Monday, April 30, 2012

Vala cha Birda

In the last post I did mention that I don't deprive the elders at home of their favorite tastes though I am cooking healthy most times. As if to prove a point, this post has come up you will say. It's not like it but there is one person in the family that has a weakness for Vala cha Birda. This person can go to lenghts, of soaking the val, peeling them alone, yes it is a challenging task! 

Now once peeled, I am happy to make it. A call to Mothi Aai and she tells me cook the onions and Val separately and then add the coconut masala. It creates a perfect texture. Do not grind. I follow instructions to the T and I am rewarded with a recreation of a curry that has many fond moments associated with it from childhood. Sprouted Val is called Birda, hence the name of the curry.

I have mentioned in an earlier post the craze for Birda in my family and how Val Dal saved our life if Birda was not peeled and available at short notice.

But before we go into the recipe let me explain to you the treatment val requires.


The three phases of Val:
R to L - dried, soaked n sprouted and the peeled sprouts
1. You got to soak the dried val overnight. I used 1/2 kg Val to get 1 kg peeled sprouts.

2. Then next day remove into a cloth bag, tie up the mouth and hang the bag on a hook in the warm parts of your kitchen. Leave them in the bag for another day and night. In warm climes they should sprout about an inch or two.

3. Remove the sprouts into a container. Pour hot water over it. This will loosen up the skins. Let the sprouts soak for a good 1 hour. Then it is easy to peel the skins. Here is when the entire family should team up. Make it a rule, they will get a share only if they help peel the sprouts ;) I know I sound like a dictator but I hate this part.

Keep aside the peeled Val.

The Ground Masala

Like you see here. Grind together to smoothness.

1/2 coconut
handful of cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 inch of ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Koli Masala (1/2t garam masala+1/2t red chili powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 green chili

Other Ingredients

1kg of  peeled Val sprouts
2 medium potatoes
2 large Onions chopped
1 tablespoon oil


1. Heat a handi or a copper bottom deep vessel. 
2. Pour oil. 
3. Fry the onions till shinny n cooked.
4. Add the val and quartered potatoes. Mix well to coat with onions and oil.
5. Pour 2 glasses water. Cook till potato is powdery and about to crumble. Val takes time to cook and watching the potato cook is the best way to ensure that Val is cooked. 

Beware that Val when not cooked properly is difficult to digest and may cause increased flatulence

6. Once the Val is cooked well. Add the ground masala and cook on sim for a good 15-20 mins. 

Cover and keep for 15 mins before you serve. This curry like all Koli curries taste better the next day, if preserved in the fridge.

On this day I went the extra mile and served this Thali of Vala cha Birda, Rice, Ghari,  Sheera, Masoor Kairi Dal,  Lime n ginger pickle and Kairi chi Chutney 

This is a recipe that's spicy by my standards. Yet some people in the family would have preferred it to be more fiery. What made my day is the happiness on my father's face was priceless!

Other blogger's who have made Birda or Dalimbi usal


  1. Masta, I want to get hold of the birda and finish it off. Adding koli masala sounds great.
    'Only' Snacks & Starters + Giveaway

    1. Pari thanks, you must try it with koli masala it makes all the difference to this speciality.

  2. :-) Loved the post and the plate!

  3. This look nutritious and healthy. I';d much rather eat somethign spicy and traditional than soemthing sweet and carb heavy.

  4. hi can you post the recipe for masoor kairi dal also, thanks so much

  5. That looks great! Last evening, we ate at 'Peshwa' - a Maharashtrian restaurant in J.P.nagar and had the 'Gavran Jevan' - a thali with Bhakri, Zhunka, Brinjal curry, Rice, dal and sooji halwa. It's become our favourite haunt!!

  6. this looks so delicious yet healthy. love the recipe

    1. Do try it and let me know. You have a lovely space too.

  7. Came here from Mints' post, which provided the inspriration to use koli masala with any sprouts.

    It was _so_ good. That aroma amazes me every time!

    1. ET ride the wafts of the aroma and come straight here to the source! When is the next trip?


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