Konkani Undi/ Steamed Rice dumpling

Blame it on the winter season, but lately I have been on the lookout for ‘chatpata’ steamed food that can be made ‘zhatpat’. One some really cold days, I don’t care for heavy meals, but feel like nibbling on some warm finger food along with hearty soup. So while on quest for such recipes on the net I landed on Lakshmi Canteen a wonderful blog which is a store house of tradition Konkani recipes.

 When I looked at her “Undi recipe, I froze as I had completely forgotten about it. It is a well loved breakfast/snack dish our favorite and one my mom-in-law makes for us often when we are in Bangalore. Traditionally this is made by soaking rice overnight and then grinding it in the morning along with coconut. But I took some shortcuts and made it the quicker way using Idli rava. 

Note that the rava that is used here in this dish is rice rava (used for making idlis) and not the sooji rava. Also using chopped coriander leaves in this is traditionally scoffed upon, but I for one cannot do without these leaves and use it in almost anything savory. If you do not like then do skip them. 

I have been told that these are called as upma khozukattai in Tamil.

Recipe Adapted from Lakshmi Canteen 


  • 1 cup idli rava [not sooji rava]
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2.5 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves 


  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp methi seeds
  • 4- curry leaves (broken)
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated) [optional]
  • 2-3 Green chillies [chopped finely]
  • 1 Tbsp urad daal  


  • Heat a big pan and add oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter then add urad daal and continue to stir until it turns light brown
  • Add the methi seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and grated ginger and mix again.
  • Now add 2.5 cups of water and let it come to boil.
  • Add the idli rava, salt and continue to stir until the water has evaporated.  Add the shredded coconut, chopped coriander and stir. Turn off the gas.
  • Let this cool (not completely).Rub some oil on the palms and make small balls out of the dough. Using index finger make a hole in the middle.
  • Now take these balls and steam it in a pressure cooker like idli for 8-10 minutes.  (Without the weight). I used the idli stand greased it and placed 6-8 undis on one plate.
  • Serve hot as is or along with coconut oil or podi. 

Quick Bisi Bele Bhath

As I looked through my old recipes on this blog, I was surprised to find that I have not posted the recipe for Bisi Bele Bhat yet. It is a famous and a classic dish of Karnataka, Bisi-bele-bhaath literally translates to hot-lentil-rice in Kannada. Having grown up in Bangalore this dish was common in the restaurants, homes, functions, festivals, temples tec. It is a warm comforting food and the one that is very close to our hearts. 

 It is also known as Bisi bele huliyanna.It is a wholesome dish laden with lentils (proteins), rice (carbs), vegetables along with plethora of spices. Pair this with raita and it makes it even more nutritious. A one post dish and a quick one this can be put together in no time. 

The traditional preparation of this dish is quite elaborate and involves preparing the powder from scratch using various lentils and spices. However I use the store brought powder MTR brand (boy, do I love taking shortcuts) which eliminates this step making the cooking easier. Also add any vegetables of choice.

 A good raita (yogurt based condiment) along with potato chips/boondi makes a great accompaniment to this dish. Yogurt is not only nutritious, but it cools down any kind of heat from the effect of the spices/powder in the dish. Finally do not forget a dollop of ghee while serving!


  • 1 cup rice (raw)
  • ½ cup Toor daal
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shelled peas
  • ½ cup carrot  (peeled & chopped)
  • ½ cup beans (stringed and chopped)
  • Tamarind  juice (size of a small lime)
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • A pinch asafetida
  • Oil
  • salt
  • 8-10 Cashew nuts


2 Tbsp MTR brand Bisi Bele bhath powder


  • Soak tamarind in a little warm water and extract juice and keep it aside.
  • Heat water in a vessel and add the chopped vegetables along with little salt and cook. Keep aside.
  • Wash rice and daal separately and place them in pressure cooker in separate containers until cooked. Note: The rice needs to be soft and not separate unlike for the rice dishes. After the daal is cooked, mash it well.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan and then heat oil.
  • Do the seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, and broken cashew pieces.
  • Add the chopped onions, after it turn light brown add the tomatoes and stir until the tomatoes are cooked.
  • Add the cooked vegetables and give it a good stir.
  • Add the Bisi bele bhat powder, tamarind juice, salt and continue to cook.
  • Add rice and daal  mix well. Let this simmer on the stove for about 15- 20 minutes.
  • Keep stirring in between so that the daal does not get stuck at the bottom.
  • Serve hot with raita, chips/boondi. Add a small spoon of ghee, just before serving.


Spinach Pithla

Pithla is spiced gravy made out of Besan (Chickpea flour). It is a quick recipe to have on hand when you are out of vegetables or want to cook something quick and easy. The combination of Pitla Bhakri or Jhunka Bhakri is famous in North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. The dry version of Pithla is known as Jhunka/ Zunka. 

My mom used to make this for breakfast along with Jowar Bhakri and garlic (lassuni) chutney. Growing up I never liked this much especially with rice and I would come up with ‘creative’ excuses to avoid this dish. But then recently a colleague of mine had brought this for lunch to eat along with Rotis and I loved the taste. I could not wait to try this out at home. 

Since besan has a bland taste, I made this spicy by adding more garlic and green chillies. You can add red chili powder if you prefer, but that will change the color of this dish. Adding spinach is optional and you can substitute with methi/fenugreek leaves or add more coriander leaves if you wish. Pithla goes well with Bhakri, or Roti or even rice. 

Note: Pithla tastes good when it is piping hot. It is better to use this in one go. Storing in the fridge and then re-heating multiple times is not recommended.


  • 4 Tbsp besan (gram flour)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3-4 Green chilies
  • 2-3 garlic pods (peeled)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 3 cups of packed spinach leaves (cleaned, stem removed  and chopped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 strands of coriander leaves
  • Asafetida/hing (a pinch)
  • Turmeric powder (a pinch)
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon (optional)


  • Take a bowl, add the besan/gram flour, turmeric and stir in water until it has buttermilk like consistency. Makes sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.
  • Crush together garlic pods and green chillies and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in pan/kadai. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida and when they splutter add the coarsely ground green chilli-garlic paste.
  • Add the chopped onions and fry until they become translucent. Add the chopped spinach, salt and mix until it is cooked.
  • Add the besan liquid to this and keep stirring continuously. After a while the water dries and the besan starts becoming thick. Check for salt and seasonings.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice.
  • Serve hot with Bahkri, Chapathis or with Rice.