, since the saaru/rasam is prepared from this strained water it is called 'Bas Saaru'. The broth of the cooked greens and dals is made into a rasam / saaru and the remaining cooked dals and greens are made into a sabji / palya. This is usually had with ragi mudde / finger millet steamed balls. Packed with protein and iron, this is a staple among the farmers in Karnataka who need this to keep them going, with all that hard labour in the fields


We have something very similar in Konkani cooking too, called saar-upkari, where the grains or legumes are cooked with a lot of water. The water is used to make saar and the legumes are made into an upkari or a dry side dish. My favourite is alsande / black-eyed peas saar - upkari.
The bas saaru has more strong spices like cinnamon and garlic, which is not something I regularly use in a saar. This bas saaru is had with ragi mudde which is very nutritious but doesn't really have a taste of its own, so the accompaniments are usually quite spicy.

This made for a nice hearty, healthy Sunday lunch

Bas saaru and soppina palya

What you need -

3 cups packed chopped amaranth leaves (use spinach or any other combination of green leaves)
1/2 cup tur dal
1/4 cup yellow moong dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsps grated coconut

3-4 peppercorns
3-4 pods of garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stick cinnamon
2 tbsp coriander leaves
a small ball of tamarind / 1/4 tsp tamarind extract
1/2 tsp grated jaggery
1 tea spn mustard seeds
2 red chillies
4-5 curry leaves


Combine the greens and the dals in a large vessel. Wash and drain and then add 4 cups of water and a little turmeric powder
Keep it partially covered and allow it to cook on a medium flame till the dal and the greens are cooked
Add a tbsp of grated coconut and continue cooking for another 5 mins
Strain the water and keep aside

For the saaru -
Take about 1/2 a cup of the cooked dal and greens and grind it along with the onion, garlic, pepper corns, cinnamon, coriander leaves and tamarind into a smooth thick paste
Add this paste to the water / broth in which the dal and greens were cooked
Add salt and jaggery and bring it to a boil
Season a few mustard seeds and curry leaves in oil and pour over the saaru

For the palya -
(this is really my version of making this palya, this is how we like it)
Heat a pan with a tsp of oil and a tsp of mustard seeds
Allow the mustard seeds to splutter and add the red chillies and curry leaves
Mix in 1/2 tsp of tamarind paste and 1/2 tsp grated jaggery into the remaining greens and dal and add this to the pan
Add a little salt and cook, adding a little water if required
Garnish with coconut
Serve hot saaru and palya with rice or ragi mudde


Hamaree Rasoi said...

Same thing is happening at my place chapatis or rice for quite sometime..surviving on noodles, pasta, pizza :-p
but today only I made khichdi to bring back our Indian taste..
Very cute serving bowl..And nice tol earn a new dish here

Foodpanda said...

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A simple home cooked traditional meal is perfect after all the World cuisines we keep trying :)
Love the serving bowl, perfect for a homely traditional meal.

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Radhika @ Just Homemade said...


So glad to connect with you..
Can u believe I have never made Basda Saaru? High time I do that!
BTW, that terracotta bowl is super cute!

Anonymous said...

Today at my place, ullikai bele bassaaru :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe..I tried it and made raggi muddhe with it..Taste of home!

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