Horsegram gets its name from the fact that it was predominantly used as fodder. I remember my father did not particularly like it whenever my mother served it to him and he would remark ‘why are you giving me cattle food?’
However, I see it is used quite extensively in Karnataka cuisine and also Maharashtra and Goa. It has many medicinal uses too I remember my husband’s roommate would soak and have the water for relief from his kidney stones. It is also extremely good for water retention and a must-include if you are trying to manage your weight.
We generally sprout it and make it like a dry usal. Here I am sharing a traditional broth or saaru and a dry sabzi called upkari, this is a recipe from the Konkan-Mangalore belt.
1 cup of horsegram/kulith/muthere,
5 peeled cloves of garlic,
3 unpeeled cloves of garlic,
3 cups of water,
5 red dried chillies,
1/4 cup grated coconut
Two small balls of tamarind
Salt to taste,
About a teaspoon of jaggery,
3 tsps oil.
A pinch of asafoetida,
A few curry leaves,
½ tsp of mustard seeds
Ensure the horsegram has no small stones, they tend to have. Wash the horsegram well and soak the horsegram for 5-6 hours and if possible overnight. Drain the water.
Add the drained horsegram to a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water, 3 cloves of peeled garlic and pressure cook for one whistle. Then lower the heat and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Switch off the heat and let it sit till the steam releases on its own.
Separate the water from the cooked horsegram. Take about 2 tablespoons of the cooked horsegram and grind it with the cooked garlic cloves, 2 uncooked peeled garlic cloves, 3 red chillies and one small tamarind ball to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the separated water.
Add salt to taste and jaggery. Heat 1 ½ tsp of oil and once hot add the 3 unpeeled cloves of garlic after lightly crushing them. Once the garlic turns brown add it to the broth and cook it for about a minute. The saaru is ready.
Now to prepare the upkari from the cooked horsegram….
Grind the coconut, 2 red chillies and one ball of tamarind to a coarse paste. Heat the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon of oil and add the mustard seeds, once they pop add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Follow this with the coarse paste. Saute for about a minute and add the cooked horsegram and more salt if needed. Mix it well and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Serve this with plain cooked rice and maybe another stir fry vegetable.