When Narayani Nayak wrote the book [Cookery Craft in mid-20th century], the average housewife in India spent almost the whole day in the kitchen, cooking from morning to night, for her husband and family…The day began with a cooked breakfast, carried on to a hot lunch and ended with a large dinner, interspersed with helpings of snacks and sweets as well.

Ways of cooking and eating have changed today. Most people can find time to cook just one or two main dishes and these must provide all the nutrients necessary for healthy living. Besides changing from the old measures of tola and seers to grams and cups, I have rewritten most of the recipes [from Cookery Craft] to increase or decrease the amount where necessary, suggested substitutes if the main ingredient is not easily available, shortened the preparation time by using modern appliances, and given alternatives to those who do not have the time or energy to start from scratch.


  • 125 gm whole moong, sprouted
  • 200 gm potatoes
  • 1 l water

For Seasoning

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

For Masala

  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 coconut
  • 2 dry red chillies, roasted
  • ½-inch tamarind ball


  1. Boil 1 litre of water and add washed, sprouted moong (whole green gram). Boil till soft.
  2. Boil the potatoes till done. Peel and cut into 1-inch cube.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil and pop the mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves, fry, then add the sprouts and potatoes. Stir for a minute, then add salt to taste.
  4. Heat oil in another pan and fry the urad dal. Remove from oil, then use the same oil to fry the coriander seeds till golden brown.
  5. Grind the fried coriander and urad dal in a mixer with the coconut, roasted red chillies and tamarind. Slowly, add 1 cup of water to the mixer and grind to a fine thin paste.
  6. Pour the paste over the seasoned gram and potatoes. Mix well, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes till very little liquid remains. Serve hot with rice or parathas.

Tip: You can substitute the sprouted moong and potato with jackfruit, green bananas, cluster beans and tender bamboo shoots.

Excerpted with permission from The Classic Konkan Cookbook, Jyotsna Shahane, HarperCollins.

Jyotsna Shahane

Jyotsna Shahane

Jyotsna Shahane is a filmmaker with an interest in Indian food. In 2004 she started her blog The Cook's Cottage, one of a handful of bloggers on the subject at the time. She was chosen as one of the world's great food bloggers by Saveur, the gourmet food magazine. Jyotsna lives with her husband in Pune.

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