Rice and a coconut curry is everyday lunch and dinner in most Konkani households. Konkani cuisine comprises a whole lot of delicious coconut curries. Few coconut curries are considered special & are prepared during festivities and special occasions. These coconut curries are prepared without garlic or onions in them. These curries are then offered to God as naiyvedam. Wonder if there is a scientific reason behind not using garlic & onions in cooking on those special days? Garlic & onion are considered negative pranic & hence aren't used on specific days.
Muga gashi is one such curry. Mugu refers to green gram in Konkani. Gashi means a thick coconut based curry in Konkani. Muga gashi is a relatively thick coconut curry made using sprouted green grams. Green grams are soaked overnight, cooked once they sprout and are added to a delicious, rich, coconut curry. Green grams are paired with bread fruit or potatoes or bamboo shoots (fresh or pickeled) or yam or Chinese potatoes for added taste and variety. Swap the veggies in the curry and they add their own taste to muga gashi.
Gashi/ghashi are prepared using different vegetables in Konkani cuisine. We make lady's finger gashi, called as benda ghasi in Konkani. When gashi's are prepared with potatoes, they are called batate ghasi. When gashi's are prepared using bamboo shoots, they are called suyi ghasi in Konkani. And when they are prepared using bitter gourd, they are called karathe ghasi in Konkani. And ambuli ghashi - are made with raw mangoes, kadgi gashi - are made with raw jackfruits, chane gashi - are made using chickpeas, odi ghashi - are made using ash gourd fritters. And the list is endless.
Here's the recipe for muga gashi - sprouted green gram coconut curry:
Preparation Time: 40 - 45 minutes
Prep to be done a day before making the curry, muga gashi:
1. Soak green gram overnight, then drain all the water after soaking. Transfer them into a wet kitchen towel and keep them aside closed, so that they germinate for a day.
2. You can make curry using just sprouted green grams the next day or let them germinate a little more & use it the day after.
Prep for the curry:
1. Once the green grams have sprouted, transfer them into a pressure cooker along with 1 cup of water.
2. Pressure cook them for 1 whistle, until they are just cooked enough.
3. Pressure cook peeled, cleaned, diced/cubed potatoes, Chinese potatoes, yam with 1/2 cup water for 1 whistle.
If you're using bamboo shoots (pickled or fresh) or breadfruit then read on. Cooking tips are mentioned below.
Preparing the masala for the curry:
4. Heat a tempering pan with a tablespoon of oil in it. Add in dried red chillies broken into pieces into the pan. Fry them for few minutes until you get a nice aroma. Let them cool down completely.
5. Then grind fried red chillies along with tamarind, grated coconut and salt into a smooth paste using as much water as needed.
6. Transfer the ground masala into a cooking vessel. Add in cooked green gram and cooked potatoes/Chinese potato/yam without adding the stock used to cook them.
7. Mix well. Then add just enough of the stock used to cook green gram & potatoes/yam/Chinese potatoes. Add water if needed to make a medium thick gravy.
If your using breadfruit (jeev kadgi in Konkani) then add in peeled, diced breadfruit now, along with the ground masala to the cooking vessel or else they'll overcook.
8. Bring the curry to a boil. Check and adjust salt.
9. Once the curry comes to a boil, simmer the curry until the rawness of the masala goes off.
10. Remove the curry off heat. Season it.
11. Seasoning: Heat oil in a tempering pan, add in mustard seeds. When they start popping, add in curry leaves and let them sizzle for few seconds. Add this seasoning to the curry and mix well.
12. Serve the curry hot with a bowl of steaming hot rice.
1. While pressure cooking green gram, to prevent green gram from getting mushy/over cooked you can add salt and cook them. Salt prevents cooking of the green gram. So, when you pressure cook green gram, salt helps you get just enough cooked, firm green gram and prevents it from getting mushy. But there's also a risk of green gram's not cooking at all, while salt is added. So, preferably pressure cook green gram without adding salt.
2. If you're cooking green gram directly on heat in a cooking vessel, then please do not add salt while cooking them. Your green gram won't cook.
3. Cooking muga gashi using with bamboo shoots:
Instead of potatoes (batato in Konkani), yam (surnu in Konkani), Chinese potatoes (kook in Konkani), you may also use bamboo shoots - fresh or pickled to make muga gashi.
If your using fresh bamboo shoots (kirlu in Konkani) then peel off the hard layers, dice the white edible, inner core. Then keep them in many batches of fresh water for 2-3 days. Keep changing the water every few hours. Then discard the water, pressure cook them for 1 whistle using 1 cup of water. Throw away the stock used to cook them and use cooked bamboo shoots in the curry. They don't get soft on cooking. They'll still have a little bite to them.
If your using pickled bamboo shoots: Then the morning you're planning to prepare the curry, add pickled bamboo shoots from brine into a bowl of water. Change the batch of water every 15 minutes. Keep pickled bamboo shoots in water for 1-4 hours depending on how salty they are. During this time they give out all the excess salt present in them into the water.
Then discard all the water, dice/cube them. Then pressure cook them using 1 cup of water for a whistle. They don't get soft on cooking. They'll still have a little bite to them. Discard the stock used to cook bamboo shoots in. Do not add the stock to the curry as it'll tend to get more salty. (The salt in bamboo shoots would have got drained into the stock. So, adding the stock will make the curry more salty.)
4. The traditional method of preparing this curry and any curry for that matter involves using fresh grated coconut, oil roasted dried red chilli’s and some tamarind. All these are ground together into a coarse/smooth paste. But when you are in a hurry, you could use coconut milk as a substitute for grated coconut, red chilli powder for the dried red chillies & some tamarind pulp (avoid preservatives as much as possible).
5. If your curry isn't spicy enough, spice it up by adding red chilli powder.
For more Konkani cuisine curry recipes look here.
Tags: Curry, gashi, ghashi, Konkani dish, Konkani recipe, festival food, puja, mugu, green gram, lunch, gravy, spicy, ghasi, moong, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore food, Konkani food, Ganesh chaturthi.