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Horsegram gravy and sidedish(Kulitha saru and kosambari)

Konkanis use Kulith (horsegram) very frequently in cooking especially in cold season. It is supposed be to be garam - i.e. warming effects on body. We normally don’t use it in summer because of warming effects. This saru - a thin gravy of soup like consistency, is very common during these days. A generous quantity of ghee is also added to the saru as ghee is also supposed to have garam effect. The water from cooking horsegram is used to make this saru and the cooked horsegram is used to make stir fry or kosambaris(salad).

I usually make two types of sarus. One with the coconut and this is the second version.

My grandmother used to tell us about a unique way of making this saru. Horse gram was used to feed the cattle. So they used to cook horse gram in large quantities. Instead of discarding such a huge amount of this very nutritious water, they would boil the water till it reduced to a small quantity and save it for using it in the days when this gram was not available. This thickened horse gram water was called “Kulitha kattu“. When needed, this was diluted in water and the saru was prepared. I have never tried this here as I cook the horse gram whenever required.

Horsegram is good for arthritis (Ganti duuk) pain. One of my relatives who had arthritis was taking some homeopathic medication and the doctor had suggested eating horse gram.

Horsegram changes color as it becomes old. When it is very fresh, it has a lighter color, and as time passes, it becomes very dark.

Cooking horsegram :
Wash 1 cup horse gram in water. Add about 3 cups of water and cook in pressure cooker. (Soaking the horse gram for few hours helps in cooking faster). It normally takes a very long time compared to any other pulses/grams. About 5-6 whistles.
Separate water and cooked horse gram. Save both.

Ingredients (Saru) :

2 cups horse gram water
2 green chillies
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tea spn ghee
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1 tbl spn cooked horse gram(optional)

Add onion, salt and green chillies to the horse gram water and bring it to boil.
Grind 1 tbl spoon of cooked horse gram and add it to the boiling mixture. Cook till the water reduces a bit and gets a bit thicker. Take off heat.
Heat ghee and add garlic. When the garlic turns brownish, add this seasoning to the saru.

Ingredients (Kosambari):
1 cup cooked horse gram
2 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
3 green chillies
A pinch asafoetida
1-2 tea spn coconut oil

Slightly crush the cooked horse gram (do not make a paste).
Dilute asafoetida in 1 tea spn water. Add this to coconut. Add green chillies, salt and mix well with your fingers (chirduche).
Now add the cooked horse gram and mix well. Add the coconut oil and mix.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 40mins

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{ 49 comments… add one }

  • Suma January 4, 2009, 9:04 pm

    Wow..i simply love kulith saru….its a comfort food specially during winters or rainy days! Kosambari is new to me….got to try it next time. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jennifer January 4, 2009, 9:44 pm

    Love this series of recipes!
    I have made the last recipe in the past, and termed it as ‘sundal’

    What is horsegram in your langauge? Do you know the word in Hindu/Malayalam/Tamil?

    Thank you.

    • krishna January 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

      malayalam – mu-thira – pronounced as mu almost like moo but very very short oo, thi as in thick, ra as in raja (cannot find an english word with the same sound)

    • lakshmi January 24, 2012, 5:16 pm

      in tamil it is “kollu”
      I will try this

  • Ujwal January 5, 2009, 12:22 am

    Varada mayi,
    Saaru looks yummy. I love Kulitha saaru.. Especially the fragrance of fried garlic makes it more tasty…Perfect Winter meal :)

  • Aruna January 5, 2009, 1:05 am

    Looks mouthwatering. Never knew onion is added to saru also I call it Upkari, did not know it is called as Kosambari.

  • Madhu January 5, 2009, 1:12 am

    We make horsegram saru and palya similar way..looks delicious shilpa.

  • Purnima January 5, 2009, 5:41 am

    Hmmm…megele ammalo udgaas ailo..D has banned me frm buying this, as once I forgot to pick it! :D He cd find more grime ! My side saaru is made wt exception of ghee n onion..rest same..must try ur version when I can sneak in Kulithu..the other we used to have as upkari, side dish …thanks for sharing your version..mae me nostalgic!

  • Sunshinemom January 5, 2009, 5:52 am

    I knew horsegram was good for joint pains etc. but the rest of the information is an eye opener! Dishes look great too – esp. the saaru!

  • Maya January 5, 2009, 10:10 am

    Wow Aunty, I’ve lived with Kulitha saaru and upkari all thru my college days, but still seem to like the Saaru even today..We put in some bhinda sol too in the saar. Kosumbari with it sounds very good. Shilpa, you might want to correct the typo for gravy at the title.

    Shilpa: Thanks maya. corrected.

  • Chetna January 5, 2009, 1:49 pm

    Thanks, Aayi for posting my favourite dhanya recipe – off all dhanyas, kulith is my dad’s and my favourite.

    My mom used to make Kulitha Saar-Upkari. And she always used to serve it with “Piyava Chutney (Onion Chutney)”. This combo is awesome.

    She used to say, Daali Saar-Lasune Chutney; Kulitha Saar-Kandya Chutney…

    I am sure adding the onion to the ssar would definitly make it yummy..

  • Raaga January 6, 2009, 5:34 am

    We call this kultha saar upkari :-)

    I made the coconut version: http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2007/12/kultha-saar-upkari.html

    Happy new year!

  • Raaga January 6, 2009, 5:34 am

    sorry, I meant the red chilli version :-)

  • Nita Pai January 6, 2009, 7:51 am

    Now that Coook or Koork is available at Mlore stores ( I am from Mumbai), we can make delicious , wholesome kulitha koddel with kulith-coook combo.or koddel with gabbo…or sprouted kulith and mugge ambat… With kulith, one can also make Idlis ( Yes!!just add 1 maap soaked and ground kulith to the idli batter before fermenting it)

  • Nithu January 6, 2009, 12:49 pm

    Saru and kosambari looks inviting. I have also heard horsegram saru is good for health and helps to reduce weight. Must try…

  • Usha January 8, 2009, 9:33 am

    Vaini, I tried this last evening.
    The hot saaru was so fulfilling after cleaning the snow and icy mess outside :-)

  • Jyoti January 8, 2009, 10:58 am

    Cool… this one is also going to be tried :). I am a Maharashtrian and we make Kulit pithle (just like besan pithle minus the onions). Its my all time favourite. I have never tasted kulit saru, will give it a try. Thanks.

  • pb January 8, 2009, 4:19 pm

    this is interesting. I never knew kulith was called horsegram. Kulith Pithla is my favourite, but hve never seen the flour in any store in the US. I also have heard only of the kulith flour, never of the grain as such.

    thanks for sharing this..

  • Manasi Sonune January 8, 2009, 7:10 pm

    Varada Mavashi,
    I just love Kulith,the above receipe is actually new .My grandmother is from Konkan(Kharepatan,Maharashtra).The kulith pithala is eaten on a regular basis, at my home in India ,we call it “Hulgyacha Zunka”.I used to drink it like soup…yummy My Aai gave me some kulith when I came to US. I often made it as it is very cold at my place here in US.Now it is over[:(].but your receipe has refreshed my memeories and taste buds too.
    Thank you

  • Anu January 8, 2009, 9:47 pm


    This seems to be a yummy recipe.. my mom made a similar thing. Can you please tell me where you bought the cute porcelain katoris from? I wanted to buy it, am looking for something to match my corelle dinng set. Your help is highly appreciated.


    Shilpa: We have exact same 2 sets. Mine I bought here in US, for aayi we bought it in India (a grocery bazaar in Kumta).

  • Anu January 8, 2009, 11:18 pm

    Shilpa, Thanks so much for your quick response. I live in the US, where did you buy it in the US? I really want to get one.

    Thank you so much!

    Shilpa: Walmart :)

  • jayanthi January 10, 2009, 7:25 am

    Happy new year to all of you. Thanks a lot for the lovelly recipe. A poor farmer comes home to sell his produces from his field and i buy some just to help him out. Last time he had only horse gram and i bought though i didn’t know what to do with that. Now i know what to do! thanks a million for this recipe which i received on right time.

  • ketaki January 11, 2009, 12:16 pm

    hi shilpa !

    what a coincidence! I was thinking about kulthacha pithla thoday morning and was very sad as i can’t make it cuz i dont know where to buy kulith from!

    do you know if we can find it here in US? in indian grocery store??? or did you get it from india ?



    Shilpa: You get it in Indian store.

  • Anita Attavar January 14, 2009, 2:18 am

    Thank you for posting this! My mom used to add chopped tomatoes to give it a tangy taste.

  • Mugdha January 21, 2009, 9:12 pm

    Where can I get Horsegram in USA?

    Shilpa: Indian store.

  • MALINI DINESH BHAT January 22, 2009, 1:00 am

    I liked your web site and recipes very much, so I keep on telling to my sister and sister inlaws about your web site. I want to share a very easy and healthy recipe with you. Gabbe Che Salad
    Make thin Slices of the Gabbo (12″)
    Keep them in water for some time so it wont get decolourise.
    Finely Chop Onion (2 nos.)
    Finely chop green chillies (if you want to avoid the chiil pieces grind them into coarse paste and coriander leaves.
    Squeeze the Gabbe Slices and chop them finely.
    Mix the chopped onion, green chilli, coriander leaves and gabbo with salt. Add thick curd to it and mix. Now take 2 tsp oil in a kadai add urad dal and mustard seeds, when it starts to splutter add hing powder, karibevu and pour it on the salad. It tastes very good and very helathy for your body.

  • Doreen January 22, 2009, 1:00 am

    Hi Shilpa,

    I just came across your site when i was browsing thru to find a recipe for dal. Ur recipes look really gr888. Please post some more recipes on vegetables. Most of the sites have recipes for veg but are not simple enough for everyday use..those can be made for special occasions only. I would really like to see some simple vegetable recipes.

  • laxmi January 25, 2009, 9:37 pm

    Where can I get this Horse gram in U.S.A? I live in NJ near edison? Is it available in Oaktree road Indian shops? Can you tell me where u bought HG from?Thanks so much !

  • poonam February 4, 2009, 6:03 am

    HORSE GRAM GRAVY is good for kidneys, its continuous consumption is advised by the ayurvedic doctors in the north india, so that their is no stone formation. and if there is a stone then it is disintegreted.

  • Soni March 22, 2009, 1:27 am

    It tastes even better when mangalore cucumber (sauthee)is added to the saar.

  • Kanubhai Shah May 13, 2009, 11:08 am

    Will you tell/write the hindi /Gujarati word for horsegram. I like to get some for your recipes

    Shilpa: I think it is called Kulthi in Hindi.

  • sheela July 3, 2009, 8:24 am

    hello!we make kulitha koddel also.horsegram in coconut gravy with a tempering of crushed garlic.

  • mary wong July 25, 2009, 9:06 am

    I bought some horsegram from the supermart, but it does not look like the ones in your photo. the ones I bought more like chick peas. Are the 2 things different?

    Shilpa: I think the two are different.

    • hasu patel March 23, 2011, 11:21 pm

      Horse Grain – What is called in Gujarati language? Can I find in American store? Is this moth beans, or Chora beans or Guvar beansor what is it called

      thank you

    • Shilpa March 26, 2011, 10:36 am

      Somewhere on the internet, I saw that it is called Kalathi. I don’t know how correct is the info though. You can find it in Indian store

  • Poornima Prabhu September 23, 2009, 4:54 am

    in response to Jennifer’s query,it is ‘Muthira’ in Malayalam.

  • Shilpa Moorthy November 10, 2009, 1:23 pm

    Hi…i love this saaru….but,wanted to know if any1 knows where i can get it in UK? i’ve been looking for horse gram for such a long time in uk,but,havent found it…any idea,any1 if i can buy it online?it wud be a great help.

  • pradnya January 6, 2010, 9:41 am

    this is great.

    Incidentally i have some sprouted horsegarm.half of which i made the usual ammti, but they were not so soft(NOw i know i need to cook longer). Usually my MIL use to make this.

    I will definitely try this tomorrow.

  • mahalakshmi July 27, 2010, 3:41 am

    Hi, I love making ur receiepes, they turn out great. I made horsegram idlis today and yum had them with gunpowder in yogurt so as not to have oil, they were yumm!

    This horsegramis called kollu in tamil and ulavalu in telugu

  • sharada rajan October 8, 2010, 9:47 am

    we call it Hurulee Saaru in Kannada.
    I love this Saaru and the Palya. Its real Yum!!!

  • mary October 27, 2010, 11:54 pm

    what do we call in Hindi?

    • Shilpa October 28, 2010, 8:14 am

      Kulthi I think

  • Vinod January 16, 2011, 6:02 am

    I love MUTHIRA (in Malayalam) dish.
    Soak 250gms Horsegram overnight(12 hours)..cook next day with atleast 5-6 whistles in a pressure cooker. Add one tspn coconut oil in pan…when heated, add crushed 4-6 garlic pods when golden brown…add 1 tspn chilli powder & stir and then add the cooked Horsegram(as option grated coconut can be added) with stalk…. add salt to taste….allow to simmer till stalk is dried..Stir & Serve hot…Yummy!!!!

  • Suvarna April 21, 2012, 8:52 am

    Hi there,
    I’ve been reading all the comments and it looks like’kulith recipies’ are gonna be tasty and delicious.I’ll definitely try it out. I’ve also heard that kulith is good for health and helps in getting regular menstrual periods. Can anybody please tell me in what form and what quantity it should be eaten?

    Thanks and Regards,

  • radha May 31, 2012, 1:04 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. Eeryone loved it.

  • yasmeen October 9, 2012, 1:58 am

    Is horsegram green moong beans

    • Shilpa October 10, 2012, 9:31 pm

      No. It is brown in color

  • Rashmi October 29, 2012, 11:17 am

    Kulith saaru looks yummy.

  • M.S.Kochar October 9, 2014, 10:20 am

    What is horse gram called in Punjab

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