Last Tuesday, we traveled back from Tirupathi after a serene and blessed darshan of Lord Venteshawara, to Bangalore. On our way to the airport, as it was lunch time, we wanted to try some authentic dishes. Thus, we stopped by a quaint Udupi restaurant, Udupi Vilas. Though it was a small food joint it’s neat look accentuated by the shiny steel tables and chairs, beckoned us.
Plate meals, please
As we were in a hurry, my mother suggested that we opt for plate meals, which means that less number of curries and stews will be served with limited rice quantity. Whereas in full plate meals , a minimum of 2-3 curries are served along with sambar, rasam and another variety of ‘pulusu‘ or stew. Also, rice is served based on one’s requirement (unlimited rice!) This system is followed in most of the Udupi restaurants.
Initially, we went in, seated ourselves and waited for the waiter to come over to us. Only to realize that nobody came to take the order and we had to first pay and then present the bill at the kitchen counter. Later we had to collect our plates from the same counter. I must say the service was pretty fast, which suited us at that hour. My daughter and parents went for the plate meals. Srinivas, my husband and I opted for curd rice. All of us were hungry and we devoured our meals with gusto. Later, I spotted some dark hued curry in my daughter’s plate and tasted some of it. It was beetroot and black chickpeas curry. I instantly like it and tried to decrypt its contents in my mind and kept thinking about it. My parents too liked it.
Later we proceeded towards the airport and I completely forgot about this curry.
The next day, when I went to the grocery shop to buy my weekly stock of vegetables, I spotted fresh beetroots and remembered about the tasty Udupi curry. Instinctively, I bought some of these ‘root vegetable’ and rushed home. Now I was on a mission – to decipher the South Indian ‘bhaji’ (vegetable dish) And was glad that within 20 minutes, I reproduced this memorable dish. The dish was so tempting that I could not stop myself from several tasting rounds. Beetroot and black chickpeas curry serves very well as a salad or as a main dish to be paired with rice for a satiating meal. Moreover it serves as a healthy evening snack, too.
Made moments before serving, the earthy gentleness of the beetroot is accentuated by the soft crunch of the black chickpeas, enlivened, by the subtle flavors of cumin and mustard seeds.
For detailed health benefits of black chickpeas, please check the article in Indian Express.