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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A - Z Karnataka Recipe Series ~ L for Limbe Hannina Gojju

So far in my 'A - Z' Karnataka recipe series,
A - Akki Halbai
B - Biscuit Roti
C - Congress Kadalekayi
D - Davanagere Benne Dose
E - Ellu Pajji
F - Field Beans / Avarekalu Payasa
G - Girmit
H - Hitakida Avarekalu Huli
I - Iyengar Bakery Style Masala Toast
J - Jolada Vade
K - Kumbalakayi Idli

It's time for my 'L' dish and this gojju was my plan B to be honest. To start with, I did not have many recipes or ingredients to choose from for today's alphabet. The traditional and popular sweet dish laddu is called laadu in Kannada and in fact there is one north Karnataka laadu recipe that starts with the letter 'L'. I was fixated on it until my first attempt to make those traditional laadu turned out to be a disaster and I did not have enough sweetener for the next attempt. Then I had to resort to use 'limbe hannu' aka 'nimbe hannu' which is lemon in Kannada as we hardly are making any trips to Indian grocers these days. 

Among the few lemon recipes I could think of, gojju seemed to be the one exclusively linked to the regional cuisine of Karnataka and is a classic dish of the region. A gojju is a tasty gravy with loads of flavors, that is usually served with plain steamed rice. It can range from those varieties than can perk up a simple everyday meal to those that appear in a wedding feast. It is usually prepared using a single variety of vegetable / fruit. Bitter gourd, okra, cucumber, pineapple are the commonly used ones though today's version contains no vegetables. Toasted and ground spices and coconut form the base of a gojju. Well balanced flavors is the key to a good gojju and may be a little tricky if one is preparing it for the first time.

Balancing the sourness from the tamarind, sweetness from the jaggery and the heat from the chillies is the key to a tasty gojju, as I mentioned above. Tamarind is replaced with lemon juice in this particular gojju recipe. It is added at the end as cooking after the addition of lemon juice may turn the dish bitter. One should keep this fact in mind and add the other ingredients accordingly. If not sure, taste and add ingredients accordingly. 


To toast and grind:
1 tbsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tbsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1.5 tbsp. coriander seeds
A pinch of fenugreek seeds
A pinch of black peppercorns
2 spicy variety dried red chillies 
4 less spicy variety chillies (I used Byadagi for color.)
A handful of grated, fresh coconut
For tempering:
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida powder
Other ingredients:
About 1.5 cup water or more
Salt to taste
2 - 3 tbsp. jaggery 
2 tsp. lemon juice
Chili powder if needed

* Add split chickpeas and split black gram to a pan and toast until they start to change color. Next add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper corns, red chillies to pan and toast until coriander seeds turn a shade darker. Add coconut next and saute for a minute. Turn off the stove and let the ingredients cool. 
* Grind toasted ingredients to a fine paste adding water as needed.

* Heat oil in a pan / pot and add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add curry leaves and asafoetida. 

* Add the ground paste, water, salt and jaggery to the pan. The water quantity depends upon the consistency preferred. Add more water than mentioned in the list if you prefer a gojju of thinner consistency.

* Bring the mixture to a boil. Lemon juice is added at the end and so adjust the seasonings as needed. Taste and add chili powder, if needed. Simmer the mixture for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove. 

* Add lemon juice as needed and mix well. (Start with a tsp. lemon juice, mix into the gravy, taste and add as much as needed.)



vaishali sabnani said...

I have yet to try Gojju’s , the flavors seem delicious . Will try one of these days .

rajani said...

We visited the Indian grocery this weekend after almost two months. But until then I bought a bottled lemon juice from Costco to manage. We Never realize how much we use these until we run out of it, right? Anyway the Gojju looks good and love the balance of flavors there - salt, spicy, tangy and a tiny bit of sweetness in it.

Harini R said...

We love gojjus of all varieties and this is one which is new to me. I love he spice powder which went into this gojju.