Chow Chow Bhath Recipe (Kharabhath and Kesari)

Chow Chow in southindian dialect means combination or mixture. Spicy and flavorful upma or kharabath paired and served with a sweet kesari is referred as chow chow bhath in Karnataka and Bangalore. 

One can find this chow chow bhath sold at darshinis / Sagar style hotels (quick serving eatery) across bangalore. My favorite places to order this dish in bangalore are Brahmins cafe, By 2 Coffee, CTR or Shri Sagar, Veena Stores, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Uphar Dharshini, Anand Bhavan (A2B) and Shanthi Sagar. 

This breakfast combo is a comfort food for many early morning travelers, office goers and college students. Every Bengalurean based family has a tradition to prepare this combo atleast once in a week or for Sunday brunch.
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Pic: Chow Chow Bhath tasted at vidyarthi bhavan on my Basavangudi breakfast trail series.

Ingredients for Upma:
2 Coffee Tumblers or 1 Cup Measure Measure Semolina (Upma Rawa)
2 Medium Size Onions
2 Medium Size Tomatoes 
4 to 5 Green Chilies (Depending on heat level)
3 Sprigs Curry Leaves
5 Sprigs Coriander Leaves 
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Split Black Gram Dhal
Salt, Oil and Ghee as required.
Lime Juice and Coriander for garnish...

Ingredients for Pineapple Kesari:
1 Cup Sooji/ Semolina
2 Cups Sugar
250 Grams Fresh Pineapple Slices
1/4 Cup Oil
8 Tbsp Ghee
1 Tbsp Cardamom Powder
1/4 Tsp Pineapple Flavor
5 Drops Yellow Food Color
A Pinch of Salt...

Method to prepare kharabath:

Heat a wok on medium flame allow to reach temperature. once wok or pan reaches temperature place on low flame, add the measured semolina, stir constantly until the semolina starts to get aromatic and turn light pink in color.

For beginners best practice is to dry roast semolina in small batches. If the semolina is dry roasted well lumps will not form easily in the upma. We can allow the semolina to cool in room temperature and store in a airtight container until use.

Bring 8 cups of water to rapid boil, we will divide this warm water and use for both recipes.

Heat the same pan or wok on medium flame add 4 tbsp oil allow to reach until smoking point. Place on low to medium flame add the mustard and split black gram dhal, allow the mustard to splutter and dhal to turn brown in color. 

Once the mustard stops spluttering, add finely chopped onion, tomatoes, asafoetida, slit chillies, curry leaves, and finely chopped coriander fry all the ingredients until onions turn transparent.

To cook the onions faster add 1 tsp salt and fry until the onions and tomatoes have softened and cooked well.

For every 1 cup measure semolina add 2 cup measure warm water. Add the dry roasted rawa or semolina to the onion masala and fry for a minute. Add 2 tbsp ghee and warm water stir constantly and making sure there are no lumps. Check for salt and add if needed, cover and cook the upma on medium flame.

Once the semolina has observed  majority of the moisture remove from flame and reserve in a hot pack.

Method to prepare Kesari Baath:
Heat a wok with one tbsp ghee, add 1 cup semolina, constantly keep stirring and roast until semolina turns light pink in color remove from flame reserve on a plate  until use. Boil 3 cups water reserve.

Heat a fry pan on low flame with 2 tbsp ghee. Once the ghee melts and reaches temperature add dried fruits cashews and raisins fry on medium flame.

Fry the dry fruits till light golden reserve on a plate. Using the same pan heat another 2tbsp oil or ghee add the cubed pineapple and 2tbsp of sugar fry until the sugar caramalizes and coats the pineapple the fruit should not burn at the same time it should have semi cooked reserve on a plate.

Heat a wok with 4 tbsp ghee and oil allow to reach temperature. Add the fried semolina to the ghee and oil fry for a minute. Add warm water stir well and cook the semolina until water is absorbed.

Add sugar and stir until sugar melts. Add fried and reserved dried fruits, semi cooked pineapple, cardamom powder, yellow food color stir, pinch of salt and combine all ingredients.

Cover and cook the kesari until semolina has observed majority of moisture. Once the ghee surfaces to the sides kesari it is done remove from flame.

We use a small cup to mould the upma and kesari and serve both the dishes together along with Chutney and enjoy eating it as hot as possible 😊

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