Ulava Charu is a winter favourite in Andhra Pradesh and I absolutely love it. And then I saw the movie Ulava Charu Biryani (nothing to do with the biryani per se) and since then this idea of making this dish has been on my mind.
Horse gram (called Ulavalu in Telugu, Kulith in Marathi, Kollu in Tamil, and Muthira in Malayalam) is nutritious and very warming in nature. As a result, it is eaten only when the weather is cold. Horse gram is largely savoured as a rasam (Ulava Charu or Kollu Rasam) or as a dry curry (Kollu Sundal, Muthira Upperi).
You can also make Ulava Charu Biryani by cooking vegetables and rice in Ulava Charu. The result is a tangy, spicy biryani that is quite a treat.
How to Make Ulava Charu Biryani
Ulava Charu Biryani
This is the recipe for Ulava Charu Biryani, which is made by cooking rice and vegetables in the extract of horsegram (called Kollu in Tamil, Kulith in Marathi, and Muthira in Malayalam).
Main Course, Mains
Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Recipes, Indian Food, Vegan, Vegetarian
1/2CupUlava, Kollu, Horse Gram
1/4CupChopped French Beans
The Spices and Other Ingredients
2tbspThick Tamarind Pulp
6 to 8Cloves
4 to 6PodsGreen Cardamom
1 or 2PetalsJavitri
Salt to Taste
Preparing the Horse Gram Extract
Wash and soak the horse gram in 2 cups water for at least 6 hours.
Pressure cook the horse gram for 6 to 8 whistles till it is mashable.
Drain and reserve the water in which it was cooked.
Grind the cooked horse gram to a paste.
Mix the ground paste into the reserved water and boil for 5 minutes.
Strain out all the horse gram pulp. Discard the pulp and reserve the water. Our biryani will be cooked in this water.
Preparing the Rice
Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes in 2 cups water.
Drain all the water from the rice.
Making the Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani
Over medium flame, heat the oil.
Add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, javitri, and green cardamom.
Stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add sliced onions and crushed garlic.
Stir-fry till the onion is translucent.
Add all the vegetables and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well.
Add the rice and mix well.
Add 2 cups of the horsegram extract. If you have less than that, add some water to make up the volume.
Add the tamarind pulp and mix well.
Cover and cook till the Ulava Charu Biryani is done. Mix with a gentle hand at regular intervals.
Serve with cold dahi and papad on the side.
Step-by-Step Recipe for Ulava Charu Biryani
Making the Ulava Charu
Wash the horse gram under running water and soak it in 2 cups water for a minimum of 6 hours. I soaked for 10 hours.
Pressure cook the horse gram till it is well-cooked. I cooked mine for 6 whistles.
Let the pressure cooker cool.
Check that the horse gram is cooked.
Drain the water from the horse gram and save the water. We will use this water for cooking the horse gram paste in a few minutes.
If the horse gram is hot, let it cool a bit and then grind it to a paste.
Combine the horse gram paste and the reserved water.
Boil this mix, while stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. You need to stir because the horse gram paste has a tendency to settle to the bottom and burn.
Strain this boiled horse gram mix. Reserve the horse gram extract.
Discard the horse gram residue.
Getting the Rice Ready
Wash the rice under running water till the water runs clear.
Soak the washed rice in 2 cups water for 15 minutes.
Using a colander, drain all the water from the rice. Let the rice remain in the colander so that residual water drains from it.
Cooking the Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani
In a large enough kadhai, over medium flame, heat the oil.
To the oil, add all the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, mace, and whole green cardamom) and bay leaves.
Fry for 1 minute till the spices are fragrant.
To the fried spices, add the sliced onions and crushed garlic.
Saute till the garlic is fragrant and the onion is translucent.
Next, add all the vegetables and mix well.
Stir-fry the vegetables for about 2 minutes.
To the vegetables, add the haldi, red chilli powder, and salt.
Add the soaked and drained rice.
To the spiced vegetables, add 2.25 cups of the horse gram extract and the tamarind paste. If the horse gram extract you have is not sufficient, add some water.
Cover and cook till the rice and vegetables are done. Because Ulava Charu tends to be sticky it forms a crust at the bottom very quickly. So, every few minutes, using a gentle touch, mix the biryani.
Take off the Ulava Charu Biryani off the heat. At this stage, the biryani may look just a bit wet and sticky but will dry out quickly.
Let the Horse Gram Biryani rest for 10 minutes.
Serve Ulava Charu Biryani with cold dahi and papad on the side.
Khichdi is such a comfort food for all Indians and there are so many variations of it across the length and breadth of India. Today I present Balaee, a khichdi made with rice, chana, and buttermilk in the Kangra Valley region of Himachal Pradesh.
I have already written about the Masoor Dal Biryani by Mahjabeen Sayed a few weeks ago. It has become quite a staple in my home because it is so easy to make and delicious to boot. At that time, Afreen Sayed (Mahjabeen-ji’s daughter and my colleague) had mentioned that I should add boiled eggs to it. I did not do that the first time I made this biryani but this week, I made the Masoor Dal and Boiled Egg Biryani and it was quite a revelation.
The taste of the boiled egg adds quite a new dimension to this biryani and so now you can expect this Masoor Dal and Boiled Egg Biryani to be regular in my home.
Thank you, Mahjabeen Sayed and Afreen Sayed, for this recipe. It made for a perfect weekend dinner and I am looking forward to trying other variations.
How to Make Masoor Dal and Boiled Egg Biryani
Masoor Dal and Boiled Egg Biryani
This recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani and Boiled Egg Biryani is an adaptation of the plain Masoor Dal Biryani. The boiled egg elevates the biryani to another level and makes it a complete meal.
1/2CupWhole Masoor Dal
1/2CupFinely Chopped Tomatoes
1/2CupDahi or Curd
1/2 + 1/2CupFinely Sliced Onions
1tspFreshly Grated Ginger
1tspFreshly Grated Garlic
1tspRed Chilli Powder
4tspGhee – 2 + 2 tsp
2-3dropsYellow or Saffron Food Colouroptional
A Few Mint Leaves for Garnish
Salt to Taste
Whole Garam Masala for the Rice
2-3PetalsJavitri or Mace
Whole Garam Masala for the Masoor Dal Gravy
2-3PetalsJavitri or Mace
2LeavesDry Bay or Tej Patta
Preparing the Eggs
Hardboil the eggs.
Let the eggs cool.
Peel the eggs
In a pan, heat about 2 tsp of ghee.
Add a bit of turmeric and red chilli powder.
Add the eggs and saute till the egg white is well coated with the spices and fried a bit.
Turn off the heat and let the eggs cool.
Cut each egg in half and set aside.
Preparing the Masoor Dal
Wash and soak the masoor dal in 2 cups water for about 2 hours.
Preparing the Basmati Rice
Wash the basmati rice thoroughly.
Soak the rice in about 3 cups of water for 10 minutes.
Drain the water.
Tie the spices mentioned as whole garam masala for rice in a small piece of cloth to form a “potli.” (I have a tea infuser and put all the spices in that).
To 3 cups of water, add the whole garam masala “potli” and ½ tsp salt.
Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Add the soaked basmati rice.
Cook till the rice is al-dente or 75% cooked.
Drain all the water and set aside.
Prepare the Sliced Onions for Garnish
In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tsp of ghee.
When the ghee is hot, add ½ cup sliced onions and 2 large pinches of salt.
Over medium flame, stir-fry till the onion slices are golden brown.
Making the Masoor Dal Gravy
In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat 2 tbsp ghee. This vessel should be large enough to accommodate the rice that will be added later.
Add the spices mentioned as whole garam masala for Masoor Dal gravy.
Stir-fry for 10 seconds.
Add ½ cup finely sliced onions.
Stir-fry till the onions start to turn brown.
Add the ginger and garlic.
Stir-fry till the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappears; about 10 seconds.
Add finely chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, and turmeric.
Stir-fry till the tomato pieces are softened.
Add the soaked and drained masoor dal.
Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ cup water.
Cover and let the masoor dal cook. Add a little bit more water, if required.
After the masoor dal has cooked and the water has evapourated, turn off the heat.
Add ½ cup well-beaten dahi and salt.
Mix well. Add a bit of water, if required.
Set aside for 5 minutes.
Making the Masoor Dal and Boiled Egg Biryani
Add the partly cooked rice to the masoor dal gravy.
Place a lid on the vessel. The lid should fit tightly so that no steam escapes from the vessel. Place a small weight on the lid, if required.
Over low flame, cook the biryani till the rice is cooked. This takes about 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes.
Let the Masoor Dal Biryani rest for 10 minutes.
Garnish with deep-fried onions, boiled eggs and mint leaves.
This recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani has been contributed by Mahjabeen Sayed, the mother of one of my colleagues, Afreen Sayed. In fact, the recipe that Mahjabeen-ji has shared is very versatile and can be adapted to make a variety of biryanis. This is my first adaption of this wonderful recipe.
I have never met Mahjabeen-ji personally but seem to know her well through the lovely dishes I taste in Afreen’s lunch. Afreen herself is a great foodie and is brimming with recipe ideas.
Me thinks my recruitment team subconsciously evaluates every potential team member for their “foodie quotient.” Not much else can explain how so many foodies congregate at one place. 😀
Anyway, coming back to the recipe for Masoor Dal Biryani, this is the first time I have cooked with whole Masoor Dal. I now realise what I have been missing.
What I particularly liked about this Biryani recipe is that it gets done very easily and is a no-fuss recipe that yields great results. Thank you, Mahjabeen Sayed, for this recipe. It made for a perfect Sunday lunch. Hope to have many many more recipes from you and cook for you someday. 🙂
Rice Rava Upmas are very popular in South India. I have already written about Uppu Pindi and Biyyam Rava Challa Upma or Majjiga Upmafrom Andhra Pradesh.Today, I am bringing you another Rice Rava Upma, this time from the state of Tamil Nadu. Called Arisi Upma, this delicious upma is made out of coarsely ground rice and tuvar dal that has been spiced with pepper, cumin, red chillies, and grated coconut.
What I love about Arisi Upma is that as you make it your home will be redolent with the aroma of coconut oil and spices. The very process of making this upma can make you very very hungry!
I absolutely loved the taste of Arisi Upma and for some reason it also reminded me of the taste of Kodubale.
How to Make Arisi Upma
Arisi Upma - Spicy Rice Rava Upma from Tamil Nadu
Arisi Upma is a simple recipe made of rice rava that also has some tuvar dal. It is spiced with pepper, cumin,coconut, and red chillies. The result is a wonderfully spicy dish that can be eaten as a snack or as a meal by itself.