Majjige Huli is a traditional Karnataka dish, a yogurt-based south Indian vegetarian curry, made with Okra in this recipe.
This south Indian curry is known by different names in the other south Indian states, namely, Morkuzhambu in Tamil Nadu, Puliserry in Kerala, and Majjiga Pulusu in Andhra Pradesh/ Telangana. The recipes vary slightly between each state and between the regions as well.
A well-made traditional dish like majjige huli served with hot rice and some papad/ fryums (sandige) on the side makes an absolute soul-satisfying meal.
Every morsel of rice mixed with majjige huli with a bite of sandige or papad is surely a burst of flavors and textures. I can live on it the whole day or even two!
Although the basic majjige huli recipe remains the same, there could be slight variations between each region, and each family. This recipe I am sharing is my family style one, that I have learned from my mom.
What is Majjige Huli
If you haven’t ever heard of this dish or have a fair idea about it and want to know more, here is a brief explanation of what it is.
Basically, a vegetable or greens are cooked initially and then simmered in a coconut-based masala paste. The masala paste consists of basic Indian spices ground with fresh coconut and soaked chana dal. Once the veggie(s) is simmered well with the masala, beaten curd/yogurt or buttermilk is poured in and boiled again for a few more minutes.
Lastly, a simple Indian tempering is added to finish off the dish. No onion or garlic is used in the paste or for tempering, traditionally.
This recipe is that of a typical Mysore-Bangalore style Majjige Huli, which is slightly different from the Udupi version.
The most popular vegetable used in this is the ash gourd. Apart from this, veggies like okra, Mangalore/Madras cucumber, greens like spinach/Malabar spinach are also traditionally used.
I have used okra (ladies’ finger) in this. If you are not keen on using okra, you can simply replace it with ash gourd/Mangalore cucumber/ chopped greens. Other vegetables like potato, raw papaya, chayote, cucumber also go well in this. You can experiment with any other veggies of your choice, but not all of them go well in this.
Okra has to be sauteed in oil before simmering it with the masala, but the other vegetables can be simply boiled in water before adding the masala paste.
Cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, green chilies, ginger, asafoetida.
All of these will be used to make the masala paste. Mustard seeds and asafoetida will also be used again for tempering.
Coriander leaves (both for the masala paste and for garnish), curry leaves (for tempering).
Curd / Yogurt / Buttermilk-
Either of these works, but please make sure it is just mildly sour and not too much. If you used thick curd/yogurt, you will have to beat it well before adding it to the mixture. If you are using buttermilk, make sure to not add much water before adding in the buttermilk.
Coconut (grated or small pieces)- a very important ingredient for masala paste. Both fresh and frozen coconut will work, make sure to thaw the frozen coconut before using it.
Chana dal (split Bengal gram)- this is soaked for 30 minutes or so and then used in the masala paste. Chana dal adds a distinctive flavor and also thickness to the curry.
Salt and Oil/ghee
How to make Okra Majjige Huli: Step by Step
Note: 1 cup = 250 ml
Step 1: Preparation to be done
1. Firstly, we need to chop Okra. I have used 500 gm in this recipe, for a quantity of majjige huli with 4 to 5 servings.
Wash the okra well and wipe them all with a paper towel so that they are completely dry before chopping. Retained water content in them will make them slimier while sauteeing.
We do not want to slit the okra thin or chop it into small pieces since this is a curry and we want to bite into bigger pieces of it. Once the okra is all dried well, trim off the ends and chop them all into 1 to 2 inches size pieces. You can chop them smaller if that’s how you like.
2. The second preparation work is to soak chana dal. We need about 2 tablespoons of the dal that have to be soaked in enough water for 30 minutes or so such that they turn soft. You can soak them in hot water to make the soaking time shorter.
3. If you are using fresh coconut, grate it and set it aside. We need 1/2 a cup of grated coconut. I used frozen grated coconut that I thawed for a few hours before using.
In a pan, heat some oil. Add in the chopped okra and saute well so that the slime disappears. It will take a few minutes depending on how tender or mature the okra is. We definitely need to go for tender ones while buying, but in case they are a bit mature, it is okay too.
Do not add water while sauteeing. Once you notice the slim to be almost gone, season the okra with salt and saute until they all cook well and turn soft.
Scoop them out once done, and set aside.
Let us make the masala paste now.
Take a mixer jar, and add in soaked & drained chana dal, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, about 1 tsp (1/2 to 3/4 an inch) fairly chopped ginger, 3 green chilies (or as per your spice preference), 1/2 cup grated coconut/ coconut piece, and around 8 to 10 stalks of cilantro (coriander leaves).
Adding about 1/2 a cup water, grind them all into a slightly coarse paste. The paste should neither be too fine nor too coarse.
Now you can either simmer the masala paste for a few minutes and then add in the cooked okra, or simmer the paste along with okra. It depends on how soft your okra has been previously cooked.
Transfer the ground paste into another pan with or without okra, add 1 to 2 cups of water and simmer the mixture up to one boil.
If you haven’t added in the okra yet, add at this stage and simmer for 2-3 more minutes for the okra to absorb the flavors. You can also throw in some curry leaves while simmering, they leave a good flavor than using them only in tempering.
Tip: The curry starts getting thicker as you simmer and can get burned at the base, so keep an eye and add more water if required.
Add in salt now, either rock salt or table salt. I used 1.5 tsp rock salt, you can adjust based on your taste and the type of salt you are using.
Measure and transfer 1 cup of curd into a bowl. Please note, I used thick curd here and diluted it with 1 cup of water. So, ideally, we will need nearly 2 cups of curd/yogurt/buttermilk that is neither too thick nor of thin buttermilk consistency. Beat or whisk the curd/ yogurt well such that it is smooth.
Now if we transfer the chilled curd/ yogurt/ buttermilk directly into a hot mixture, the mixture can get split. Therefore, add a ladle or two of the hot mixture into the curd/ yogurt and mix well. This brings the temperature of the curd to nearly that of the hot mixture.
Once done, transfer the curd/yogurt/ buttermilk into the hot mixture and let the majjige huli come to a gentle boil. Do not over boil after adding curd.
Lastly, time to make the tempering.
Heat oil or ghee in a small tempering pan/wok. Add in mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add in asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chilies (optional), and let them all fry for a few seconds.
Transfer the tempered mixture into the hot majjige huli, garnish with chopped coriander leaves if you like. Mix them all well.
Serve with rice and enjoy.
1. Addition of coriander seeds in the masala paste: I have also heard of traditional recipes of majjige huli that use coriander seeds (raw) along with other ingredients to grind. We do not use them in this family recipe of ours, but you can definitely do if you like or as a variation to this recipe.
You can use around 1 tsp coriander seeds in that case.
2. Dry red chilies instead of green chilies in the masala paste: you can use a mix of Guntur and Byadagi/Kashmiri dry red chilies. Your majjige huli will then be orange-red in color.
3. Skip coriander leaves in the masala paste: this will give a white-ish majjige huli without the flavor of ground coriander leaves. This is also a good variation.
4. Replace okra with other veggies such as ash gourd, chayote, Mangalore/ Madras cucumber, or chopped greens. Boil all of these veggies, including the greens, in water before adding the ground masala paste.
5. Vegan version– you can use vegan yogurt options as per your preference. I have not tried using vegan yogurt in this, so I am not sure which would be the best option.
What to serve with Majjige Huli
As I already mentioned, rice is the best choice to serve with majjige huli, especially as a meal for lunch or dinner.
However, there are also other dishes like Nuchinunde that are classically also served with majjige huli. Why not try this too?
I also like to have it with ragi mudde. Not a very popular combo, but it appeals to my taste buds, maybe yours too if you care to give it a try. 🙂
Okra Majjige Huli
- 500 gm Okra
- 1 cup yogurt or thick curd
- 2 tbsp chana dal
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 3 numbers green chillies - adjust as per your taste
- 8 to 10 stalks coriander - plus more for garnish
- 1.5 tsp salt - adjust as per your taste
- 1 tbsp oil or ghee
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 2 to 3 numbers dried red chilies
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- Wash and dry okra well. Trim the edges and chop them into 1 to 2 inches pieces.
- Heat some oil in a pan, add in the chopped okra and saute until the slime disappears and okra cooks turning soft.
- Soak chana dal with enough water for about 30 minutes until they turn soft. You can soak them in hot water to cut down the time.
- Into a mixer jar, add in the soaked & drained chana dal, grated coconut, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, chopped ginger, coriander leaves, green chilies, and about 1/2 a cup water.
- Grind everything to a slightly coarse mixture. It should neither be too coarse nor too fine.
- Transfer this mixture into a pan along with okra and add 1 to 2 cups of water. Simmer this for about 5 minutes, up to one boil. If your okra has been overcooked previously, do not simmer them along with the mixture. In that case, add in the okra later and boil for 2 more minutes.
- Season the mixture with salt. In a bowl, measure and add in yogurt and dilute it with 1 cup water (unless you are using buttermilk or very thin curd). Whisk or beat the yogurt well.
- Add in 1 or 2 ladles of the hot mixture that has just been simmered into the yogurt and mix well. This helps to avoid the splitting of the mixture whican can posisbly occur on adding cold yogurt to hot mixture directly.
- Transfer the yogurt mixture into the other hot mixture, add a little more water if required and bring it to a gentle boil. Do not overboil after adding yogurt.
- Lastly, make a tempering by heating oil in a small wok or a pan. Splutter mustard seeds followed by asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chilies. Tranfer this to the prepared majjige huli.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, mix well and serve with rice or nuchinunde.
- Adjust the green chilies and salt as per your taste. Since we will be adding yogurt, it will reduce the heat from the green chilies, so add accordingly.
- Use vegan yogurt for a vegan version.
- You can use frozen okra if you cannot find fresh ones.
- The nutrition values displayed are an estimation, please use your trusted nutrition calculator if you are keen on it.
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. 🙂
If you have any questions about the recipe, kindly post them below under comments.
I would love to see your recipe recreations. 🙂