Coimbatore Annapoorna Hotel Style Sambar Recipe

Somebody has successfully reverse-engineered the recipe for the world-reknowed sambar served at the Annapoorna Hotel in Coimbatore. Here’s the story, link to videos and recipe summary follows.

I get at least a couple of mails a month asking for Annapoorna sambar recipe as I am from Coimbatore. Everyone in Coimbatore loves the food from this iconic Annapoorna hotel. I am no different. Their Sambar is one of the best. I had tried different recipes but could not nail it. Then this happened. I was talking about my sambar quest to Prema akka (Vinodhs aunt) and she told she knows someone who can give us the recipe. She told me that one Mr. Palinisamy had worked as a cook in their house in the 80’s before moving to Annapoorna as a chef. She told me that she will definitely get hold of him for me. And she did. I met him at a function recently where he was in charge of the kitchen. Mr. Palanisamy is a dhoti clad chef with prominent brown eyes and a big mustache. His eyes are very unique. You will never forget him once you have met him. As soon as I met him, we started talking. He told that he started cooking at the age of 12. He worked at the hotel for 27 years. He now runs his own food and catering service at Coimbatore. His food rocks. If you are in Coimbatore and have a party at home, try Mr. Palanisamy’s food. You can contact Mr. Palanisamy, Sai Baba catering. His phone number 96984 88764. Another number 9344680106 . His food is as good as home cooked food. If you are having a party in Coimbatore, this is the number you need to be calling.

Pretty cool. Go here for the instructional videos, and here’s the summary.


Recipe for Coimbatore Hotel Annapoorna Sambar. Recipe as told by a cook who worked in the hotel for 27 years.
Author: Kannamma – Suguna Vinodh
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamilnadu
Serves: 4
Measurments Used – 1 Cup = 250 ml
For Dal
  • ½ cup Toor Dal
  • 2 Cups Water
For Veggies
  • 2 Drumsticks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 shallots (small onions), diced
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup water
For Sambar Masala
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil (gingely oil)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 black pepper corn
  • 5 fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chana dal
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 dry red chillies (gundu variety)
  • ¼ teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 tablespoon coconut
  • 1½ teaspoon jaggery
  • gooseberry size tamarind
Other ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 stalks coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
For Tempering
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (gingely oil)
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
For Dal

Wash and soak ½ a cup of toor dal in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Pressure cook the dal with the water for 6 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Set aside.

For Veggies
In another cooker add in the drumsticks, diced onion, diced shallots (small onion) and tomatoes. Add one cup of water, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric. Cook for 4 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Set aside.

For Sambar Masala

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add in the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal. Fry for a minute. Once the chana dal is brown, add in the curry leaves, dry red chillies, asafoetida, coconut, jaggery and the tamarind. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  2. Grind the mixture with half a cup of water to a paste. Let the paste be very slightly coarse. Set aside.

For the Sambar

  1. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add in the ground masala and one cup of water. Let it come to a boil on medium flame.
  2. Once its boiling, add in the cooked vegetables along with the water used for cooking. Add in the salt.
  3. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  4. Add in the cooked dal and let it continue to boil for 2-3 minutes.

For Tempering

  1. Heat oil in a kadai and add in the mustard seeds when the oil is hot.
  2. Add in the curry leaves and switch off the flame.
  3. Add in ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder and immediately pour it on the sambar.
  4. The red chilli powder might burn if kept in the oil for too long. So have an eye on the kadai.
  5. Add in the coriander leaves and a tablespoon of ghee. Switch off the flame.

Paper Dosa

This recipe will help you get some thin and crisp paper dosa. It’s quite amazing. The only variation on it I added was to follow the directions that came with my Futura tava about water. They recommend draining the rice/dal mix before grinding and then adding about 2 1/2 cups of water as the grind proceeds. After fermentation, I added another scant 3/4 cup.

Futura also says to raise the heat from medium to medium-high while the first dosa is cooking, but you should do this to every dosa. Be advised that the tava needs to be hot without being too hot. If the tava is too hot, the batter will tear as you try to spread it, and if it is too cold the dosa won’t get crisp.

Hotel and street cooks sprinkle the tava with water and turn the heat down between dosas, and also sprinkle and spread the dosa with oil/ghee after the batter has been spread before turning the heat way up. On an electric cooker, the reaction time is much slower than it is on a gas cooker, so it’s often necessary to flip the dosa to speed up the cooking time.

Mane Adige: Paper Plain Dosa, modified.


  • 1 cup Urad Dal
  • 3- 3 & 1/4 cups Rice (a combination of two cups idli rice and one cup parboiled is good)
  • 1/4 cup Chana Dal (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp Methi Seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp Poha, thick
  • 1 tsp Ghee/Butter/Oil for each dosa
  • Salt as per taste (roughly a teaspoon)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (optional)


  1. Soak the dal, rice, methi seeds and poha with enough water for at least 3-6 hours. Change water three times. Can be soaked in a common vessel.
  2. Grind the soaked ingredients with enough water to a very smooth paste; But keep in mind not to add too much water and make the batter runny.
  3. Cover and allow batter to ferment in a warm place for about 8-12 hours; Make sure the container has enough room for the batter to rise. An oven with a 25 watt trouble light works well.
  4. Add salt (and baking powder if you like) to the fermented batter and mix well.
  5. Place a non stick griddle on medium heat. Test heat with a quarter cup of water, which should bounce before you wipe it off. Once hot, pour a ladle full of batter at the center. With the back of the ladle, spread the batter thinly, starting from the center and working outwards, in a fast circular motion. About 12 -15 revolutions should do it, but the batter must be spread thin to be crisp.

    Note: Spread the batter as soon as you pour it on the griddle – the batter will start getting cooked otherwise and stick to the ladle, if you wait too long. If it tears, go in the reverse direction to fix the tear.

  6. Pour few drops of ghee/oil all over the dosa and also at the edges, spreading with a spatula. Let cook on medium high heat until the thin parts turns dark brown.
  7. If making masala dosa, put a glob of potato curry in the center and fold the dosa over it from two sides.
  8. Remove from griddle and serve immediately with coconut chutney, sambar, kurma, saagu or any other side dish of your choice.


Futura 33 cm non-stick tava; may substitute any large frypan or griddle, but the bigger the tava/griddle, the bigger the dosa.

UltraGrind+ idli grinder; may substitute high-power grinder/blender of Indian origin, an American blender won’t really cut it. The batter needs to be smooth.

Prep Time:

About 15-20 mins for grinding and 2-3 mins for cooking each dosa;

Yield: about 10-12 dosas

Ambode (Indian Chana Falafel)

Chana dal is a form of chickpea that can be used as a substitute for the European chickpea know as garbanzo bean in just about any recipe. Chana has a lower glycemic index than garbanzo, has a more pleasant flavor, and is faster to cook. This recipe is for a Karnataka dish that looks for all the world like a spiced-up falafel.

2 cups chana dal
4 small green chilis
2 dried red chilis
(Optional) 1 cup grated coconut (Fresh or frozen is best. If you use dessicated, hydrate it in a mixture of coconut milk and coconut water first.)
3 tablespoons chopped green cilantro leaf (some people like dill weed instead of or in addition to cilantro.)
1 bunch curry leaves
1 inch ginger piece, grated
1 -2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 shallot, chopped fine
2 tablespoons flour
1 – 2 cups canola/peanut oil for frying
  1. Soak the chana dal overnight. Drain.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 360 F.
  3. Combine all ingredients, except for salt, shallots and flour, and blend in a food processor. The Indian style is to grind lightly, so that many of the chana beans remain intact.
  4. Mix in salt, shallots and flour.
  5. Form ping pong ball sized balls of the mixture, flattening them slightly if you’re frying in shallow oil so they can be flipped while frying. The Indian style to flatten them all the way to a sausage patty shape.
  6. Fry as many as you can at a time without crowding the fryer.
  7. When brown on the bottom (3 minutes,) flip them so they can brown on both sides. Five minutes total frying time should bring you to golden brown.
  8. After cooking, place on a pair of paper towels to soak up the oil. There won’t be much if you oil was hot enough.
  9. Serve them warm in warm pita bread stuffed with lettuce, tomato, tahini, and Mexican salsa. Indians like to eat ambodes with chutney or ketchup. I can’t comment on that.
Ambodes will keep in the fridge for a week or more.

Badami Halu (Badam Milk) Courtesy: K. Raghunandana

A simple, refreshing drink, synonymous with Karnataka is Badam Milk. It simply denotes a
good drink at any time of the day/night, whether hot or cold.
Take 2 Badami (almonds), soak them in water.
Take 1 elakki (elachi, cardamom) crush the seeds well.
Take 2 strands of Kesari (saffron, Zaffran), powder it along with the elakki.
After the Badami has soaked for at least 10-15 minutes, slowly peel off the brown outer skin. Crush the white seeds well. Take a glass (or a mug) of milk, heat it to near boiling point (but not actually boiling). Put the crushed Badami (almond), elakki (elachi, cardamom), and Kesari (saffron, Zaffran) into the hot milk. Add 1 tea spoon of sugar, stir well.

Your favourite drink is ready. If you prefer it cold, chill it and then drink. In some stores, powdered almond or peeled almond is available. This will make the job easier. Also powdered elakki (elachi, cardamom) is available. This makes it easier to prepare Badam milk. It is often served in marriages and other functions, with sweet dishes such as Chiroti, Pheni etc.

There are some extremely good medicinal properties attributed to this drink. Taken before bedtime, it provides very peaceful, nice sleep. It also helps to heal boils in the mouth or throat area. For those who have acidity or ulcers in the stomach, if taken regularly it helps to provide the healing touch. It is also very helpful in reducing dry cough. In pregnant women, the saffron has good effect in preventing and checking the spread of infection. The list is long, and is simply positive. It is hardly surprising that the drink has become so
popular that every other corner store in Bangalore sells it.


Ragi mudde

Ragi Mudde is indeed one of the simplest things to prepare. Take a large mouthed vessel, add a glass of water to it. Heat till the water boils, add salt to taste. Take a glass of ragi flour and mix it in a glass of cold water. Add the dissolved solution slowly to the boiling water, stirring it with a strong ladle (back end). Back home a strong wooden stick is used.

Keep whisking till the mudde (flour dough) becomes smooth and soft without gantu (lumps). Reduce the flame, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. The consistency must be semi solid like the wheat dough. When serving, wet your hand take out and make a ball and put it in the middle of a plate. Pour some sambar around it. Add a spoon of ghee/butter if you wish.

Make it into small marble sized balls, roll it in the sambar liquid and just gulp. Ragi mudde is not eaten by biting since the ragi tends to stick to the teeth. But some like it this way.

This is a very healthy dish both for the physically hard working as well as those with diabetes. It is indeed very healthy for children. It is high in protein, but very low in carbohydrates. Therefore, unlike rice or wheat, it is best for those with sugar complaints.

Eaten by farmers for long, its virtue has been known in recent years, by all in the state of Karnataka. It is almost synonymous with the best of traditional foods, simple, tasty, nutritious and wholesome.

Enjoy the nice, soft ragi mudde – loved by the young and the old.

‘P.S: It is not essential that the ragi flour be first dissolved in coldwater. The flour can be directly put it boiling water. But this needspractice and skill. It can be done by those familiar with the process. Otherwise, gantu (lumps) will emerge in the dough. Inside the lumps, raw flour will be left uncooked. It is essential to avoid this.

Courtesy: K. Raghunanadana

Saaru (Karnataka version)

Saaru is the most common delicacy of Karnataka. Its nearest equivalent is the Rasam of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Although these two are considered somewhat similar, there are considerable differences, which makes them taste similar yet different!

The process of making saaru consists of two distinct phases.

  1. Making the powder (which is done once in several months)
  2. Making Saaru using this powder (which is a daily routine, simpler too)

Making the powder

Saarina pudi (the Saaru powder) has three separate groups of ingredients which are fried and powdered separately, later mixed together.

  1. Kothumbari beeja (dhaniya, coriander seeds) and red chilies in equal quantities by volume. Take 200 gms each of the two and fry them in a BaNale’ (kadayi, wok) with a few drops of oil. Use two long spoons at diagonally opposite ends, lift and drop the ingredients at regular intervals. Use both spoons/ladles to turn around the ingredients regularly. Use low fire and fry slowly until there is a distinct smell with the red chilies turn very shiny.  Stop just as it starts to smoke. Takeout and put in a plate for cooling.
  2. Two teaspoons each of Saasuve’ (mustard seeds, Kadagu), Menthya (methi seeds, Uluva), MeNasu (kura MoLagu, whole black pepper), Jeerige (Jeera, cumin seeds), Gasagase’ (Kuskus, white poppy seeds).  Fry these with a teaspoon of oil, on slow fire. Continue till the mustard seeds and Jeera start to split and turn brown.Take out and put in a plate for cooling.
  3. Two handfuls of Kari-bevina soppu (KariVepalai, curry leaves), one-two small pieces of Dalchinni chekke (pattai, cinnamon), a marble sized Hingu or half a teaspoonof its powder (Hing, Kayam, Asafetida) half teaspoon of Arishina (Manjal, haldi, turmeric powder). Wash and dry the Karibevina soppu and put it at the end; turn around for a minute or two and switch off. Put the Arishina after switching off and allow it to cool in the BaNale’ itself.

Using a dry grinder, powder ingredients of 1), then take out the powder. Powder the ingredients of 3) and then put the powder from 1). Turn in the grinder for a few minutes for them to mix.

Take out the ingredients. Powder the ingredients of 2), put the mixed powder from 3) and 1), continue to turn till the whole mixture mixes uniformly. The final powder will have a deep maroon (blackish brick red) colour and a fine flavour. Remember that in the first one-two days the hotness (khara, teekha, chili hot ) of the mixture is felt, but will mellow down
within a week. Therefore, wait before you make minor changes to the powder (adding fried red chilies to increase or add fried dhaniya seeds to decrease the “khara”).

The powder can be stored in a glass jar for about an year. With time the flavour reduces, so it is recommended normally for 6 month storage.

Making the Saaru

First boil 2-3 tablespoons of Togari BeLe’ (tovar daal, tora paripu, Tovar lentil) which is best done in a pressure cooker. In India, the best variety of Togari BeLe’ (Tovar dal) is grown in Amaravathi dist, Maharashtra. It can also be done quickly by adding more water and putting it in a rice cooker for 20-30 minutes.

After this is done, the BeLe’ (dal) is well cooked and can be mashed (some prefer it unmashed). Add 1/2 to 3/4 of salt (to taste), add 1-2 glasses of water and stir well. Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of the Saarina pudi (powder). At this point, it is common to cut a tomato and add (though not essential). Allow it to boil on low fire for at least 10 minutes.

Take a small marble sized HuNise’ HaNNu (PuLi, tamarind) and soak it in water for 5-10 minutes. Then squeeze it well, take out the waste (pith) and pour in the brownish solution to saaru. Put in a whole stem (8-10 leaves) of fresh Karibena soppu (karivepalai, curry leaves).

For oggaraNe’ (tarka, phodni, bagaar) put a spoon of ghee into a steel soutu (ladle) heat on low fire, put in 1/2 teaspoon of mustard and wait till they split. Put in a pinch of Hing (kayam or asafetida) or one or two pieces of Garlic peeled. Put in the oggaraNe and also put in freshly chopped Kothumbari soppu (Kothumalli, Hara Dhaniya, green coriander leaves).

The Saaru is normally the first item to go with rice. The rice must be a little soft to mix well with Saaru. A spoon of Thuppa (ghee or melted butter) It is also common to drink the top watery part of Saaru (thiLi), with meals. Its fine flavour is enhanced if it is hot and just a drop of ghee is put in before drinking. A great favourite among children is Saaru-Anna
(Saaru+rice) which is mild yet quite nutrious due to the BeLe’ (daal, Lentil) which provides protein.

Instead of tomato, it is common to use finely cut onions. Also used are green beans (HuraLi Kaayi) broken into three-four pieces. However, quite a few KaLugalu (KaLdhanya, whole unbroken lentils) go well with saaru. The most common of these is Avare’ KaaLu (Lilva) which is a raging favourite in Karnataka (Jan-March is its season). Also HuruLi (horse gram which is a flat bean and is brick red in colour) goes well with saaru and is a great favourite in the rainy season.

Another popular item is soppina saaru (spinach saaru) which uses either menthyada soppu (green methi leaves) or some typical varieties of greens such as Dantina soppu, Honagone’soppu (sorry equivalents in other languages not known). Any vegetable or whole grain needs to be cooked in saaru before the tamarind water is put in. The acidic nature of tamarind slows down the cooking rate. Not many vegetables go well with Saaru, which on its own right is a very nice dish both as a soup and as something to go with rice. If only needed as a soup, there is no need to put Tuvar daal, simply cook a tomato and follow rest of the procedure (this is also called MoLag-TaNNi or in English “Mulaugtawni”).


Courtesy: K. Raghunandana

Nimbekayyi Uppinakayyi (Lime pickles – hot) Courtesy: K.Raghunandana

This is one of the most common items, often bought from stores. It is also easy to make at
home, though a bit slow. For those who need the *homely* taste and also those who have
kids etc here is the recipe which *does not* use oil and can give the Khaara
(hot/eravu/teekha) to your taste.
Cut 25 fresh limes (must be semi-ripe at best, but preferably on the green side)and put them
in a large mouthed jar/vessel which has a cover. It is necessary to wash and dry lime and
also this jar/vessel thoroughly, before starting. While putting the cut pieces, sprinkle salt as
you put the pieces layer by layer. Also, after putting salt on each layer, cut a lemon,
squeeze its juice uniformly. For about 25 limes the juice of 5 limes must be sufficient. After
a day, turn itaround with a clean spoon (it is better this turn-around is done daily).
The next day, cut pieces of Haagalakaayi (Karela, pavakkai), to almost 1 cm squares and
put them along. You can also cut and put Maavinakai shunti (mango flavoured ginger),
green chilies cut to 1cm length, or chopped green-beans if you wish. Remember to trun it
around daily, add a small pinch of turmeric (arishina/haldi). The turmeric added must be
really minimum, but is necessary as a preservative. Remember to sprinkle a little salt after
putting vegetables. It must be mentioned that the whole of this paragraph is an option, many
do not like adding anything to the lime pickles, which in its own right, has fine taste.
After 15 days, take a handful of Menthya (methi seeds) dry fry them along with a small
teaspoon-ful of mustard and hing. After it is cooled, grind them well in a dry grinder and
add red chili powder to taste. Then mix it and add these to the well turned, salted limes
(with/without vegetables etc). Turn it around.
After another week of turning around, the pickle will be ready for use. Now take it out and
put it into bottles of convenient size. Any additional salt, hing, chili powder etc., can be
added before bottling them. After bottling, ensure that it settles, leaving the red pasty layer
on top (i.e the cut pieces should stay submerged). The juice squeezed in initially, decides
the amount of pasty layer. For those who like the uppinakaayi rasa (this pasty-tasty part) a
liberal amount of squeezed juice is advised, but it will also need a proportionally
additional amount of salt to taste. While using, ensure that you use a dry spoon, remember
to keep the mouth of the bottle clean and closed after use. It is not necessary to refrigerate
the pickles but these days most people do, more as a precautionary step.
It is important to wash and clean and dry everything thoroughly. Any trace of water reduces
the shelf life, so it better to take extra care in doing the whole process in a clean,
systematic way. Once done, the pickles easily last well over an year. For children and
those who need less of chili, the chili proportion can be reduced. A favourite with curd
rice, the lime pickle goes equally well with dose’ (dosa), idli, bread toast or for that matter
anything that needs a spicy-tasty side-dish.
P.S: For a good reddish colour the powder from Byadagi menashinakayi (red chili from
Byaadagi, North Karnataka), is used. This may not always be available. It is good to
remember that Byadagi chili gives good colour but has less khara (teekha/eravu). Any chili
powder basically does the job, colour is just a matter of aesthetics and has very little to do
with the taste of the pickle.

Kodubale Courtesy: K.Raghunandana

This is one of the widely known snacks of Karnataka, perhaps also popular in other parts
of South India. It is fairly easy to prepare, but needs some initial patience and effort. A trial
on a week-end is suggested. KODU means Horn (like that of a cow) and BALE means
Bangle, the best one is made by grand-mother.
Rice flour (slightly coarse, gives more crispy touch)
red chili powder
Jeera (cumin seeds)
Hing (asafetida)
grated coconut
dried & crushed curry leaves
white sesame seeds
salt to taste
Oil to fry
Proportion is for 500 gms of rice flour, put in a handful of each of the other ingredients
(except chili powder, ooh, just a table spoon of that would do).

Mix the rice flour, red chili powder, salt, butter (one quarter piece of the commercially
available pack), and all the above ingredients in the dry form. Knead with hand to ensure
that butter gets uniformly mixed in the dry flour. At this stage some people prefer to put 1
or 2 red chilies in hot oil, take out after 1 minute, cool, powdered by hand and mix with the
dry flour. This gives a traditional flavor to KODUBALE. Also, freshly grated coconut
gives a much better taste than the dry coconut powder available in stores. If using fresh
coconut, save the coconut water, to mix the dough. This enhances the taste.
Frying procedure : The proper method is not to mix water to the flour all at once, but to
sprinkle, enough to make a handful of wet dough at a time, finish that and proceed again.
So, mix water to a portion of the dough (preferably at the centre), mix it to a semi-wet
paste (not as wet as a chappathi/bread dough – remember – rice flour does not have the
stickiness of wheat and stays together more loosely, held by ingredients). Take a lemon
sized ball and start rolling on a cutting board. The consistency should be sufficient to roll,
but not too wet/soggy. If the water is less, the rolled rod breaks. If this happens, add a little
water (coconut water if you have). Remember, do not put too much pressure on the semi-
wet dough, but gently roll to form a smooth natural rod, rolling sideways to get an even
thickness of about the small finger on your hand. When the rolled rod becomes 4 inches
long, slowly turn around the ends, join them to form a circle (like a bangle). The correct
consistency is that at the points of bending, small cracks may appear, but the roll will not
break. Carefully hold it at the circumference and slide it along Wok-edge into hot oil. Use
medium flame to heat the Wok (BaNale or Kadayi). Sunflower oil is preferable to others
since it does not have any odour of its own. Back home, the popular medium is unrefined
groundnut oil (coconut oil is popular in S. Canara dist).
Put in 5 to 6 Kodubale at a time and deep fry slowly till brown. Use the back of stainless
steel spoon or a wooden rod to lift them thro’ the centre hole.To test consistency, break one
after cooling; it must be crispy with crumbs at the center. If the butter is too much, the
KODUBALE breaks into pieces after getting into the hot oil. If the water is too much, the
KODUBALE becomes smooth and soft. Lack of butter makes it pretty hard, which, many
people do like. Adjust your proportion, Khara (chili powder) etc by tasting one, then
proceed with the further batches. It can be kept in bottles for 15 days to a month and eaten
at tea time (all the time – for kids :-), as experienced people will tell you). The right thing
to have on a rainy day; if it is a little on the hotter side (taste-wise) it will go very well
with beer 🙂
If you have a tough time/run out on your patience, beat the lemon sized balls into flat round
pieces like mini pappadums and fry. If you have decided to do this, add roasted groundnut
seeds and Purikadale (bhoonja chana) to bring a distinct taste. This is also called Nippattu
in Kannada (I know the Telugu people have a name for this, but can’t remember).
is a song of the good-old times. May not be as cheap now, but still is sold in all the
bakeries – isn’t it 🙂

Koduballe II Courtesy: Pushpa Sudhakaran

Ravi, I use rice four. The secret however is to use 1/4th of the rice four (one cup of rice
flour and 1/4 the cup of) kadalepoppu roasted and ground in dry grinder. You should also
use 1-4 teaspoons of butter or oil, a pinch of baking soda, and salt. Also, red chilies
roasted in a drop of oil and powdered coarsely. Mix every thing with water and roll and
fry. I bet you know what to do after this! EAT

BaaLekaayi Bajji (unripe banana bajji) Courtesy: K. Raghunandana

This is a very tasty, crunchy yet soft, saltish snack widely made popular by Udipi
restaurants. Unripe banana (BaaLe’ Kaayi) is widely available the world over, and this
simple, quick, dish can be prepared in minutes.
4-5 BaaLe’ Kaayi (unripe, green bananas – firm and green)
kadale’ hittu (besan flour, chickpea flour)
rice flour
hasi kharada pudi (red chili powder)
1/4 litre of cooking oil (groundnut oil or sunflower oil depends on individual preference)
a small marble sized tamarind
salt to taste.

Take a bowl of water and soak the tamrind. Lightly squeeze the
tamarind to make a weak solution of tamarind water. Take the green bananas, lightly peel
the skin (optional, since many prefer to retain the skin which is very high in fibre content),
cut the end tips. Make thin slices (about the thickness of a coin) lengthwise. Put the
rectangular cut pieces in the tamarind solution (this solution prevents pieces from turning
Take 150 gms of kadale’ hittu (besan flour, chickpea flour) and 50 gms of rice flour (besan
gives the colour while rice flour gives the crispness). Add 1/2 teaspoon of red chili
powder. Add a few drops of oil (to give a crunchy outer crust), add salt to taste and mix it
with hand, adding water slowly. Stop adding water when it becomes a thick paste that
drops as you take hand out of the bowl, but does not run-off the hand. Some people prefer
to add paprika powder to get some “extra-hot” colour but this is purely optional.
Take oil in a BaNale’ (kadaayi, wok), heat it on medium-low fire. After the oil is hot but
not fuming (can also be tested by putting a drop of the mixed flour and seeing that it comes
up to surface bubbling, within 1-2 seconds). Take the cut banana pieces from the tamarind
solution, dip it in the pasty dough to cover it fully and then slide them into the BaNale’. At
this stage the dough’s consistency can be checked. If it is too thick, the pieces dont get
covered well and if too thin, dough runs off leaving the pieces exposed. At least 4 or 5 of
them can be put in one round. Allow them to fry, turn around, till they are deep brown in
colour. Take them out, serve them with coconut chutney. The unique taste of BaaLe` kaayi
(raw plantain/banana) has a sweetish hint. It is an excellent vegetarian equivalent to the
fish fingers, both in consistency and taste. It is very popular in the rainy season.
Useful hints: The same procedure can be used to make bajji from a variety of other
vegetables. Some of the popular vegetables for bajji are – onion (cut in circular pieces),
potato (again cut circularly), DoNNa MeNasina Kaayi (green pepper), Heere’ Kaayi
(ripple gourd available in Indian/Chinese stores), large green chilies (MeNasina kaayi
bajji) which are very popular in rural areas, several American gourds. Even greens can be
used to make bajji, the most popular being sappaseege’ soppu (Dil – available in most
supermarkets), and menthyada soppu (Methi leaves). The greens must be washed, dried,
cut and directly mixed with the dough. One teaspoon of greem mixed dough can be slid into
oil to make a bajji. Bajjis make an excellent snack with afternoon/evening tea or coffee.