A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Smita Deo at a sit-down lunch to celebrate the launch of her cookbook ‘Karwar To Kolhapur Via Mumbai’. Banana leaves were laid out before us and spicy mutton chops, a mixed vegetable curry called Val Val and two variations of mutton curry were ladled into bowls. One of them was a coconut-based white mutton curry or paandhra rassa, while the other was an asal jhan jhanit (absolutely spicy) tambda rassa. Karwar in Karnataka and Kolhapur in Maharashtra are roughly a six hour drive away from each other, but their cuisines could not be more different. Kolhapuri cuisine is spicy and oily, whereas Karwari cuisine tends to be a lot simpler- mild, coconutty and light on the masalas.
Cooking from this book was super easy. I followed a few of the recipes blindly and they turned out perfect, with little to no tweaking necessary. Shinde Aunty’s Matki Usal and Bharati Aunty’s Masoorichi Amti (whole red lentil curry) are two stellar recipes that I highly recommend you try. The recipe for the Kolhapuri Pandhra Rassa was spot on, and I was able to recreate the very same curry I had tasted during the book launch. Below, I have included Smita’s recipes for an unusual, yet delicious dosa made out of watermelon rind, a Masoorichi Amti, and a side of Gajarachi Koshimbir or carrot salad.
You can buy a copy of Karwar To Kolhapur Via Mumbai for that elusive Pandhra Rassa recipe by clicking here.
Watermelon Dosa (Kalingana Pole)
Raw Rice 3 cups
Poha 1/2 cup
Jaggery 1 1/2 cup
Watermelon Rind (the white part of the watermelon after the pink flesh has been scooped out) 1 1/2 cup
Soak the rice and flattened rice for 3-4 hours. Grind to a fine batter together with the fleshy watermelon rind. Do not add any water to this.
Add the jaggery and put the batter in an airtight container to ferment for 8 hours.
Heat a non-stick tavaa. Smear some ghee on it and pour a ladle full of the batter into a thick dosa. Cover with a thaal and cook on a low flame till the dosa is done. Serve hot with a blob of ghee.
Bharati Aunty’s Masoorichi Amti
Whole pink lentils or masoor 4 cups, sprouted and boiled (should be 4 cups after boiling)
Onions 2, sliced
Onions 2, finely chopped
Fenugreek Seeds 5-6
Coriander Seeds 1 tbsp
Black Peppercorns 10
Cinnamon 1/2″ inch
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Ginger 1″ piece
Garlic 4 cloves
Fresh Coconut 4 tbsp, grated
Tamarind the size of half a lemon, activated in hot water
Tomato 1, ground to a paste
Chilli Powder 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery 2 tsp
Fresh coriander 1/2 cup, chopped
Ghee 1 tsp
Black Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
A few curry leaves
In a kadai, add one teaspoon of oil and fry the sliced onions till golden brown. Dry-roast the coconut till light brown. Heat 1/2 tsp oil again and roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds, ginger and garlic till it releases its aromas.
Grind together the fried onions, roasted coconuts and the roasted garam masala together with a little masala till it resembles a fine paste.
Heat the rest of the oil in the kadai and add the finely chopped onions. Saute these till the onions turn pink. Add in the chilli powder, turmeric powder and tomato and saute till the oil oozes out.
Add the boiled pink lentils, the ground paste, salt, tamarind concentrate, jaggery and 1 1/2 cup water and bring this to a boil.
Temper by heating together ghee, spluttering black mustard seeds and curry leaves and pouring it in the amti. Close the lid and let it sit for a few minutes before garnishing with chopped coriander and serve with dosas.
Carrots 4, medium, grated
Green chillies 2, finely chopped
Lemon 1, juiced
Onion 1, medium, finely chopped
Sugar 1 tsp
Fresh Coriander 1/2 cup, chopped
Salt to taste
Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.