Kumblekayi huli – Udupi cuisine

udupi cuisine curry

Most of the Udupi cuisine I learnt was from my mother in law. Having lived there for ages, she had a treasure trove recipes that the family is very fond of. When she was teaching us, her eye for detail was immense, picking the right chilli to the cut of the vegetable she was particular. This is the essence of this cuisine. Over the years, I have come to understand, this does matter a lot, especially in the cuisine she was teaching us. This is how the cuisine is designed to be.

When Jayashree Taro proposed Udupi cuisine at Shhh cooking secretly group of bloggers, my mind raced through so many recipes she made in an effortless manner. With Kalyani sharing mustard and tamarind as the secret ingredients, there was no looking back from the huli. Kalyani’s blog  is a treasure trove of amazing traditional recipes and I am sure you will love her kayi sasive chitranna recipe as well. 

Udupi Temple cuisine

Udupi is a temple town along the Konkan coast. The unique style of cooking from this region makes them.one of the best cooks in the world. Centring around the Krishna temple, this cuisine has the love for hearty curried and ample sweet treats. Celebrating the child God and enticing him with innumerable delicacies has created such s complex evolution of this cuisine. In addition, feeding the temple supporting commoners and the devotees has brought this vegetarian cuisine to us.

Fortunately, we had the lovely opportunity of having this meal quite often during our college days at Manipal. Of course like any other hungry young person looking for a free meal, for us the temple meal was so filling. This kept us on our course of divinity as well. Made in huge temple vats, the huli was generously served with anna. The only difficulty of having the meal was the speed at which it was served.  So, my taste buds have had the pretest before learning this unique cuisine, now I am able to enjoy it without the speed. Yet, the flavour of cooking in huge batches to the exact, non-comprimising  food regime standards will bring about some small changes when you cook at home. 

gluten free udupi cuisine sambhar

Vegan udupi huli

Most South Indian cuisines rely on a bowl of rice (anna) with curry( huli)and sides of vegetable stir-fried for lunch (palya). Udupi cuisine is no exception. The most common one is the Huli. Though you can call a huli as similar to a sambhar, it is not equitable. They are a world apart in taste and mouthfeel.
Huli literally translating to sourness, these babies have a slightly sour touch balanced out with spices and the sweetness of that lump of jaggery that makes it all perfect. A characteristic feature that you will see in this is the no onion no garlic nature of the cuisine. These are avoided as they are not considered satwik.

How would I serve this?

The Huli I have made today is with pumpkin and winter melon ( ash gourd).
This recipe pairs well with steamed rice or millets. For making it a complete meal, try these recipes to go with the grain and curry


 Hesarubele kosambari salad

Kadalebele kosambari salad with purple carrot

Stir fries

Banana blossom in coconut masala

Keerai thandu poriyal

Fired crisps

Arisi Karuvadam – Rice sundries

Lotus Root Sun Dried

Hope you enjoy this traditional recipe that I learnt from my mother in law. Stay Safe and keep in touch. Don’t miss to subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. To pin this recipe for future use, use the link below. 

Udupi huli

recipe with pumpkin and lentils from udupi cuisine
udupi cuisine curry

Kumblekayi huli

Curry with lentils gourds and pumpkin for serving with rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Autumn, diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, Karnataka, Pressure cooker, Spring, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 6 people


To cook the lentils

  • 1.5 cups drinking water
  • 1/4 cup tur dal split pigeon pea, thogribele, thuvaram parippu

for the masala paste

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 4 tsp coriander seeds daniya
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds jeera
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 6-7 dry red chillies ( the colour is from the bydegai chillies, that have less heat but beautiful deep red colour
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida hing

to cook the vegetables

  • 200 grams pumpkin Skin removed and diced in 1 inch cubes
  • 100 grams wintermelon Ash gourd, peeled and diced as 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lime sized ball tamarind soaked in warm water about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 cups drinking water ( to use only as necessary)

for tempering

  • 1 tsp coconut oil ( use newutral oils if coconut oil is not preffered)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida


To cook the dal

  • Wash and clean the tur dal and soak it for 10 minutes in the 1.5 cups of water.
  • Transfer this to a pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles.
  • Release the pressure naturally and mash the dal gently with a ladle and set aside

For the masala paste

  • When the dal cooks, set a khadai or pan on low heat and dry roast the spices, except the coconut till they are aromatic and the red chillies snap easily
  • Add in the coconut and roast till the coconut is wilted.
  • Cool the spice mix and blend into a smooth paste using a bit of water ( from the 2 cups reserved)
    masala paste
  • Set aside till needed.

To cook the huli

  • Wash, clean, peel and dice the vegetable.
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water and extract the tamarind pulp
  • Strain the tamarind pulp and add to the cooking pot along with the vegetables, turmeric and salt.
    vegetables for udupi huli
  • Add a cup of water cover and cook till the vegetables are fork tender ( about 10 minutes on medium heat)
  • Now add the masala paste, the cooked dal and mix well.
  • If too thick add the remaining water to make an easy pouring consistency.
  • Stir and cook this for another 10 minutes, with occasional stirring

For tempering

  • In a small pan, add the oil and mustard seeds and bring it to a medium heat.
  • When the mustard starts spluttering, add the curry leaves and asafoetida powder and remove from heat.
  • Add this simmering mix to the curry and stir. Cover the curry for one minute, remove from heat and allow the flavours to infuse.
  • Serve the curry with steamed rice.
    udupi cuisine curry


To freeze the curry
This curry is perfectly freezable for up to 3 months, however, I will avoid the final tempering step and add it fresh upon thawing as it brings a flavour enhancement to the frozen one. Personally I am not keen on frozen winter melon as I find it a bit chewy, but pumpkin holds up really well.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
0 0 votes

Subscribe & Follow

You Might Also Like

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shobha Keshwani
4 years ago

The curry looks absolutely Divine. I love the colour . This will be so tasty with plain rice and appalams

Priya Vj
4 years ago

Absolutely lipsmacking. I was to make this for the secret challenge but later on changed it to kumbalkaay majjige huli . Just love the satvik flavors . They are a soulful treat to the taste buds

4 years ago

This sounds so much similar to Sambhar, but as you say it is very different from that, will try to see the difference.. curry sounds and looks delicious .. can have it just like that as stew or soup with veggies.

Mayuri Patel
4 years ago

I love how this is recipe is all in one, its got the veggies and the dal too. Similar to sambhar, it sure would go so well with rice. I think I’d have to replace the winter melon with another gourd like lauki as we don’t get it. Love the colour of the curry.

The Girl Next Door
4 years ago

I love Udupi cuisine for its super flavourful dishes, generously laden with coconut, with a heady mix of sweet and sour and spicy tastes. This dish is no exception. I love that it contains both veggies and lentils, so it would go beautifully with rice. I’d love to try this out some time. 🙂

Poonam Bachhav
4 years ago

Loved this humble yet delicious curry from Udupi Cuisine. Lentils and veggies cooked together with coconut sounds absolutely flavorful amd filling. Would make a soulful treat with some steamed rice and a salad .

3 years ago

I love how food takes one back to so many memories! Loved reading about your eating free meals at temples during college times! 🙂 Reminded me of my Iskon temple visits during college :p
The recipe looks delicious and I feel it is worth making a big batch of it in one go so thank you for giving freezing suggestions too!

3 years ago

Kumblekayi huli looks very delicious, i have many memories bonded with this huli, as it is my dsad’s fav. My dad is from udupi, we too prepare the same huli at home. You explained very well loved it.

3 years ago

This huli saaru looks so delicious. The color from the bydegai chilies is amazing.

3 years ago

Ash gourd is one of the least used vegetables in my kitchen and I am generally looking for ideas to add this to our diet. Curry the way you have prepared sounds fantastic, kids will love it with rice.

Priya satheesh
3 years ago

Truly divine. Sounds delicious and I am sure that the freshly ground masala would have given a lovely aroma to the dish. Perfect with rice and pickle !

Jayashree T.Rao
3 years ago

Love this udupi sambar but I never make it this way. It looks so delicious, love the flavour of coconut in it.

3 years ago

I love Huli with all the gourds. Adding watermelon rind sounds interesting. Would love to try with watermelon rind sometime. Thinking about Bisi Bisi Huli and Anna with Appla is making me hungry now. Lovely colour of the huli.

3 years ago

thats a lovely Huli (not sambhar , I know :p) that we love at home.. great to read the Udupi connection you have via your MIL too. am sure u have many more handpicked treasures from this cuisine as part of your kitchen menu, Seema.

3 years ago

Udupi huli looks too tempting and delicious. Love the bright color of the sambar and need some hot idli or rice to enjoy them.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x