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.

Indian Flat Beans Curry/ Chaprada Avere Palya/ Papdi ki Sabzi

Indian Flat beans are referred to as chapparada avare in Kannada and as Chikkudu kaya in Telugu, Val papdi in Guajarati. In Bangalore where I grew up, these beans were readily available and my mom used to prepare it often. But here in the US they are not readily available and had almost forgotten about it.

However few weeks ago a good friend of mine got a bagful of beans for us and so I got an opportunity to prepare this dish. The combination of this curry along with tomato rasam, yogurt rice forms a comforting meal. This dry curry also pairs well with daal rice and or rotis/chapathis.

When you buy fresh beans get tenders ones. Also make sure that a proper inspection is done while cleaning and chopping the beans as worms tend to get inside the beans. That is indicated by the brown discoloration on the outside, so make sure you do not pick them.


  • 3 cups of chopped flat beans/val papdi
  • ½ cup lilva beans (or lima beans )
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic pods (crushed)
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 3-4 Curry leaves
  • ½ Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves (garnish)


  • (Note: Make sure the flat beans are thoroughly washed and the edges and strings of the beans are removed. After that cut each one into 2-3 pieces using knife. Note: You can pre-cook the flat beans separately in a pot of water along with salt. That way this sabji can be made quickly.
  • Take a big flat bottom pan; heat about 1 Tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the curry leaves, jeera/cumin seeds and mix until it turns light brown.
  • Add the urad daal and stir until it turns light brown.
  • Add the crushed garlic cook until it browns; add diced onions and sauté until it softens.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add the chopped flat beans and stir until it mixes with the onions and seasoning.
  • Sprinkle some water, stir in between making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Add salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir again.
  • Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer, stir in between. Switch off when the beans are cooked (has bite to it, but not over cooked).
  • Finally add chopped coriander for garnish and mix. Serve hot with rice/rotis. 

Dry Mushroom Curry/Mushroom Fry Recipe

Growing up, mushroom was a rarity and something that did not get cooked often in our kitchen. But after living in the US for a while, I have developed an acquired taste to it and now beginning to like it. On the other hand DH and the kiddo have had no problems and like pretty much anything made with it. This dish was something that DH made for the kiddo over the weekend and we all enjoyed it.

This is a no-fuss, straightforward recipe which do not require too many ingredients. While preparing this dish, DH added only half of the tomato as the kid is not too fond of it, but we recommend adding at least two tomatoes while cooking otherwise the curry might get too dry. Also feel free to change the spices based on your own preference.


  • 4 cups mushroom( cleaned and chopped) ( I used button mushrooms)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt (per taste)


  • Wipe the mushrooms with damp paper towel or cloth. Do not soak them in water. After it is dry chop them to pieces.
  • Heat oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the ginger garlic paste and cook. Next add the chopped onions and fry till they become translucent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, salt and continue to stir until they have become soft.
  • Add garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and mix well.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms, little sprinkle of water and cover with lid. Mushrooms do not take a long time to cook. After a minute remove the lad and stir well.
  • Remove from heat and add the juice of lemon. Toss gently. Serve hot along with Rice, rotis.