From Grandma’s Kitchen: Kariyal

All of nani ka pyaar in a single bowl!

Shraddha Varma

There is nothing more nostalgia-inducing and delicious than the food tempered with grandma’s love. Although I haven’t spent much time with my nani, the recipes she passed on to my mother connect the two of us, time and again, and comfort me. A single morsel of these dishes trigger memories of, both, stern authority and unconditional love, and pales the modern convenience of takeaways and home deliveries.

My mother, who has taken it upon herself to acquaint us with grandma’s cooking, often describes the time spent with her in the kitchen, back in Purwa (Uttar Pradesh), as a magic show. “It was all based on andaza (estimation). It took me a while to understand it, but the final dishes were incomparable. I can still sense the aroma of her curries and parathas,” says mommy.

Also read: 7 tangy, sweet, and spicy summer pickles from grandma’s kitchen

This hearty curry called Kariyal is one of the gems from my nani’s kitchen. Split black gram is the star of this preparation. It’s basically ural dal pakoras cooked in a thick, golden gravy made from a paste of the same lentil and some spices. Although the cooking time for Kariyal is under an hour, you will have to remember to soak the dal in water for at least 5-6 hours before cooking. Relish a bowl of Kariyal curry with steamed rice or scoop it up with chapatis.

Also read: How to make perfectly round chapati

Here’s how you can recreate this heartwarming Kariyal recipe in your kitchen for five people.


2 cups split black gram (soaked overnight or at least 5 hours)
½ tsp asafoetida
1 tsp methi seeds
2-3 medium sized garlic cloves (chopped)
1½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Oil for frying and tempering


  • Wash the soaked urad dal thoroughly and let go off the skin of the lentil. Now, grind it into a smooth paste on a sil batta or mixture grinder.
  • Keep aside ¼ portion of the paste for the curry base.

For the pakoras:

  • To the remaining ¾th lentil paste add salt (as per taste) and asafoetida to it. Mix it well.
  • Simultaneously, heat about 2-3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the batter in medium hot oil and deep fry until golden and crispy.
  • Place the fritters on a paper napkin to get rid of excess oil and you’re ready for the next step – the curry.

For the curry:

  • In the same heated kadhai, keep little oil for tempering and transfer excess oil into a bowl.
  • Make sure the oil is medium hot and add methi seeds to it. Once the seeds are roasted, add asafoetida and chopped garlic.
  • Fry the garlic until light brown and all the powdered spices except for the garam masala.
  • Cook the spices till the oil separates. Add a little water if you think the spices might burn.
  • Make a flowy batter with the remaining paste and water and pour it into the kadhai. The consistency of the batter must be watery.
  • Stir well and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. The urad dal paste should be properly cooked and shouldn’t taste raw.
  • Add the fritters and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the garam masala powder and some freshly chopped coriander.
  • Your kariyal is ready!

Pair the rice and curry combination with a mouthwatering Banarasi mango, jackfruit, and vinegar pickle and you’re good to go! You can learn how to prepare it here:

From Grandma’s Kitchen: Kariyal

Image: Shutterstock
Image used for representational purpose only


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