September 2, 2014

[VeganMoFo 2014 Recipe] Moongachi Bhaaji | Whole Green Gram and Potato Curry with Koli Masala

Sometimes it makes me sad, how our Indian cuisine is stereotyped for a handful of popular curries. There is a world of truly unique and diverse food culture spanning across the country that each one of us should make an attempt to atleast know and if possible, learn. Today's post is about a quick and scrumptious curry made with whole green gram, potato and spiced with a unique spice blend of 18 spices called Koli Masala. It was initially a gift to Lataji from Anjali, the maker of the spice mix. I was quite chuffed when Lataji generously shared some with me during our stay together at IFBM. Since then I have been meaning to make a recipe, to try the spice mix.  Isn't VeganMoFo a perfect platform to talk and feature some lesser known cuisines & traditions? - To let the world know how distinct and extraordinary our Indian cuisine is! 

After many years of incessant food fascination and dreaming about it almost every other minute, I truly believe the food blog-o-sphere is a happy place to be in. Almost everyday I stumble upon a blog that stirs my imagination and some that actually teach me about an unknown cuisine in a far away world. During my free time, you will always find me reading one article after other that talk about lesser known cultures and their eating habits. Rightly said so, what we eat/drink is an emotive concern, even it is as simple as digging our teeth into a charcoal-smoked, lemon wedge rubbed corn butta or a glass of hot masala chai after a brisk walk on a cold, chilly morning.

Koli cuisine belongs to the fisher folk of Mumbai with seafood playing an important role in their diets. Fiery, fragrant masalas are sprinkled to add a surprising element of flavor to the everyday vegetables and seafood. Anjali Koli, a blogger whom I got to know through IFBM is doing a commendable job in preserving this Koli tradition. She even has an e-shop on her website where one can buy various kinds of masalas.

Just like I did, for a non-stop orgy of Koli food, do check out more recipes on her blog.

Moongachi Bhaaji | Whole Green Gram and Potato Curry

Recipe Source: AnnaParaBrahma
Makes 2 to 3 servings


1 cup whole green moong
1 potato, chopped lengthwise with skin on
2 tsp oil

For the masala:

1/4 cup grated fresh coconut (or frozen coconut)
1/2 tsp koli masala (you can buy some here)
salt - to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a small bunch of fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli


Wash and soak whole green moong dal for atleast 30 mins. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or until the dal is completely cooked. Cool and mash dal with a potato masher or simply with the back of a laddle. Set aside.

Grind together: fresh coconut, ginger, garlic, green chilli, cumin seeds, fresh cilantro, turmeric, koli masala and salt along with some water to a fine paste. Set aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and add chopped potatoes. Cover and cook until they are fork tender and golden brown. Add the ground coconut masala and fry for 2 minutes. Then add in the mashed dal along with a cup of water. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. Turn off heat, adjust the seasoning if necessary and let it sit for few more minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve with any rice or roti.


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  1. Sounds lovely! I love curries, the beautiful spices always capture my heart :)

  2. So impressed with your commitment to post everyday this month. And I love this bhaji, so had to rush over and leave a message..

    1. hehe. Thanks Rev. I just hoping I will see it through the end.

  3. This looks AMAZING!! Can't wait to try it.

    1. Please give it a try. It is wholesome and protein rich. :-)

  4. This sounds amazing - love all the flavors!

    1. I agree on the flavors part. Everything is married so well by the end.

  5. Siri so glad you tried this recipe and how generous of Lataji to spread the fragrance of the Koli masala to our wider circle of blogger friends. Thanks for posting the links to my Eshop and blog, it's an humble attempt to popularize my Koli community's food and culture. I am so glad we met at IFBM.

    1. We need more people like you Anjali, who put such dedication to popularize lesser known cuisines like Koli.

  6. Thanks for this recipe -- I love mung beans, and this curry looks like a divine (and new) way for me to use them!!!

    1. Using whole moong beans is the key for a more toothsome experience. Any small legumes can be easily substituted, though I have not personally tried any other way.


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