BANGALORE: Mangalore cuisine is known for its wide range of flavours and aromatic spices. Some of the primary ingredients used in cooking here include rice and coconut. With its creamy texture and flavours, Basale Pundi tops the charts in tingling your taste buds especially in the heat. It is prepared in two stages:
Stage I: Basale Curry
In order to make the Basale (spinach) curry, first wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and boil them with an onion that has been finely chopped for about 10 minutes. Add salt. For the masala, you will require red chillies (8), kadipatha or curry leaves (10), coriander seeds (one and a half tablespoon), jeera or cumin seeds (three-fourth tablespoon) and mustard seeds (quarter teaspoon). Fry all the dry ingredients on low flame. Once the seeds begin to pop, keep it aside and let it cool. For the curry to achieve the right consistency grind some coconut (150 g) and a pinch of tamarind along with the fried dry ingredients. This is the base of the curry. Once the batter is set, mix everything with the spinach and onion and continue stirring on low flame for about six to seven minutes. The basale curry is now ready.
Stage II: Pundi
Soak some white rice in water for an hour. One of the primary ingredients of Pundi (rice balls) is coconut. The rice and coconut (50 g) is then ground with salt. The batter needs to be watery. Coat a large aluminium vessel with oil and heat the batter on low flame. Stir continuously. As the batter thickens, turn down the flame and let it cool. Make cherry sized balls with the batter and cook them in the idli steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat the basale curry on low flame, and gradually drop the pundis one by one into the gravy stirring continuously. Close the lid and let the pundis soak the flavours of the spicy spinach curry for 10 minutes. Once the mixture comes to a boil, keep it aside. As the dish cools, it will achieve the creamy texture and thick consistency. Serve it hot.