Ulava Charu – Horsegram Lentil Soup

Ulava Charu

“Ulava Charu” in the winter! There couldn’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.

Ulava Charu – Horsegram Lentil Soup

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  horse gram
  •   tamarind


Horse gram or ulavallu (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.
  • http://mtastes.blogspot.com/ Lera

    Sailu ,Thanks a lot, for your spicy Authentic Andhra Ulava charu for which I have been craving since long, but couldn’t find a recipe .Plan to do this next week & It’s gonna be named after you at home.(” sailu’s ulava chaaru”)

  • Indira

    What a great entry, Sailaja.

    Neenu kuda, ee recipe kosam veduku tunnanu. Maa vipu, ee chaaru intilo cheyaru. kaani nenu oka friend intilo ruchi chusaanu. Baaga nachhindi.
    Ippudu mee recipe valla, nenu kuda intilo chesukovachhu. Thanks!

    • Gopi_gopal448

      nijamgana me to i like very much .lz call me 9390053239

  • http://www.thecookingadventuresofchefpaz.blogspot.com/ paz

    Sounds perfect, indeed, for the winter.


  • Kathy

    I really like your blog.

    I have one question though…

    What is jaggery?

  • sailu

    Lera,your most welcome..do tell me how the ‘andhra ulava chaaru’ turned out..:)

    Thank you, Indira.
    Chaala santhosham,Indira,meeku ee chaaru tappakunda chayyandi….

    Perfect for the winter,Paz.

    Thank you,Kathy.
    Jaggery is a pure, wholesome, traditional, unrefined, whole sugar. It contains the natural goodness of minerals and vitamins inherently present in sugarcane juice & this crowns it as one of the most wholesome and healthy sugars in the world. It Mexico & South America, it is also known as panela.Its often called the
    ‘medicinal sugar’.
    It is available in any Indian grocery store.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15288953 cric_watch

    Hi Sailu,

    Would like to know if U have any other recipes using horsegram. I once had a side dish(something like kurma), made with horsegram which went well with puri & peas pulao,in a friend’s place. They were from Andhra. So thought it might be some traditional andhra recipe. If U have any recipe like the above said, pls do post it.

  • LisaSD

    Sailu–I love the taste of tamarind, but I never knew it was used as an ingredient, only as a condiment. This sounds delicious!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16426366 tanuja

    Hi Sailaja thank u for remembering me of my golden days by reading ur ullava chaaru receipe . when i was in INDIAN i used have it almost once a week after coming out that was just left behind in my ddreams this is one of my fav.

    Can u help me by giving me the info if i can buy ullavalu in US , I am from ATLANTA GA thank u once again , u have a good collection of receipes.

  • sailu

    cric_watch,sure will post more horsegram lentil recipes.

    Lisa,it is delicious,indeed!

    Tanuja,I am glad it brought back memories of home..:).Horsegram lentil is available in Indian grocery stores,I heard.I am not really sure which store its available in Atlanta.

  • Pingback: Spicy Horse Gram (Ulavalu, Kuthlee, Kollu) Rice « Out Of The Garden()

  • jyoti kulkarni

    hi sailu,i made it yesterday, my method is slightly different. i used sprouted horsegram, boiled, strained it. i boiled this water with tamarind, mirchi powder, mtr rasam powder, salt. then i added ground paste of one onion,fresh coconut, one spoon of left over horsegram. temper with garlic, curry leaves..it was very tasty, try this, this is mysore style.

  • Poornima

    Hi Sailaja,

    Is it possible that you could upload more recipes using uluvalu, that doesn’t have much oil. I am a weight watcher and i have heard that its very very healthy.



  • Rob Gajula

    I don’t understand why you have to throw away half of the cooked lentils when you can only cook half the quantity needed for the amount of raasam needed. Looks like a dumb idea.

  • Rob Gajula

    I don’t understand why you have to throw away half of the cooked lentils when you can only cook half the quantity needed for the amount of raasam needed. Looks like a dumb idea.

    • chitti

      it is healthy to eat that lentil too….

  • Vin

    During the harvest season, the bulls work very hard and need extra nutrition to get going.The caring farmers give the bulls boiled “vulavalu” when they return home after a hard day’s work..Vlavalu are boiled in an earthen pot with extra quantity of water for about six hours under low heat.The delicious “vulavalu” after straining are given to the bulls in fresh bamboo baskets.The leftover water is used to prepare “Vulava Charu” .You can not call any thing as “Vulava Charu” unless or otherwise prepared as above.

    To be called “Vulava Charu” it has to be necessarily prepared in Andhra Pradesh and no where else in the world.

  • P Gavini


  • anu

    hey guys dont throw the balance lentils.its a good medicine for kidney stones.after sesoning add chilli powder and after 1 min add lentils.its a good curry

  • Surya Desaraju

    This recipie is very confusing esp around the part after cooking the dal and upto the point of ingredients addition after sauting the seasonings. Two thumbs down