Pushpa’s Bassaaru

Bassaaru is a popular dish of Karnataka. Using the same ingredients, a curry and a vegetable is made. This is usually served with ragi mudde (ragi balls) or rice. This is a healthy dish packed with lentils, spinach and spices. The coconut gives the curry a creamy texture. A dish I would surely try again.

Pushpa, my help who is like family, made this dish for me and also suggested using ridge gourd and green beans instead of spinach. This is something she cooks often and eats it with ragi mudde. Ragi mudde are balls made of ragi (finger millets), which is a super food. In the south of India, ragi is used for dosas, idlis etc. Ragi mudde is an acquired taste. It is dipped in a gravy and swallowed. It is very high in protein and keeps you full for a long time. Therefore it was eaten by farmers.

Try it. It was truly lip smacking delicious

Pushpa cooking Bassaaru
  • 3/4 cup tur dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chopped spinach. washed
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 green chillies
  • 10-12 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 lime size tamarind or 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 + 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste
  • Cook tur dal in a sauce pan with 1 cup water. Do not use pressure cooker as you want the lentils to have a bite.
  • When the lentils are half cooked, add spinach and dill, 1 tsp salt and cook
  • Using toothpicks pierce two green chillies and tomatoes. Add to spinach and let it cook for 5 minutes and take out chillies and tomato and keep aside
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan dry roast pepper and cumin seeds
  • Grind cumin, pepper, green chillies, coconut, coriander leaves, 8 cloves garlic and grind to a paste
  • Once spinach and lentils are cooked, drain well and save the liquid
  • This liquid is the base for the saaru or gravy
  • Keep aside 1/2 cup of spinach lentil mixture
  • In a sauce pan, add the liquid and the ground paste. Cook
  • In a blender, grind 1/2 cup spinach lentil mixture and the tomato to a paste and add to the gravy and cook.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tsp oil
  • Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, curry leaves and 2 cloves of choped garlic and add to the gravy. Set aside
  • For the Stir Fry: Heat 1 tbsp oil
  • Add 1 tsp mustard and curry leaves
  • Add chopped onions, 2 green chillies (chopped) and fry till golden
  • Add the lentil spinach mixture and fry well
  • Add salt if required
  • Serve gravy, stir fry spinach with rice or ragi mudde

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