Thursday, 26 January 2012




     1)    White radish without leaves – 300 gm.
     2)    Potato – 100 gm.
     3)    Onion – 100 gm.
     4)    Dry hot red chilies – 6 Nos.
     5)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     6)    Tor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) – 100 gm.
     7)    Small coconut – ½
     8)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
     9)    Powdered salt – 1¼ teaspoon
     10)     Drumstick (moringa / muringa) – 1 no. (optional for extra taste and flavor)

To Cook:

          Wash and drain the tor dal. Transfer to a 2 litre pressure cooker. Peel the radish and the potato. Cut to large chunks (the size can vary) and drop them into the pressure cooker. Tip in the turmeric powder. Pour in enough water to immerse the vegetables. Put on the lid and set on high heat. As soon as you hear the first whistle, turn down the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool naturally.

Meanwhile, grate the coconut. Set a small pan on low heat. Put in the dry red chilies and dribble in a few drops of oil. Stir and roast the chilies for just a minute. Switch off the heat. Put the grated coconut and the roasted chilies into a food processor. Pour in a cup of water and grind to superfine paste (the smoother the paste, the tastier the curry).

          Now cut off the tips of the drumstick (if you are using it) and scrape off a thin layer of skin (it will suffice to just rub it with the sharp edge of the knife). Cut into 3 inch long pieces (the drumstick should never be put in a pressure cooker as the flesh separates from the fibre and the curry loses its taste and texture). Set on high heat.

          If there is too little water, add some more to immerse the vegetables. Tip in the salt and stir. Once the curry comes to a boil, lower the heat and use a plate or a flat lid to partially cover the vessel. Remember to stir occasionally for you do not want the lentils to stick to the base and burn. Cook until the drumstick is soft (pierce with the tip of a knife to check).

          Now put in the ground paste and stir. If the curry is too thick, add a little water to get it to pourable consistency (not too watery). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. On boiling, switch off the heat and cover with a lid.

          Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the cooking oil and tip in the chopped onion. Stir fry till golden brown. Switch off the heat and pour the caramelized onion together with the oil into the curry. Stir and let rest for 30 minutes. Your delicious moola ambat is ready to serve. Pour over a plate of hot, soft rice and enjoy!!!


     1)    If you have a sweet tooth, take moola ambat in a bowl, add some sugar, stir and sup up like soup.

     2)    Mangalorean Konkani people love to eat sweet moola ambat. If you wish to try this delicious fare, melt 100 gm. of jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) in a pan with 50 ml. of water on low heat. Sieve and set aside. As soon as the drumstick is cooked, pour in the melted jaggery.

     3)    For those new to eating drumsticks – to enjoy the drumstick, hold one end between your fingers, insert the other into your mouth, clench lightly with your teeth at the middle of the piece and pull out, leaving the delicious flesh in your mouth. Now turn around the piece, hold the other end and repeat. Enjoy!!!

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