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'
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. :)
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.
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!