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Traditional Karnataka Huli Tovve Recipe

Traditional Karnataka Huli Tovve Recipe: A Delicious and Nutritious Dish

Traditional Karnataka Huli Tovve Recipe

When it comes to traditional Karnataka cuisine, one cannot miss out on the delectable Huli Tovve. This dish, also known as Sambar, is a staple in many households across the state. Huli Tovve is a flavorful lentil-based curry that is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, and step-by-step process of making this mouthwatering dish.

The Origins of Huli Tovve

Huli Tovve has its roots in the rich culinary heritage of Karnataka, a state in southern India. The word “Huli” translates to “sour” in Kannada, the local language of Karnataka. This name is derived from the tangy tamarind pulp that gives the dish its distinctive flavor. Tovve, on the other hand, refers to a lentil-based curry.

Traditionally, Huli Tovve was prepared using locally available ingredients like lentils, vegetables, and spices. It was a popular dish among farmers as it provided them with the necessary energy and nutrients to sustain their hard work in the fields. Over the years, Huli Tovve has become a beloved dish in Karnataka households and is often served with steamed rice or idli, a savory rice cake.

The Nutritional Value of Huli Tovve

Huli Tovve is not only a delicious dish but also a nutritious one. Let’s take a look at the key ingredients and their nutritional benefits:

  • Lentils: Lentils are a rich source of protein, fiber, and essential minerals like iron and potassium. They are also low in fat and cholesterol, making them a healthy addition to any diet.
  • Tamarind: Tamarind is known for its tangy taste and is a good source of antioxidants. It also contains vitamins B and C, as well as minerals like calcium and magnesium.
  • Vegetables: Huli Tovve typically includes a variety of vegetables like pumpkin, drumstick, and brinjal. These vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to the dish, making it even more nutritious.
  • Spices: The spices used in Huli Tovve, such as turmeric, cumin, and mustard seeds, not only enhance the flavor but also offer various health benefits. Turmeric, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties, while cumin aids digestion.

By incorporating these ingredients into your diet through Huli Tovve, you can enjoy a wholesome and balanced meal that nourishes your body.

Ingredients for Huli Tovve

Now that we understand the nutritional value of Huli Tovve, let’s take a look at the ingredients required to make this delicious dish:

  • 1 cup of toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (pumpkin, drumstick, brinjal, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Huli Pudi (sambar powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee
  • Salt to taste

Step-by-Step Process of Making Huli Tovve

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making Huli Tovve:

  1. Wash the toor dal thoroughly and pressure cook it with 2 cups of water until it becomes soft and mushy.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in warm water for about 15 minutes. Extract the pulp and discard the seeds and fibers.
  3. Cut the mixed vegetables into bite-sized pieces and cook them separately until they are tender.
  4. In a separate pan, heat oil or ghee and add mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, Huli Pudi, and salt to the pan. Mix well and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Mash the cooked toor dal and add it to the pan. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  8. Let the Huli Tovve simmer for another 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  9. Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed rice or idli.

Enjoy the delightful flavors of Huli Tovve as you savor each spoonful of this traditional Karnataka dish.

Interesting Facts about Huli Tovve

Here are some interesting facts and anecdotes about Huli Tovve:

  • Huli Tovve is often prepared during festivals and special occasions in Karnataka, as it is considered an auspicious dish.
  • In some households, a special spice blend called “Huli Pudi” is prepared and used to make Huli Tovve. This blend typically includes roasted spices like coriander seeds, red chilies, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves.
  • While the traditional recipe calls for toor dal, you can experiment with other lentils like moong dal or masoor dal to create variations of Huli Tovve.
  • Huli Tovve is not only popular in Karnataka but also in neighboring states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where it is known as Sambar.


Huli Tovve is a traditional Karnataka dish that has stood the test of time. With its rich flavors and nutritional benefits, it continues to be a favorite among both locals and food enthusiasts worldwide. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can recreate this delicious dish in your own kitchen. So, why not give it a try and experience the authentic taste of Karnataka with Huli Tovve?



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