Video recipe: Haal saaru recipe - Vegetables in pepper milk curry

Haal saaru recipe
This is typical winter curry made in South India. It has all the spices to ward off winter flu, cold and cough. It also warms up your body, as it has healing properties of pepper, cumin, garlic and chilies. 

You may use roasted poppy seeds, or lentils to add thickness to the curry. It used to be one of my great grandma’s favorite curries. I remember how she would recite making the curry with various gourds and pigeon peas, or peanuts that they grew in their backyard. Those days, backyard grown to table was a daily thing. 

The video below uses variation 2, using lentils.

 I love my great grand mom. There is not a thing I did not learn from her. She lived long, and my sisters and I were fortunate to have spent our lives with her. She died in her late 90’s, when I completed my bachelor’s degree. During those days, she was a mom of two daughters, who lost her husband in her early 20’s. She never remarried, and she spent her whole life, looking after the plant nursery with her dad. She is my rock, my inspiration.

Serves 4
  • 2 cups calabash/bottle gourd/sorekaay, or ridge gourd, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen thogrikaalu (pigeon peas)or raw peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp. khus khus/poppy seeds or lentils ( 1 tsp urad dal and 1/2 tsp chana dal )
  • 1/2 cup dry coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper seeds
  • 1-3 dry red chilies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup milk / vegans may substitute with almond or cashew milk
For the tempering
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 
  • A few curry leaves, 
  • 2 dry red whole chilies, 
  • 1 tsp ghee 
  • A pinch of hing
  1. In a saucepan, add calabash and peas. Pour 2 cups water and salt. Bring it to a boil on  medium heat. 
  2. While the veggies boil, in another pan, dry roast poppy seeds (or lentils) cumin, pepper, chilies, garlic and coconut until aromatic. 
  3. When it cools a bit, add it to a blender, pour in a cup of water and grind to a paste. 
  4. Add the coconut paste into the cooking veggies, boil on low. 
  5. Pour in a cup of milk and stir. Turn off the heat. 
  6. In a separate pan, temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and hing in a spoon of ghee on low heat. Spread it over the curry for an aromatic sizzle. Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!