Monday, April 24, 2006

A Ton Of Protein # 1 - Saar Upkari

Red skinned potatoes & chick peas

This is one of the first Konkani dishes that I tried out after marriage. It is also perhaps one of the easiest to prepare. This concept of a two-in-one dish was really new to me then and I loved it. I still quite like it for the very same reason actually.
Shall we just get on with the recipe then?

Recipe for Saar Upkari - My first recipe for 'A Ton Of Protein'
Serves 2.


½ cup of any pulse/beans (I have used white chick peas/Kabuli Chana)
3 small potatoes or 1 large potato
1 green chilli
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds (preferably the tiny red variety)
1-2 dried red chillis
6-7 curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida


1. Soak the beans for approx. 6 hours or overnight. You could use any beans for this preparation e.g. all types of chick peas (white/red/green), kidney beans, read beans, Moong beans, horse gram/kulith, Haricot beans ('baked beans' fame).

2. Combine the soaked beans with diced potatoes. Again, you could use yam/Suran or tapioca root instead of potatoes.

3. Pressure-cook the two with lots of water. You could use the same water in which the beans were soaked or use fresh water. Everybody has a different theory regarding this, so just do your own thing.
Also, this is a very forgiving dish, so don't worry too much about the quantities. Neither of the vegetables/pulses nor of the water. Just make sure that the vessel can contain it all. :)

Soaked chick peas and diced potatoes ready to be pressure-cooked

4. Once the mixture is cooked, take it all out into a pan, in which you can now boil it. Mash a few beans and potato pieces. Let them loose their shape. That's how they are supposed to look - without any sharp outlines.

5. Slit the green chilli in the middle without breaking it into two and add it to the mixture. Add some more water, if necessary. Add salt to taste.

6. Boil the whole thing for about five minutes. Now keep a lid ready for this pan, but don't cover it yet.

7. Take the oil in another pan or tadka ladle.

8. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and wait until they start spluttering.

9. Now add the red chillis, broken into two or three pieces each. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Turn the heat off.

10. Add this tadka to the beans/vegetable mixture and cover the pan immediately. Turn off the heat. Let the flavours blend into each other for a few minutes.

11. Before serving, separate Saar (the watery part of this curry) from Upkari (the cooked beans and vegetables).

12. Serve Saar in bowls for drinking. Beware: The first swig always makes you cough!
Serve the Upkari with chapatis or with rice.

Diagonally from left to right: Upkari & Saar

PS: The tadka can be made also with oil, mustard seeds and 3-4 cloves of garlic. The rest of the ingredients are not necessary then. Those who love garlic, will just love this version of Saar Upkari. Garlic flavoured Saar is perfect for winter evenings!


Ashwini said...

Garlic baghar is perfect for everything :-)
I particularly like saar upkari for how economically everything is utilised. and with great flavor too.

BDSN said...

Hey Vaishali...
I do have a question for you?Why do u separate the saar and upkari?are they supposed to be served like that?

Vaishali said...

Ashwini, the flavour IS indeed great, isn't it?

BDSN, yes, that's what the concept is. That you separate the two. You could add as much water to it as you want before boiling it with salt and green chilli. The point is that you don't have to make Saar/Rasam separately.

bilbo said...

Hey Vaishali,
thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your invite.
loved going through yours. Ppl in Japan would love your concept of trupti, cus non of the food related noises, like burping or slurping are considered rude here. Also loved the way you take pics. Especially for the strawberry jam, the arrangement of sugar cubes was cute and loved the asparagaus framing the rest of ur veggies.
I am such a lazy ass when it comes to doing something like that.

Vee said... have let out the secret, vaishali.:) I consider konkani cooking the best for busy mom's.You add papad, pickle and some chopped tomatoes,cucumbers to your plate and its like you practically made a feast.isn't it amazing?

Vee said...

I mean't moms not mom's....silly typos...

Vaishali said...

Bilbo, great to know that the Japanese too are relaxed about all those 'forbidden' noises. Btw, I learnt Japanese for over a year. That was about 12 years back. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay in touch with the language. You know, nobody to talk to in Japanese, not many books to read, etc.
Anyway, I am flattered to hear that you like my pics. I am often quite moody with them. Sometimes I am happy spending half hour on one and sometimes I am too lazy to even lift the camera.

Vee, I like Konkani cooking for
a) very different ingredients are married and they still blond so well with each other.
b) a huge diversity of ingredients is used.
Yes, and I know what you mean when you say that you can rustle up a kinda feast in little time. My mother-in-law does that so well.

Garam Masala said...

Vaishali - I like your special touch to your presentation! This is a perfect dish for when you would like to dash in and out of the kitchen and still prepare a satifying meal! Keep them coming!

I didn't know that beans/legumes etc needed to be supplemented with cereals.

Vaishali said...

Hi GM, thanks for stopping by. Saar Upkari is really a fast dish to make.
Yes, it's not like you have a bowl full of steamed sprouts and say, aah, I had my share of protein for today. I, too, didn't know this until about three years back. You never stop learning, do you?

Indira said...

Two dishes for one effort, what a time saving idea.

I'm thinking of trying saar upkari with chickpeas first, following your recipe, as I 'like' anything with chickpeas. Certainly will let you know.

We prepare almost similar kind of saar(chaaru) with leftover, drained water from poli preparation. (soaked and cooked chanadal water). Tastes superb!

Vaishali said...

Indira, thanks for stopping by. Have you blogged about this 'chaaru' that you make? I'd love to try it out. I like all kinds of Saar and I don't mind having one with every meal.

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