Masala Poori Chaat| How To Make Masal Poori

Masala Poori is a popular street food in the state of Karnataka. For the uninitiated, it refers to a warm chaat wherein a flavourful green pea gravy is poured over crushed crunchy pooris. This is served topped with sev, finely chopped onion and tomato, lots of coriander, and sweet and spicy chutneys.

In Bangalore, you will find Masala Poori (aka Masal Poori) being sold at almost every street corner. It is something I took a lot of time wrapping my head around – for me, chaat is never warm, always room temperature. However, as I began trying more of it, I started appreciating its many layers and even started liking it. It’s just the perfect thing for the overcast weather in Bangalore most part of the year and, when made right, can be absolutely delicious too.

One of my aunts, who has lived in Karnataka for decades, has a definite Kannadiga touch to her cooking. She is my go-to person for all things Kannada and culinary, from whom I have learnt many of the state’s heritage dishes. Masala Poori is the husband’s absolute favourite thing ever, so it is one of the very first things I learnt to make from her. Today, I’m going to share with you all how to make Masal Poori, the way I have learnt from my aunt, the way we make it at home.

A closer look at Masala Poori Chaat

There are three main components of a Masala Poori Chaat:

1. Crunchy golgappa pooris, i.e. the pooris that are used to make pani poori. You can make these from scratch if you prefer or buy the ready-to-use ones that are commonly available in departmental stores these days. I bought the flat ‘pani poori papads‘ that are available in several stores now, and then deep-fried them at home.

2. The green pea gravy that is poured over crushed pooris. It is always made using dried green peas, never fresh peas or dried yellow peas. The dried green peas are soaked, then cooked along with a few spices and other ingredients.

3. The toppings, which are similar to those used in any chaat – chopped onion and tomato, coriander, sev, and sweet and spicy chutneys. Here is how I make the sweet chutney at home, and here’s my recipe for the spicy green chutney.

I would like to add here that the making of Masala Poori is fairly simple though, at first glance, there seem to be many ingredients involved. Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or the lengthy method. There are a few easy steps to perform, after which putting together the Masala Poori is a breeze.

How to make Masal Poori

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

To grind together – 1:

1. 4 medium-sized tomatoes

2. 1 small onion

3. 4-5 cloves garlic

4. A 1-inch piece of ginger

To grind together – 2:

1. A handful of fresh coriander, leaves + stems

2. A handful of fresh mint leaves

3. 2 green chillies or as per taste

Other ingredients:

1. 1 cup dried green peas

2. 1 medium-sized potato

3. 1 small carrot

4. Salt to taste

5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

6. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)

7. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

8. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala

9. 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds powder

10. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala

11. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

12. About 30 golgappas/ pani poori pooris

For garnishing:

1. 1 medium-sized onion

2. 1 small carrot

3. About 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

4. 1 medium-sized tomato

5. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as required

6. Spicy green chutney, as needed

6. Fine sev, as needed

Method:

1. Soak the dried green peas in enough water to cover them completely, for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. When the peas are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Take the drained peas in a wide vessel. Peel a medium-sized potato and a small carrot, chop them into large pieces, and add these to the peas in the vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover everything fully.

3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow to cook for about 4 whistles or till everything is well-cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

4. In the meantime, we will grind together the first set of ingredients needed for the Masala Poori. Peel the ginger, garlic cloves and onion and chop them roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly too. Grind together the chopped ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes to a smooth puree. Keep aside.

5. Now, we will grind together the second set of ingredients we need. Chop the coriander leaves and stems and green chillies roughly. Add them to a mixer jar along with the mint leaves. Grind together to a smooth puree along with a little water. Keep aside.

6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the vessel out. Transfer the cooked potato and carrot pieces and about 2 tablespoons of the cooked peas to a mixing bowl. Mash these well, using a potato masher. Keep the rest of the cooked green peas aside – do not discard the water they were cooked in.

7. Transfer the tomato puree we ground earlier to a large pan. Place on high flame. Once the pan gets heated up, reduce the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the ingredients is gone completely. Stir intermittently.

8. Add some salt to the pan, along with turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well.

9. Now, still keeping the flame at medium, add the coriander-mint puree we ground earlier, to the pan. Mix well.

10. Add in the cooked green peas, along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well.

11. Now, add the garam masala, coriander seeds powder and jaggery powder to the pan. Mix well.

12. Now, add in the mashed potato and carrot. Mix well.

13. Cook everything on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the gravy thickens and comes together. Stir intermittently. You may add more water if the gravy becomes too thick. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but is still on the runnier side, as it will thicken up more upon cooling.

14. Mix in the lemon juice. The ‘masala‘ is ready. Keep it covered while we prepare for the chaat to be served.

15. Next, we will prepare the garnishing we need to serve the Masala Poori. Peel the onion and chop finely. Chop the tomato and coriander finely. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick. Keep the sweet-sour tamarind chutney, spicy green chutney and fine sev ready.

16. When you are ready to serve the Masala Poori, ensure that the ‘masala‘ is warm if not hot. To assemble one portion, take 6-7 golgappas in a large bowl and break them up using your hands. Put a couple of ladles of the hot/warm ‘masala‘ on top of the pooris. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney on top, as per taste. Add some chopped onion, tomato and coriander and grated carrot on top. Drizzle some fine sev on top of this and serve immediately.

17. Prepare all the portions of Masala Poori and serve the same way.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the amount of water you use depending upon the consistency of the masala you require. Ideally, it should be runny but not too watery. Also, do remember that it thickens up with time.

2. Don’t skip the jaggery. It adds a lovely flavour to the Masala Poori.

3. Sometimes, whole spices like cinnamon are added into the masala. I have skipped them because my family doesn’t prefer them.

4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences. If the heat from the green chillies is enough, skip the red chilli powder completely.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Gojju Avalakki| Huli Avalakki| Karnataka Style Beaten Rice

I’m forever hunting for new ways to make beaten rice aka poha. It’s so easy to prepare and such a versatile ingredient after all, one that can be cooked in n number of ways. In fact, I’m pretty sure every part of India has at least one indigenous poha variety! Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for Gojju Avalakki, or poha cooked Karnataka-style. It is a huge favourite at our place and, if you have ever had the pleasure of tasting it, you won’t wonder why. 🙂

A bit about Gojju Avalakki

Like I was saying earlier, Gojju Avalakki refers to the way poha is prepared in the South Indian state of Karnataka. The dish is a mix of sweet and sour and hot, a beautiful coming together of flavours. It is an absolute delight to eat, albeit not very difficult to put together.

Gojju Avalakki is called so because it uses ingredients like tamarind, coriander seeds, coconut, cumin and dry red chillies, which are typically used in making Karnataka-style gojju or relish. It is also called Huli Avalakki thanks to the tanginess the dish gets from the use of tamarind – ‘Huli‘ being ‘sour’ in Kannada and ‘avalakki‘ being ‘beaten rice’.

Gojju Avalakki is similar to the Puli Aval of Tamilnadu, but has several pronounced differences too. It is a heritage Karnataka recipe, one of the state’s traditional dishes, which you will commonly find being prepared in households but is slightly difficult to find on restaurant menus.

Our family recipe for Gojju Avalakki

There are several variations to the Gojju Avalakki recipe, with the dish being prepared in different ways in different parts of Karnataka. Further, different families add their own little flourishes to the Gojju Avalakki.

The recipe for Gojju Avalakki I’m about to share today is, I believe, for the way the dish is made in Bangalore. It comes from an aunt of mine, who’s an expert in Karnataka cuisine and my go-to person for any doubts of the culinary type. She, in turn, learnt the method from one of her friends in Bangalore.

Some families use rasam powder or sambar powder to hasten the process of making Gojju Avalakki, but this recipe uses a freshly ground spice mix. I rather prefer this, as the spice mix makes the dish all the more fragrant and flavourful.

Is this Gojju Avalakki vegan and gluten-free?

This recipe for Gojju Avalakki is completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable to those following a plant-based diet.

It can easily be made gluten-free too, by simply skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most brands of asafoetida available in the market include asafoetida to some extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, please do go ahead and use it.

This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe as well.

How to make Gojju Avalakki

Here is how we go about making it. It is a rather simple and straightforward proceedure, and the tips and tricks mentioned at the end of this post will help you get it just right.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 2 cups medium-thick beaten rice aka poha
  2. A small piece of tamarind
  3. 1 tablespoon peanuts
  4. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  5. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  7. 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  11. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

To grind:

  1. 1-1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  2. 3-4 dry red chillies
  3. 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  4. 1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  7. 1/3 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Firstly, soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for about 10 minutes. Let it get soft.

2. Dry roast the peanuts on a medium flame till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Keep aside.

3. Now, we will dry roast the ingredients needed for the spice mix. Add the coriander seeds, dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, sesame seeds and cumin seeds to the same pan we used earlier. Dry roast the ingredients on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till they turn fragrant. Ensure that they do not burn. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down fully.

4. Wash the poha well under running water. Place in a colander and let all the water drain away.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left and right: Steps 7 and 8

5. Let the poha sit for about 10 minutes, by which time it will become nice and soft. Then, fluff it up gently, using your hands.

6. Mix the salt and turmeric powder with the fluffed poha. Keep this ready.

7. When the tamarind has softened, extract all the juice from it. Keep the extract thick and don’t make it too watery. Keep ready.

8. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Add in 1/3 cup of grated coconut. Grind everything together to a powder, stopping every 2-3 seconds to mix up the ingredients. Keep the spice mix ready.

Top left and right: Steps 9 and 10, Centre left and right: Steps 11 and 12, Bottom left and right: Steps 13 and 14

9. Now, we are ready to start making the Gojju Avalakki. Heat the oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add in the roasted peanuts, asafoetida and curry leaves, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

10. Reduce the flame to medium. Add the poha to the pan.
11. Add the jaggery powder to the pan. Give it a quick mix, and cook on medium flame for a minute.

12. Now add the tamarind extract and the spice mix we prepared earlier to the pan. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

13. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium flame or till everything is well integrated together. Switch off gas.

14. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of fresh grated coconut. Your Gojju Avalakki is ready to serve. Serve it hot.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used moderately thick poha from the Bhagyalakshmi brand, here. It doesn’t need soaking – just washing it in cold water is enough. If you are using thicker poha, soaking might be required.

2. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, dry red chillies and jaggery as per personal taste preferences.

3. I prefer using a mix of the not-so-spicy Bydagi dry red chillies and the hot Salem Gundu dry red chillies to make the spice mix. The Bydagi chillies are what give the dish its beautiful, orange-ish colour.

4. I always dry roast the peanuts first, before using them in the dish, as they get crisper and nicer that way.

5. Ensure that none of the roasted ingredients (for the spice mix) get burnt. Grind the mix only when all the ingredients have completely cooled down.

6. Keep the tamarind extract thick and not too watery. A very watery extract will make the poha soggy.

7. Don’t overcook the poha after adding the tamarind extract and the spice mix. That might make the poha hard. Cooking for just about 4-5 minutes is enough.

8. Some fresh coriander can be used to garnish the Gojju Avalakki too, though it isn’t used traditionally. I usually don’t use it.

9. The spice mix can be prepared in bulk and used to make Gojju Avalakki as needed. I prefer preparing it fresh, on the spot.

10. The spice mix can also be prepared by grinding rasam powder (or sambar powder) with the 1/3 cup of fresh coconut. In that case, you don’t need to dry roast the ingredients as stated above. I sometimes take this shortcut too, but usually do the spice mix from scratch. Gojju Avalakki made using the short-cut tastes great too, but nothing like grinding it fresh as per the method above.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi| Dhaba Style Potato And Green Peas Gravy

Sweet memories of tender, seasonal green peas


Green peas are one of my most favourite veggies to cook with, in the winters. Back when I was growing up in Ahmedabad, green peas used to be available only in the cold months of winter, when they would be at their most tender and sweetest best. I remember Appa coming home with cloth bags full of green peas from the local market – they would be super inexpensive too! Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi, a delicious gravy made using potatoes and green peas, would definitely feature on the menu on most market days. It is this very recipe that I am about to share with all of you today.

Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi

About the Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi


Green peas and potatoes are a beloved combination all over India, and different states have their own way of using the duo in a sabzi. This version here is the Punjabi style, something you will commonly come across in dhabas. I have countless memories of sitting at the dhabas of Delhi, relishing this sabzi with a platter of naan and some buttermilk.

This Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi has always been a favourite with all of us at home. Even today, winters feel incomplete to me if I do not make this sabzi at least once. I recently brought home the first green peas of the season from the Kadlekai Parishe, and had to cook this, of course. Served hot with straight-off-the-stove plain parathas, it made for a meal that was nothing short of heavenly, considering the ice box that Bangalore has become lately.

How I make the Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi


I make the Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi in a pan, the way I have always seen Amma do, with some little changes of my own. It turns out beautifully, full of flavours and delectable. It is not a difficult dish to prepare at all – once the potatoes and green peas are pressure-cooked and ready, it takes bare minutes for the sabzi to come together. What’s more, it is a low-oil curry that can be cooked with just about 1/2 tablespoon oil!

In itself, this Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those on a plant-based diet. There is no ginger, garlic or onion used in the dish too, which also makes it Sattvik and Jain. Skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, and this sabzi can easily be made gluten-free too. This is so because most commercial brands of asafoetida do contain some amount of wheat flour. However, if you are able to get your hands on gluten-free asafoetida, please do go ahead and use it.

Recipe for Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi, my way


Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  • 1. 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 2. 2 cups of shelled green peas
  • 3. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  • 7. Salt to taste
  • 8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 9. Red chilli powder to taste
  • 10. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 11. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  • 12. About 3/4 cups water
  • 13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • 14. 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
  • 15. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

1. Wash the potatoes clean under running water, scrubbing clean any traces of dirt from them. Cut them into halves and place in a wide vessel. Add in just enough water to cover the potatoes fully. Pressure cook the potatoes on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Take the green peas in a wide vessel too. Add in a little water, about 2 tablespoons. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Puree in a mixer, and make a fine paste. Keep aside.

4. When the pressure has released fully from the cooker, get the cooked potatoes out. Allow to cool, and then peel them. Cut the cooked potatoes into large cubes. Keep aside.

5. Once the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked green peas out. Keep aside.

6. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Add in the asafoetida.

7. Now, add the tomato puree to the pan. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently, till the raw smell of the  tomatoes goes away. This should take 3-4 minutes.

8. Add the cooked potato pieces and green peas to the pan, along with about 3/4 cups of water. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, jaggery powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Mix well.

9. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas when the gravy thickens and the sabzi reaches a consistency that is runny but not too watery.

10. Crush the kasoori methi roughly with your hands, and add to the pan. Add in the lemon juice and the finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Your Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi is now ready to serve. Serve it hot with rotis or parathas.

Tips & Tricks


1. I prefer using the more tart and flavourful country (Nati) tomatoes to make this sabzi, rather than the ‘farm’ variety.

2. You can add some ginger, garlic cloves and chopped onion to the tomatoes, grinding them all together to make the gravy. I prefer using only tomatoes, though.

3. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the sabzi you prefer. I keep it runny – as it thickens on cooling – but not watery.

4. Chana masala can be used in place of garam masala, for a different-tasting sabzi.

5. Make sure the potatoes and green peas aren’t overcooked, but are done just right.

6. The jaggery powder is optional, but I would highly recommend using it. It doesn’t make the sabzi very sweet, but balances the tartness of the tomatoes beautifully and makes the flavour to the dish well-rounded.

7. The starch from the potatoes is enough to thicken the gravy. You don’t really need cashewnuts or fresh cream to do so, but you may add them if you prefer.

8. Make sure you crush the kasoori methi between your palms before adding it to the Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi. This helps in releasing its flavour.

9. Skip the lemon juice if the tartness of the tomatoes is enough.

10. The potatoes and green peas require different cooking times, so I cook them separately and then add them to the sabzi. I prefer making this Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi in a pan, rather than a pressure cooker.

11. I like my Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi to have more green peas than potatoes, and the above quantities work just perfectly for us. You may use more or less potatoes and/or green peas as per personal taste preferences.

12. For best results, use fresh green peas when they are in season. However, this Punjabi Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi can also be made using frozen peas.

13. You can add in some cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom along with the cumin. I sometimes do that, but mostly skip these ingredients and keep the sabzi really simple.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Lemon Coriander Soup With Vegetables

Look at that lemon!

I found the most fragrant of lemons at my vegetable vendor’s, recently. You know, those big lemons that are zested and used in desserts on cookery shows? They look imported – American? Italian? My vendor has no idea. I bought one to try out, and then I had to go back and pick up a few more, because they were so very aromatic and juicy! These lemons are a far cry from the dried-up, wrapped-in-plastic imported ones that we frequently come across in the supermarkets of Bangalore. They provided me with the perfect foil to prepare Lemon Coriander Soup, something I had always wanted to do.

I absolutely adore Lemon Coriander Soup, the citrus-y tang, the fragrance of coriander, the almost clear texture. I’m a sucker for anything with citrus in it, and this soup has my heart. It is my first preference of soup while we are eating out. I never ventured to make it at home, though. So, I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for Lemon Coriander Soup with vegetables on Sasmita’s blog First Timer Cook. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect – it is soup season in Bangalore now, and I had all the ingredients for it ready, gorgeous lemons included. I made the soup over the weekend, with some little variations to the original recipe, and was it lovely or what?! It turned out to be utterly delicious, beautifully scented with lemon and coriander, just like the ones we have at restaurants. It was so very simple to prepare too!

This post is brought to you in association with the Recipe Swap group that I am part of, on Facebook. Every alternate month, the members of this group pair up, and cook from each other’s blogs. I was paired with Sasmita for this month’s challenge, and was asked to prepare any recipe from her blog. While Sasmita’s blog has loads of traditional Oriya recipes and several beautiful bakes, this Lemon Coriander Soup was the obvious choice for me!

Here’s how I made the Lemon Coriander Soup with vegetables. Do try it out too, and share your feedback.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 4 cups + 2 tablespoons water
  2. 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves, with stalks
  3. 1 green chilli
  4. 4-5 strands of lemongrass
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. A 2-inch piece of carrot
  7. 4 garlic cloves
  8. 1 big piece of babycorn or 1 tablespoon sweet corn kernels
  9. A small piece of cabbage
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder or to taste (optional)
  12. 1/2 tablespoon cornflour
  13. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander or as needed, for garnishing

Method:

1. Chop up the 2 handfuls of coriander leaves, along with their stalks, roughly. Chop the green chilli and the lemongrass stalks roughly too.

2. Take the 4 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, and place it on high flame. Add in the roughly chopped coriander leaves and stalks, green chilli and lemongrass strands. Let the water come to a boil, then turn the flame down to medium. Allow to cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. Switch off gas. This will form the stock for the Lemon Coriander Soup.

3. Now, we will prepare the vegetables needed for the soup. Peel the garlic cloves and carrot, and chop finely. Chop the babycorn and cabbage finely.

4. Take the cornflour in a small cup. Add in the 2 tablespoons of water. Make a slurry, without any lumps.

5. Strain the stock we prepared earlier, using a colander. Discard the chilli, coriander and lemongrass. Reserve the stock.

6. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the finely chopped garlic, carrot, babycorn or sweetcorn kernels and cabbage. Drizzle some salt. Saute on medium flame till the veggies are cooked through but are not overly mushy. They should retain a bit of a crunch. Sprinkle a little water over the veggies if they get too dry.

7. When the vegetables are cooked, pour the strained stock into the pan. Add in salt to taste, black pepper powder (if using), and the cornflour slurry we prepared earlier. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the soup thickens a little, about 2 minutes.

8. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings. Add more water if required. Switch off gas.

9. Mix in the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander. Serve the Lemon Coriander Soup immediately.

Notes:

1. You may skip the vegetables, if you so prefer. In that case, just prepare the coriander-chilli-lemongrass stock, add the cornflour slurry, allow to thicken, then switch off gas and add lemon juice and finely chopped fresh coriander.

2. Use a neutral oil like olive oil or refined oil to make the Lemon Coriander Soup.

3. If you feel the heat from the green chilli is enough, you can skip the black pepper powder entirely.

4. Wheat flour can be used to thicken the soup, instead of corn flour. However, I have used corn flour here to retain the clear texture of the soup.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Weekend Getaway To Pearl Valley, Near Anekal

We are trying to make the most of the beautiful, beautiful weather in Bangalore lately. Of late, weekends see us on heading out on long drives, exploring places, seeing the city we live in with new eyes. One of my cousins has moved from the US of A, and we are – sort of – helping him get acquainted with Bangalore. Suits me just fine! So, that’s how we came to be checking out this place called Pearl Valley one gorgeous rainy weekend.

And we’ve arrived at Pearl Valley!

Located about 40 km from Bangalore, Pearl Valley needs just about an hour’s time to drive down. The roads are in great condition, and the ride is smooth. You pass through some narrow roads and little villages en route, all of it made extra charming by the pretty weather. Google Maps is a great guide to take you to this little known picnic spot, just 5 km or so away from Anekal district.

The little lake that greets you upon your arrival at Pearl Valley

There’s not much to do at Pearl Valley, whose original name is Muthyala Maduvu. It is, however, a nice spot for a relaxed half-day picnic in natural surroundings, I would say. This is a green valley situated in the midst of mountains, and a trek through the valley will bring you to the star attraction – a waterfall. I’ll hasten to tell you that the waterfall isn’t much to look at (definitely not in the league of Jog Falls or Shivanasamudra), and the trek doesn’t really involve very rugged terrain or an extremely tough trail. That said, it’s still a scenic place to visit, especially in the monsoons, a quiet sojourn away from the chaos of city life. My 4-1/2-year-old did a fairly decent job of the trek, as did the other two little ones in our family. I’d say this is a nice place for beginner trekkers or for children to get a feel of trekking or walking amidst wilderness.

Look at that green, green valley!

A hotel run by the Karnataka Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) – Mayura Nisarga – is the only sort of commercialisation you will find at Pearl Valley. Mayura Nisarga is, actually, a bar-cum-hotel serving vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The hotel premises are where you park your vehicle and take a loo break, before heading down to the waterfall in the valley. Beware – monkeys run amok at this spot and are known for snatching food and drinks from the hands of unsuspecting tourists!

Up to monkey business!

The trekking trail here is still under construction. You’ll find proper steps along part of the way, while the rest is just finding your foothold amidst worn rocks and bushes and mud. There are no signboards or restrooms once you begin the trek, descending into the valley. No monkeys inside the valley, thankfully!

Down, down, down we went that steep flight of stairs!

One little girl had her first ‘trek’ experience amidst narrow trails!

The views en route are pretty, albeit nothing extraordinary. I especially loved the rustic temple we passed en route. If you need to take a break, rocks and grassy land are all you have to sit on.

Captured on camera en route

This temple had me charmed!

The waterfall you reach after the trek is, really, just a little trickle. Don’t go for the waterfall – go with family and friends to make memories along the way.

The little waterfall at Pearl Valley

Notes for travellers:

1. The villagers of Muthyala Maduvu charge an entry fee of INR 30 per vehicle. Apart from this, there’s a small parking fee to be paid for using the premises of Mayura Nisarga.

2. The food and beverages at Mayura Nisarga are pretty sad – speaking from personal experience. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry a lunch hamper from home. It would be best to leave the hamper in your vehicle – thanks to the monkeys – and wait till you reach a safe spot somewhere nearby, to eat.

3. The trek can be a bit much for the aged and infirm. Children above 4 can head in, I’d say, provided they are able to walk independently. It’s about a 45-minute walk in all.

4. Like I was saying earlier, there’s not much of development or vigilance inside the valley. We spotted bunches of people ducking under bushes with bottles of alcohol, and a few couples trying to get close. That said, there were quite a few families trekking the day we visited too. There’s really no one to keep an eye on the place, a sad fact.

5. Carry a backpack with water bottles, umbrellas and/or rain coats, and a few snacks while you trek. Comfortable attire for trekking is highly recommended.

6. The valley is not the cleanest of places. Be prepared to see several plastic bags and bottles, juice cartons, snack covers, alcohol bottles and the likes strewn all over.

7. There’s nothing much to do or explore in the immediate surroundings. Plan your visit accordingly.

8. Mayura Nisarga offers some good views of the valley, which you might want to check out.

9. The valley was quite green and pretty when we visited, probably because we visited in the peak of monsoon. We had good weather too, as we trekked. I doubt either of this would be the case, if you visit in the non-rainy months.

10. We didn’t come across any flora or fauna of interest, in the course of our trek.

11. Pearl Valley is open from 7 am to 7 pm every day.

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I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #290. The co-host this week is Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau.