In several Old Bangalore-style eateries, popularly called Darshinis, you will find a very different type of rava upma on the ‘tiffin’ menu. This version of upma, a popular breakfast dish in several parts of Karnataka, is reddish-yellow in colour, tasting slightly tangy and spicy and very different from the regular, white sooji upma we are typically used to. The unique colour and taste of this upma comes from the Vangi Bath (Karnataka-style brinjal rice) powder that is added to it. I absolutely adore this variation of rava upma, called Khara Bath in local parlance. I present to you today the recipe for Bangalore-style Khara Bath, the way I learnt to make it years ago from an aunt of mine.
You can use either fine sooji (aka rava or semolina) or the thicker Bansi rava to make Khara Bath. The key to getting this dish right is in the roasting of the semolina. It needs to be roasted perfectly, until it emits a lovely fragrance, taking care to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Using good-quality Vangi Bath powder is a must too, and I swear by the one by Sanketi Adukale. I’ve been using spice mixes from the brand for quite some time now, and love how fresh, fragrant and authentic they are, free of artificial additives and preservatives.
You can choose to add a lot of veggies to your Khara Bath, or keep it simple by using only tomatoes and onion. I prefer the latter, personally, but it tastes lovely either way! This dish often finds a place on our dining table, considering it makes for a hearty meal that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.
I’m sharing our family recipe for Khara Bath for the week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is #ThindiYenu, which is Kannada for ‘What’s for tiffin?’. The members of the group are, today, showcasing breakfast recipes from the state of Karnataka, for the theme. It was Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen who suggested the theme, a talented cook whose blog is full of detailed recipes from all over India.
Now, without further ado, let me outline the Khara Bath recipe. This is a completely plant-based, vegan dish.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1-1/2 cups fine sooji (semolina or rava)
- 4-1/2 cups water
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1 large onion
- 1 large tomato
- About 1/4 cup shelled green peas
- 2 green chillies
- 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 5-6 teaspoons Vangi Bath powder
- Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1. Take the sooji in a thick pan and place it on high flame. Once the pan heats up, reduce flame to medium. Dry roast the sooji till it begins to emit a lovely fragrance, taking care not to burn it. This takes 3-4 minutes, by which time the sooji will start to brown slightly. Switch off gas at this stage and transfer the roasted sooji to a plate. Keep aside.
2. Chop the onion and tomato finely. Peel the ginger and chop it very finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
3. Heat the oil in the same pan we used before. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add in the asafoetida, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
4. Add the chopped onions and ginger to the pan, along with the shelled green peas. Add in a little salt. Saute on medium flame till the onions start turning brown and the peas are mostly cooked, about 2 minutes.
5. Add in the tomatoes. Saute on medium flame till the tomatoes shrink , 1-2 minutes.
6. Now, keeping the flame medium, add in the water. Add in salt and turmeric powder, and mix well. Keep on medium flame till the water starts boiling.
7. At this stage, add in the lemon juice, Vangi Bath powder and red chilli powder (if using). Mix well.
8. Still keeping the flame medium, add the roasted sooji to the pan, little by little. Keep stirring constantly, to prevent the formation of lumps.
9. Cook on medium flame till the mixture thickens, the water dries up, and the sooji is cooked through. This should take 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
10. When almost done, mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Switch off gas when the Khara Bath is done. Serve hot, with chutney of your choice.
1. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Khara Bath you require. Here I have used 3 cups of water per cup of rava. In traditional Old Bangalore eateries, you will find this Khara Bath quite runny in texture, almost like a liquid-y khichdi.
2. I have used store-bought Vangi Bath powder from Sanketi Adukale. You can make your own Vangi Bath powder at home as well.
3. If the heat from the green chillies and the Vangi Bath powder is enough, you can skip the red chilli powder entirely.
4. You can skip the lemon juice entirely, but I personally prefer adding it in because I love the slight tartness it adds to the Khara Bath. Alternatively, you could use more tomatoes in the preparation.
5. I prefer using the more tart Nati (country) tomatoes in the Khara Bath, as opposed to the ‘farm’ variety.
6. A simple coconut chutney is the best accompaniment to this Khara Bath.
7. Bisi Bele Bath powder can be used in place of Vangi Bath powder, in the above recipe.
8. A little fresh grated coconut can be added to the Khara Bath too. It adds a lovely flavour to the dish. I haven’t, here.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!