Menthada Huli

Menthada Huli
'Huli' is to Kannadigas, what 'aamti' is to Maharashtrians. The term 'huli' means sour. I cook a lot of Madhwa recipes on a regular basis (courtesy my parents and my late grandmother). Madhwa cuisine usually abstains from onion and garlic. However, over a period of time, these taamsik ingredients have found their way to our everyday meal :)

In my house, 'huli' usually refers to toovar dal to which a souring agent like tamarind is added. But today, I was in no mood to have my everyday share of protein and wanted to have something tangy to liven up my tastebuds. So, Menthada huli it was, to be made in a jiffy! This particular recipe does not use any dal. 'Mentha' here refers to methi or fenugreek seeds which lends its unique flavor to this dish.

This dish can be made with or without any vegetables. I added a bit of  ladies fingers to it to give it a nutritious punch. Other veggies like Bangalore brinjal, chow chow, and drumsticks too can be pre-cooked separately and added. Please note, it is important not to add other varieties of brinjals which contains seeds, to this dish.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

Ladies finger (okra), chopped into inch-long pieces - 6 in number

Onions - 4 medium sized onions, sliced vertically

Tamarind soaked in water - about the size of 2 lemons

Besan - as a thickening agent, about 1-2 tsp. To be made into a thick slurry with water

Jaggery powder (mildly sweet) - 2 tsp

Water - as needed

Salt - to taste

For tempering

Peanut Oil -  about 2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Methi (Fenugreek) seeds - 1.5 tsp

Urad dal - 2 tsp

Chana dal - 1 tsp ( I did not use it)

Curry leaves

Green chilli - 1

Red chillies - 4 ( The chillies I used are very hot)


Start by heating the oil for tempering in a kadhai. When the oil is sufficiently hot, put the ingredients under tempering and let its flavours ooze out in the oil for a minute or so. Next, add in the ladies fingers and onions and cook till the vegetables are almost done. Once the ladies fingers are cooked, add in the tamarind pulp, and about 1 small cup of water.  Add the  thick slurry of besan  to the gravy and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes till the besan gets cooked. Add jaggery powder, salt and check the dish for its consistency. Add more water or besan slurry to adjust the consistency of the dish to your liking. You can add more jaggery as well to suit your taste buds :)

This is a hot (not spicy!)  preparation and is ideal to be eaten with rice and a side of papad. It is more of a comfort food for us, which gets done in no time. Hope you try it and enjoy it!


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