“Ulava Charu” in the winter! There couldnâ€™t be a better time to enjoy this steaming hot delicious Andhra soup with rice!
Rasam or Chaaru is a South Indian soup prepared with tamarind water, tomatoes and pepper, coriander, garlic and other spices and tur dal. It is eaten with rice, or can be had as a soup. In a normal South Indian meal, rasam or chaaru is a must.
Horse gram or ulavalu (Telugu), Kulith (Hindi) and Kollu payiru (Tamil) is a staple lentil of many South Indian farmer families. It is a small, flat, oval bean with a dark rusty tan color with an assertive earthy flavor. Horse gram is believed to prevent the formation of stones in the kidney and for those with the problem, consuming boiled horse gram water for one month will help to dissolve the urinary stone and can help cure it without surgery. It is also believed to be beneficial for cough and phlegm too.
Ulava Charu is a traditional Andhra Rasam. Its a thick horse gram lentil soup and is generally served with fresh cream or butter and rice. In our homes we serve it as a special dish for parties and weddings.
1 cup ulavalu (soaked overnight)
small lemon sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water
3 green chilies slit length wise
10 button onions (peeled)
2 whole dry red chilies
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jaggery (optional)
2 tbsp oil
For the Powder:
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves
Grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds and garlic cloves to a fine powder and keep aside.
Soak overnight the horsegram (ulavalu) and boil it in 8 cups of water in a fairly large pot. Boil till the dal is well cooked. Generally ulavalu will not have a mushy appearance as compared to other lentils like tur dal. The liquid has a dark brown chocolate color. Strain the liquid and 1/2 cup of cooked dal. The remaining left over dal can be thrown away. Generally its used by farmers as fodder for their cattle.
Take 1/2 cup of cooked ulavalu and one cup of the strained ulavallu water and grind it to a paste. Keep aside the ulavalu paste.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Now add cumins seeds,whole red chillis and curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
Now add the shallots and green chillis and fry for 3 minutes.
Add the strained ulavalu water and let it boil. Add salt, jaggery and turmeric pwd.
Now add the ground pwd, ulavallu paste and tamarind paste and let it cook on low heat for 20- 25 minutes stirring occasionally and till you get a thick soup like consistency.
Serve hot with rice and a generous amount of fresh homemade butter or cream.
Generally the butter is melted and added to the soup and rice, mixed and eaten. Ulava Charu is a very tasty dish, relished more during winter times as its supposed to give heat to the body.