Horse Gram Stew (Kulitha Saaru, Kulitha Khadi)

Horse Gram Stew (Kulitha Saaru, Kulitha Khadi)

Horse gram is cooked in it's stock until they are soft and the stew is then seasoned with garlic for a heavenly taste. A bowl of steaming hot rice and this horse gram stew is the best thing you'll ever eat. :-) I love to just drink this delicious stew. This stew is too good to be true. Take my word for it!

In Konkani this horse gram stew is called kulitha saaru or kulitha kadhi. Kulithu means horsegram in Konkani. A very easy-to-do, simple recipe. All you have to do is cook horsegram, season it with garlic and you have a heavenly saaru to go with your rice.

From time immemorable, horse gram (kulith) has been used a lot in cooking, especially during the rainy season and the winters. Horse gram's said to have warming effects on our body. It also strengthens our bones. Hence, it's used to feed the cattle during the plowing season. I remember when we were young, my sis was very weak. One of my dad's friend used to always joke asking my mom to give her some cooked horse gram to eat everyday, as it'll make her strong. :-)

With the onset of rainy season the cattle are taken out to plough the fields to grow rice in Udupi, Mangalore regions. To give them strength for the day long's plowing, they are fed cooked horse gram. Landlords of Udupi, Mangalore cook horse gram in large quantities to feed the cattle. The water/stock used to cook these huge amounts of horse gram is very nutritious and hence isn't discarded. It is concentrated due to continuous boiling and this thick, concentrated horse gram water/stock is called hurli kattu in Kannada or kulitha katt in Konkani. This concentrated water is full of flavour and is rich with the taste of horse gram. This is then used to prepare heavenly kulitha saaru/khadi, kulitha kodel etc. Not many own farms these days, so the number of people who prepare and distribute this horse gram stew has reduced. Once in a while, our neighbours or granny's neighbours send some our way.

So, in the present day we have no choice but to make horse gram saaru (kulitha khadi/saaru) from scratch by cooking horse gram at home. It definitely isn't as rich and as tasty as the horse gram saaru made from concentrated horse gram stew (kulitha katt), but for those of you who haven't tasted horse gram saaru from concentrated horse gram stew (hurli kattu), this is absolute heavenly. 

You also gotta try this too: Take 2 tablespoons of hot, well cooked, soft horsegram in a small bowl. Add salt, coconut oil on top, mix well and eat it while it's hot. Try it and tell me how good is that? I just love eating cooked horse gram that way!


  • 1/2 cup horse gram
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 10-12 garlic cloves
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt to taste

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes
Cooking horse gram:

1. Soak horse gram in water. The longer you soak, the faster they cook. For fastest cooking, soak them overnight. Minimum of 30 minutes of soaking also helps.

If you're in a hurry you can skip the soaking step and just give the horse gram a nice wash.

2. After soaking, pressure cook horse gram with about 1.5 cups of water till they are completely cooked and soft. Cooking horse gram takes a lot longer than any other pulse. 

Should take 5-6 whistles if you haven't soaked them and 3-4 whistles if you have soaked them for more than an hour. 

Preparing the saaru:

3. Once the horse gram's well cooked and soft, transfer it into a cooking vessel along with it's stock (the liquid used to cook horse gram).

4. Add in slit green chillies, salt and bring it to boil.

5. Add more water (1/2 - 3/4 cup) if required to increase the quantity. But if you then find the saaru too watery for your palate, then grind 2-3 tablespoons of cooked horse gram in a mixer into a very smooth paste using 1/2 cup of water. Add it to the cooking horse gram saaru. You'll then have a relatively thick saaru.

6. Once it comes to boil, simmer it for 3-4 minutes so that it thickens a little and horse gram takes up salt during this time. Green chillies cook in the stock and give out it's spiciness. 

7. Remove the saaru off heat and then season it.

8. Seasoning: Heat oil in a tempering pan, add in peeled, slightly smashed garlic cloves and fry them until they start to brown. Then add in pieces of dried red chillies and fry them for 30 seconds. Add this seasoning to the kulitha saaru and mix well.

Smashing garlic a little helps release it's flavour into hot oil.

9. Serve hot hot saaru with steaming hot rice and enjoy! Aaah, Pure bliss!

Side Note: 

1. If you need more saaru, then cook more horse gram, grind more horse gram and add more water to increase the quantity. 

2. Traditionally, oil is used to fry garlic in the garlic seasoning. Some even use ghee instead of oil for seasoning, as it is a coolant and balances the heat from horse gram. 

Other easy saaru recipes:

Cowpeas saaru

5 minute pureed Tomato saaru

Find more Konkani cuisine curry recipes here

Tags: Horse gram, simple recipe, easy recipe, saaru, lunch, dinner, kulith, Konkani recipe, Konkani dish, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore food, Konkani food, kulitha khadi, kulitha kadhi, kulitha saaru, bachelor recipe, hurli saaru, hurli kattu, kulitha khatt