Growing up in Ahmedabad, I never knew something called Bonda Soup existed. It was the husband who introduced me to it, a while after we were wedded. We were breakfasting in a ‘Darshini‘ – the name which is commonly used to refer to little, quick-serve eateries all over Karnataka – near our place in Bangalore. I ordered my favourite masala dosa, while the husband opted for the Bonda Soup. He explained to the curious me what Bonda Soup was – deep-fried bondas made of urad daal, soaked in a slightly spicy, slightly tangy daal soup. He explained how it was a much loved snack all over Karnataka, and urged me to take a spoonful.
To be honest, the Karnataka Bonda Soup did not sound appealing at all, the first time I heard of it. It did not sound appetising at all, not something I thought I would like. One bite into it, though, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the neither thin-nor thick broth, the fragrance of the ginger, green chillies and coriander in it, the way it turned slightly tangy with the tomatoes, the way the crisp shell of the bondas soaked the broth in. Years later, I’m still in love with this beauty. Have it at the right places, and I’m sure you will fall in love with them too!
Because the husband loves Bonda Soup so very much and because I grew to love it too, I learnt to make it at home, over the years. It makes for a gorgeous snack for lazy weekends and can even double up as a weekday dinner. It is absolute comfort food on gloomy winter days and dark rainy days alike.
For this month, cuisine from the state of Karnataka was chosen as the theme for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. My partner for the month, Sujata Shukla, the talented blogger behind Pepper On Pizza, assigned me two secret ingredients – urad daal and ginger. I instantly knew I wanted to make Bonda Soup, and that is just what I went ahead and did.
Today, I present to you my Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
For the bonda:
- 1/2 cup whole or split urad daal
- Salt to taste
- 2 green chillies
- 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
- A few slivers of fresh coconut
- Oil, as needed to deep-fry
For the soup:
- 1/2 cup split yellow moong daal
- 1/2 cup split orange masoor daal
- Salt to taste
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 big tomatoes
- 3-4 green chillies
- 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Lemon juice to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
Let us begin by making the batter for the bonda.
1. Soak the urad daal in just enough water to cover it, for 3-4 hours.
2.Once soaked, drain out all the water from the urad daal.
3. Grind the soaked and drained urad daal to a fine batter, along with chopped green chillies and salt to taste. Add a little water while grinding, if required.
4. Roughly tear the curry leaves with your hands, and add them to the ground batter. Add in the coconut slivers too. Mix well. The bonda batter is ready.
Now, we will prepare to fry the bondas and make the soup.
1. Wash the moong daal and masoor daal together under running water a couple of times. Drain out the excess water.
2. Add in the tomatoes (chopped), green chillies (slit) and ginger (peeled and chopped finely). Add in enough water to cover the ingredients. Pressure cook all these ingredients together for 5 whistles or till the daals are soft. Let the pressure come down naturally.
3. Heat oil for deep frying bondas in a pan, till it reaches smoking point.
Meanwhile, we will make the soup.
1. Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard, and let it pop.
2. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
3. Reduce the flame to medium. Gently mash the moong daal, masoor daal and other ingredients we pressure cooked, and add these to the pan. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water. Adjust the amount of water depending upon how thick you want the soup to be. It should, ideally be runny but not too watery. Mix well.
4. Let the soup simmer on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off the flame.
5. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice to taste. The soup is now ready.
Now, we will fry the bondas.
1. When the oil reaches smoking point, reduce the flame to low-medium. Drop medium-sized balls of the batter into the hot oil. Deep fry these bondas evenly.
2. Deep fry bondas using all the batter, the same way. Keep aside.
How to serve the bonda soup
1. If needed, heat the soup mildly.
2. Add a few ladles of the soup in a serving bowl.
3. Add 2-3 bondas to the serving bowl. Serve immediately.
1. I commonly use whole white urad daal to make the bonda.
2. You can add in some finely chopped green chillies and black peppercorns to the bonda too. I skip these, usually.
3. If the soup feels a tad bland, you can add in a bit of coriander powder and/or red chilli powder.
Did you like the Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe? I hope you will try it out too, and that you will love it as much as we do!
This Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.
I suggested that my partner for the challenge, Sujata Shukla, use the two secret ingredients of bamboo shoots and coconut. Being the brilliant cook that she is, she whipped up an excellent Coorgi Baimbale Kari. Do head over to her blog to check the recipe out!