Chefs share some native sweet and savoury recipes made in south India – Times of India

Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesha Habba or Vinayagar Chaturthi… call it what you may, but this is a favourite festival for many. Like most Indian festivals, the festive platter is the showstopper at most homes.

Tamil Nadu: Kara Pidi Kozhukattai

Chef Priya Veera says, “These delicious steamed dumplings are made using raw rice and spices. Kara kozhukattai is a savoury version of kozhukattai varieties, made by steaming rice flour and seasoning mix. Relish lip-smacking, easily digestible, delicious kozhukattais with spicy chutney of your choice that can be had for breakfast, dinner, and of course, be made during Ganesha Chaturthi, too.”


Raw rice: 1 cup

Groundnut or coconut oil: 2 tsp

Mustard seed: 1/2tsp

Urad dhal: 1/2tsp

Channa dal: 1/2tsp

Hing: 1/2tsp

Green chilly or dry red chillies: 2 nos

Curry leaves

Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup

Water: 2 cups

Salt to taste

Asafoetida: a pinch


Wash a cup of raw rice and allow it to dry for 10 minutes and then grind it to a coarse powder. In a heavy bottomed pan, add in the ground rice flour and dry roast, till it becomes hot, by simmering it and then keep aside on a plate. To the same pan, add oil, mustard, urad dhal, channa dal, and asafoetida, and allow it to crackle. Then add in finely chopped green chillies or dry red chillies, and curry leaves, and saute well. Then add in the water, grated coconut, and salt to taste and bring it to a boil. To the above, add in the roasted rice flour little by little, mix well without lumps, simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes and grease your hands with oil and shape it into dumplings. Then, grease the idly plates and steam cook for 10 minutes, and serve hot with coconut chutney, red chutney, or khara chutney.

Karnataka: Mushti kadubu

Chef Sombir Choudhary says, “In southern India, mushti refers to the fist. The kadubus or dumplings are rolled by hand and hence have an impression of the fist on them. It is specially made for the Ganesha festival. While kadubus are generally made as a savoury, this is a sweet variant.”


Khoya (Mawa): 250 gm

Jaggery: 65 gm

Grated coconut: 80 gm

Cardamom powder: 1 gm

Ghee: 20gm

A pinch of salt


Take a pan and add ghee on a medium flame. Add the grated coconut and khoya, followed by cardamom powder and jaggery. Now, throw in a dash of salt. Mix them all and switch off the stove. Once the mixture is warm, grease your fingers with ghee and make the dumplings. Garnish with pistachios or almond flakes.

Coastal Karnataka: Haalbai

Chef Indira Shetty says, “A recipe unique to coastal Karnataka, specifically South Kanara, Haalbai is a sweet dish that had humble beginnings in the traditional homes of this region. Since coconut is available in plenty in the region (coconut milk forms the base of the dish) it is the go-to recipe to whip up a quick sweet.”


Whole wheat: 1/2 kg (soaked overnight)

Grated coconut: two tablespoons

Cardamom: Eight

Jaggery: 3/4 kg jaggery

A pinch of salt.


Grind the soaked wheat, grated coconut and cardamom. Strain the liquid with a muslin cloth. Add a dash of water to the remaining mixture and get a second extract. Now take a large wok and add the mixture along with the jaggery and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring continuously on a medium flame and ensure that no lumps are formed. When the mixture turns sticky, take off the stove. Pour the mixture on a greased plate and let it stand for four hours. Cut into desired shape and garnish with cashew nuts.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Boorlu

Chef Sumitra says, “Boorlu is a sweet that has a filling of lentils, grated coconut, sugar and cardamom powder. It is a very important part of a festival meal or any celebration. The procedure is long, but the outcome is always highly satisfactory. It is made in traditional Telugu brahmin homes during festivals.”


Urad dal: 1 cup

Raw rice: 2 cups

Moong dal: 1 cup

Grated coconut: 1 cup

Elaichi powder: 1/2 teaspoon

Ground sugar: 1 cup



The outer coating is dosa batter. The urad dal and rice have to be freshly ground and not fermented. For the stuffing, soak the moong dal for two hours and grind it coarsely. Then it needs to be steamed in the cooker for 1 whistle. Remove it after it cools, and grind it coarsely in a mixie jar in small batches. Keep it in a vessel. Add 1 cup grated of coconut to it, 1/2 tsp of elaichi powder and 1 cup ground sugar. Mix it together and make lemon sized balls. Into the dosa batter, add very little salt, adjust the thickness. Heat fresh oil in a kadai. Drop these balls dipped in the batter and fry them to a golden colour. They turn out very crisp and tasty. Can be stored in an airtight container for nearly a week.

– Compiled by Sunayana Suresh, Sharanya CR and Madhu Daithota

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