Friday, 25 January 2019

Muddipalya - an ode to North Karnataka Cuisine

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Muddi Palya...

You just utter this word in the presence of anyone from North Karnataka and watch the reaction. Our face will glow with happiness and we have to have this in our very next meal. It is irresistible. For us it is not just a dish, it is a ritual, a journey, a celebration!

What is so special about this muddi palya? With due apologies to people of every other region, it is not soppina palya, nor soppina tovve. And no, sorry what you guys do at your home is not muddi palya. A muddi palya is a muddi palya is a muddi palya. Period.

We people from North Karnataka can have muddi palya everyday, with every meal of the day, on every occasion and every function and even weddings.

And incidentally I should mention here that it is a great combination with jolada rotti. In fact if you have a debate as to what is the best combination with jolada rotti -  whether ennegai palya or muddi palya, then I am sure the result would be vertically split with everyone voting for both!

And when the ignorants who don't really appreciate the beauty of a North Karnataka meals ask me how can we eat a jolada rotti, it's so bland, I pity them. Because as the people from North Karnataka know how to add spice to life, similarly they also know how to eat jolada rotti! In a North Karnataka home, the rotti is never eaten with a single side dish. It has to be combined with palya, chatni, chatnipudi, uppinakai, benne, mosaru and then a few slices of onion and cucumber. Now tell me how can you call it bland!


When we were young, amma would frequently make muddi palya. It had to be eaten with jolada rotti, then with tuppa anna - with piping hot rice and ghee, and then with saranna - with bassaru made from the same combination of lentils and greens, and finally with curd rice - mosaranna. And by any chance if there is any leftover muddi palya, it has to be equally divided among all the children in the night. No cheating there. It is like dividing the property!!!

But unfortunately it is missing from the scene on a wedding day even in North Karnataka. A few years ago I went to my relative's wedding to Raichur. The only attraction of going to a North Karnataka wedding was to eat a proper wedding meals - maduve oota with muddi palya, made from the famous Bellary cooks.

After the dhare when I heard that it's a buffet lunch and not the baale ele oota - not a meals on plantain leaves, alarm bells started ringing in my mind. In fact I started to panic, what with the very purpose of travelling 500 kilometers being defeated. Alas! My worst fears came true when I saw poori saagu, vegetable pulav on the table. I was almost in tears. Since then I have stopped travelling to the weddings!

So what, you may ask, get it cooked in the functions in your home. Oh please! Do you think I didn't try? That's another long story.
I started it with my son's choula ceremony, some 28 years ago. Being a naive youngster that I was, I told them " please do muddi palya ".
For a moment they stared blankly at me and when I said " bele and menthe soppu" they cut me short and said " ok madam, we know. We know. We will do. "
When after all the guests left, I sat expectantly for lunch, I was horrified to see dry "soppina palya" - in typical Bangalore style. It was similar to what we call hindi palya in North Karnataka.


And then in my gruha pravesha, again I told the cooks that I want muddi palya. I explained to them in detail what a muddi palya is. But then men are men. While I was explaining, it was clearly visible from the look on their face that they being professional cooks were not liking being told what to cook and how to cook.
I kept my fingers crossed and sat for lunch expectantly. There was no trace of lentils, bele, in my muddi palya. I glared at the cook who had come to serve it. My husband, knowing my fetishes about the dish and my disappointment, put his hand on my hands, trying to console me. Who knows, he may have been worried that either I would throw my plantain leaf at the cook or may be I myself would run away without eating.

Then finally during my daughter's wedding last year, I decided to give a final try of having it on Devara Samaradhane day.
I had planned it meticulously this time, pre wedding, when the cook arrived home for discussion. I had prepared the muddi palya at home and held it before him. I was like the never say die trivikrama.
The cook looked irritated and said of course he knows the soppina tovve. Grrrrrrr...

On the Devara Samaradhane day, I sat for lunch along with my family and the guests. After rice and ghee, the cooks served - what's that????
It looked like sambar but had no vegetables, and tasted like tovve with very little soppu...
The relatives from Bangalore side were eating it with a dismayed look on their face. Of course it tasted good but they could not actually place it's name. And the family from North Karnataka looked at each other, not knowing whether you laugh or to cry.

So now I have made it a point here, through this write up and this recipe, to popularise THE AUTHENTIC NORTH KARNATAKA STYLE MUDDI PALYA among one and all.
Who knows, may be one day I would be pleasantly surprised in a function when I am served with THE MUDDI PALYA.

Frankly, there is a method of not just cooking but eating muddi palya. You don't pour it on rice like sambar. It has its own place in the plantain leaf. On the left side. Right after chatni and Kosambari. You put piping hot rice in the middle. Then put the ghee. From that you take a little portion, put some muddi palya on it,  mix it and savour it!

After all this preamble, I was forced to write down the recipe here. No. There is absolutely no idea of me having the cooks try this in any of my future functions. Another reason why I am writing this recipe is because my daughter's friend Shravya studying in US wanted to try this. So not just in India, I am trying to export and selling my idea abroad.

So please understand this. This is the recipe of muddi palya. Not soppina palya nor soppina thovve. Remember. Yeh nahi khaya to kuch nahi khaya....


And the most important thing. Muddi Palya can be prepared from a variety of soppu or greens. Each soppu will have a distinct unique awesome taste. But my personal preference, in the order of priority, is methi or menthe soppu, palak soppu or spinach, dill leaves or sabbasige soppu and then Red spinach - dantina soppu. Menthe soppu or methi leaves undoubtedly tastes heavenly.

So here goes the recipe...

You may also try our following North and South Indian Subzi recipes :

Fried Baby corns and capsicum mixed veg curry





Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time       45 minutes

Ingredients :

(Another anecdote here : The ratio of tur dal and methi leaves again is debatable. My father always demanded more greens and less daal while mother preferred both in equal quantity. Me? Here I was always with my mom!
As for as your cooking is concerned, you start with the given measurements and then choose your own ratio from the next time )


  • Tur dal -  togari bele                      2 cups
  • Finely chopped methi leaves          1 bowl
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves    1 tablespoon
  • Curry leaves                                   15
  • Finely chopped green chillies        1 tablespoon - depends on your taste
  • Thick tamarind juice                      1 tablespoon

  • Groundnut oil                                1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds                               1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida                                     1/4 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder                          1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

Procedure :
  • Wash the greens thoroughly.
  • Put the tur dal and finely chopped methi leaves in a vessel, add enough water just to cover them and pressure cook for 4  whistles.
  • Let it cool.
  • In a thick bottomed kadai, heat the groundnut oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add asafoetida, turmeric powder and lower the heat and then add finely chopped chillies.
  • Now add the thick tamarind juice. Then add the stock from the cooked dal and methi. If there is no stock, you can add normal water also.
  • When it starts boiling, add the curry and the coriander leaves and let it boil over low heat for 2-3 minutes.



A POINT TO REMEMBER HERE.
WHENEVER WE DO RASAM, SAMBAR OR MUDDI PALYA, BEFORE ADDING ANY OTHER MASALA, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO BOIL THE TAMARIND JUICE WITH CORIANDER AND CURRY LEAVES TOGETHER. IT GIVES A GREAT FLAVOUR.


  • Meanwhile mash the cooked tur dal and methi with a ladle.
  • Add this to the kadai and mix well.
  • Add salt.
  • Lower the heat and cover it partially with a plate.
  • Let it simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes over low heat till all the aromas of all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Keep mixing in between.
  • Then again mix well and put off the gas.
  • Serve with rotis, chapatis, phulka and rice.
  • If you are eating it hot, eat with a spoon of desi ghee.
  • If you are eating it cold, add a spoon of groundnut oil. It tastes just amazing.


I know now everyone reading this is heading to buy soppu!

Don't forget to share this recipe with your friends and family and also give me the feedback.

Happy cooking!