Horse Gram, also called kulith in Marathi, is one of those indigenous super foods we don’t pay much attention to. It is a small bean or legume which is high in iron, protein and is also known to be beneficial for many health conditions like diabetes and arthritis. With this simple Horse Gram Curry recipe you can include this super food in your weekly diet.
Kulith Pithla, a stew made with horse gram flour is popular in the coastal regions of Konkan, and is a much loved dish in our family. But I am just getting to know horse gram in a whole grain form. Sprouting it further increases the nutrition, and also allows you to enjoy it in the popular Usal form.
Usal is a popular curry in Maharashtrian cuisine, generally made with sprouted beans or legumes such as moong beans, moth beans, brown lentils etc. The kulith usal or sprouted horse gram curry is so tasty, you won’t eat it just because it is good for you. Sprouting the horse gram is easy and follows the usual process. I recommend using a sprout maker but it is not really needed once you try the process a few times. Warmer temperatures are more conducive to sprouting, and it may be tough to do so when it is snowing or sub zero outside.
The recipe can be as simple as a simple Indian tadka and seasoning. I have gone all out because we generally expect something spicy and flavorful from usal. The curry leaves here add a depth of flavor, but if you can’t get them, that is fine too. Goda Masala is also a traditional Maharashtrian spice blend. If you don’t have it, use a pinch of garam masala or leave it out completely.
This Horse Gram curry recipe can be served with any kind of Indian bread such as roti or paratha or even with plain tortillas or pita bread. It also goes well with plain steamed rice.
This is a two step recipe. You will need to sprout the gram first and that could take 2 days. The sprouts can be stored in a freezer just like any other veggies, and can be used directly for making the curry.
Sprouted Horse Gram Curry Recipe – Kulith Usal
- 1 cup dry horse gram beans
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- Pinch of Asafetida
- ½ tsp turmeric ground
- ¼ tsp Goda Masala or Garam Masala
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1 tsp garlic crushed
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 cup onion chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- Wash the horsegram and soak it in water, just like you soak beans or chick peas. Soak overnight or for 10-12 hours.
- Drain and put in a colander for 4-5 hours until most of the water drains out but they are still slightly moist.
- Wrap in a muslin cloth and place on top of an inverted colander. Keep some weight on top of this cloth bundle, such as a wooden cutting board, heavy iron pan etc.
- The beans will sprout in 10-12 hours depending on the ambient temperature. Sprouts can be up to 1-2 inch in length. Use these in the recipe or freeze these for later use.
- Pressure cook the sprouted horse gram for 3 whistles and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If you are not using a pressure cooker, just cook them on the stove top in the steps below.
- Heat oil in a stock pot or wok.
- Add black mustard seeds, and once they pop, add the Asafetida and turmeric quickly. Now add the onion immediately and also add curry leaves and ginger garlic. Stir together for a minute.
- Now add the cayenne pepper and masala spice.
- Add the pressure cooked horse gram or the sprouted horse gram in this step. If you are using pressure cooked horse gram, only add the beans and then add only enough cooking liquid to cover the beans. You can add more liquid later if needed.
- Stir well and add water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer with the lid on. if you are using sprouted uncooked horse gram, this step can take 30-40 minutes until the horse gram softens.
- Add the coriander powder, salt, sugar and continue to simmer. Add more water if needed to get the consistency you want in the curry.
- The curry is done when the horse gram softens to your liking. It can still have a bite to it, especially if you have cooked on the stove top.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro or coriander and serve with roti and/or rice.
- Note: Try adding a dry bay leaf instead of the curry leaves. Or add fresh mint or parsley instead of cilantro to mix it up.
This usal curry is pretty filling and can also be a low carb meal on its own, with a side salad.