Mochakottai/Avarekkai Sambhar

Mochakottai, also known as Avarekkai, is a very popular bean around Karnataka. There are many many ways of preparing it, but by far I personally feel that sambhar is the best of the lot. This is the way my mother-in-law prepares it. Usually when she prepares it, she has to empty the entire rice to the curry vessel itself coz all 5 of us (my husband, his brother, brother's wife, sister and me) would crowd around her to feed us. I know its disgusting for most people, to be fed by someone else, but ya, that's how I like it, I really love to be fed. Makes me 'feel' like a child again. When I go to my parents place, its the same story there too, its either my dad, mom or my sister (though she's younger to me) who end up feeding me.

OK, now coming back to Mochakottai, there's a preparation with mutton that's really good too, I would be adding that in shortly. Mochakottai can be used without removing the skin too, but it causes slight gastric problems that way, or so I've heard. I decided not to take a chance and peeled the skin even though it is double the work. But the end result pays for the hard work.                                                           

Dal – ½ cup
Potato – 2, cubed
Tomato – 1, cubed
Turmeric – ½ tsp

Cook the dal with the potato, tomato & turmeric, till the dal is almost mashed, in a pressure cooker this may take about 3-4 whistles.

Mochakottai beans – ½ kg

Take the seeds out from the beans, as you would with fresh peas, and soak the beans for a few hours or overnight preferably. Then remove the skin on the seeds. You can do this by gently squeezing from one end of the seeds.
Add these to the cooked dal. Cook for some more time till the beans are cooked and soft. They should not get mashed. 

Tamarind juice extracted from a handful of raw tamarind - 1 cup.
Or, if it’s tamarind extract, then about 1 tbsp mixed in 1 cup of water

Add this to the dal mixture. Boil for 5 minutes.

To grind:

Oil – 1 tsp
Channa dal – 1 tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Peppercorns – 1 tbsp
Methi seeds – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 10-12 leaves
Shallots - 10
Garlic – ½ a pod
Coconut – ½ cup, grated
Asafoetida/Hing – ¼ tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tbsp, or as per heat tolerance
Dhaniya powder – 3 tbsp

In a kadai, heat the oil, roast the channa dal, urad dal, peppercorns, methi seeds, jeera, curry leaves, garlic, coconut and asafoetida. To this add chilli powder and dhaniya. Fry till the raw smell of the masala goes away. Grind this to a smooth paste with little water and add to the dal mixture. Add salt as required. Boil for 5 more minutes.

To temper:
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Dry red chillis – 3-4, broken into pieces
Curry leaves – 10 leaves

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, when it sputters, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Pour this on top of the curry. 

Coriander leaves – 1 handful, chopped 

Garnish with the coriander leaves. 

Serve with hot rice!


Tabbouleh is originally a Lebanese dish, but is widely popular in many parts of the world now as a very healthy salad. TabbÅ«le is a Levantine Arabic word which literally means "little spicy". It’s usually made with Bulgur wheat, but I’ve replaced it with cracked wheat here, with almost similar taste, but I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same. It’s a multi colored delight which is very fibrous and nutritious.

This is my version of Tabbouleh, which is slightly different from the original one.


  • ½ cup vegetable stock (for vegetarians) or chicken stock or water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cracked wheat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 small green chilli, chopped
  • ½ of a red onion, chopped
  • ½ capsicum (green or yellow) seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped with the greens
  • ¾ cup parsley, chopped

·        Add the cracked wheat to a bowl. Boil the stock with some salt, pour it over the wheat. Keep this aside for about 30 minutes to an hour.
·        In a large bowl, add the lemon juice, olive oil and cracked wheat, mix well. Add all the other ingredients and combine well delicately.
·        Do a taste test and add more salt, olive oil or lemon juice if required, to suit your taste. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
·        Tabbouleh is ready. Serve chilled.
·        This can be stored in good containers for a few days, if refrigerated.