Whenever Rajesh and I would inform our respective parents that we were planning a trip to India, they would be overjoyed. Both our Moms would start planning our favorite dishes. My mother-in-law would make a list of dishes to make the day we would land there till the night we would leave. Most of them would naturally be Rajesh’s favorites, but there would be a few of her signature dishes which were my favorites and knowing this, she would make them especially for me. Soppina Saaru was one of those signature dishes that Amma would make. Saaru is something like a soup and “soppu” in Kannada refers to any green leafy vegetable. On one of my earlier visits, she had made this dish and I had loved it. This is a very traditional dish served in the state of Karnataka along with Raagi Mudde (finger millet flour balls). Amma is no longer with us, so I have no way to ask her for the origin of this recipe. However, Rajesh says that during one his solo trips home, the lady who would deliver milk to their house brought along some Raagi mudde and soppinu saaru. Rajesh suspects that this is her recipe. I am not sure if this is the actual way the dish is made but this is the recipe that Amma gave me, hence the name Amma’s Soppina Saaru! She would make it with chakothne soppu or chakota soppu, also called mountain spinach (thanks Google!), but she also told me that it can be made with other greens as well.
This recipe is so versatile that you can make this with any green leafy vegetable. It can also be made with a combination of different greens like spinach, dill and methi leaves (fenugreek leaves). For this recipe, I had a cup of drumstick or moringa leaves leftover from a care package sent by our dear friends, the Raos. I made ‘dangars‘ with 1 cup and the rest, I set aside for this daal.
Amma's Soppina Saaru or Moringa Leaves DaalPrint Recipe
- Toor Daal - 1 cup
- Drumstick or Moringa leaves - 1 cup, washed and chopped
- Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped finely
- Tomato - 1, chopped finely
- Garlic cloves - 2 large, chopped finely
- Green chillies - 3 (more or less depending on your taste)
- Sambar powder - 2 tsp (more or less depending on your spice level)
- Salt to taste
- For seasoning:-
- Oil - 1 tblsp
- Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- Hing - a pinch
- Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Wash and cook the toor daal in a pressure cooker for atleast 4-5 whistles till the daal is soft and mushy.
In a separate pan, put in the chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, green chillies and the chopped greens along with 1/2 glass of water. Cook till 3/4 done (about 5 minutes, depending on the greens that you are using). Greens get done quickly, so this shouldn't take a long time.
Add the cooked daal, sambar powder and salt to taste. Mix well. Bring to a boil.
In a small pan, heat oil. When hot, put in mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add in the curry leaves and hing powder and take the pan off the heat. Pour this into the daal and greens mixture.
Serve hot either with white rice or with rotis.