Spicy Horse Gram (Ulavalu, Kulit, Kuthlee, Kollu, Muthira) Rice

horse gram dry and soaked
tiny, tasty horse gram — dry and soaked

I have always loved to try new foods. My odyssey into Indian cooking has been a whirlwind of new tastes and ingredients, and I know I have only scratched the surface. Dal is still my favorite — to cook, to eat, and to gaze at in the store. I could spend hours (and I have!) browsing and comparing and dreaming up reasons to buy “just a little” of each different type I encounter.

To that end, I had been eyeing horse gram for months; but for some reason never bought any. I had lots of excuses. I hadn’t seen too many recipes for it, and what little I had seen seemed to be for soup. I had plenty of variety at home. It was shelved way off by itself in my favorite shop — near the Chinese food freezer. Maybe it wasn’t *really* dal…

Perhaps my hesitation stemmed from the name — “Horse Gram”.

I should know better than to judge a book by its cover.

A few weeks ago I saw Indosungod’s Horse Gram and Snake Gourd. That dish looked so tempting, I had no more excuse. Off I trotted to the international market, and soon had in hand my very own bag of this tiny, tasty dal. I was ready to experiment.

This recipe is something of an amalgamation of several recipes I have read.
Main sources whom I thank for inspiration are:

Sailu (Ulava Chaaru)
Anu (Ulavalu Chaaru)
and of course
Indosungod (Horse Gram and Snake Gourd and Kollu Chutney and Rasam)

Spicy Horse Gram Rice

For the dal:

1/2 c horse gram, soaked overnight and cooked till soft in 6 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 green chili, slit

Remove 1/4 cup cooked gram and mash lightly with fork. Reserve this, and also hold aside the rest of the gram in its cooking liquid.

For the rice:

1/3 c sona masuri rice, rinsed

2 tsp oil or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 red chilies, seeded and broken up
2 green chilies, slit
1 big clove garlic, crushed
1/2 c peeled baby onions or chopped onion

1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
1-2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1 medium tomato, chopped

1/2 c strong tamarind water (from about 1/4 c pulp in 1 c water)
3/4 c reserved gram cooking liquid
1/4 – 1/2 c reserved whole gram
1-2 lumps jaggery
1/4 tsp methi powder
salt to taste

optional: 1 c plain dry-fried eggplant cubes


1. Heat the oil/ghee. Splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves, cumin seeds, and red chilies; stir for a minute.

2. Add slit green chiles, garlic, and onions; saute a few minutes more.

3. Add turmeric, red chili powder, and cumin-coriander powder.
Mixture will be somewhat dry so watch that it doesn’t burn — add a tsp or two of gram liquid if needed to prevent sticking. Cook minute or two.

4. Add chopped tomatoes. Cook over medium heat till moisture has evaporated.

5. Add tamarind water, mashed and whole horse gram, cooking liquid, and jaggery. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes.

6. Add rice, methi powder, eggplant if using, and salt to taste. Stir well, cover and reduce heat to medium low.
Cook twenty minutes, or until rice is tender.

Serve hot (literally and figuratively!) rice with yogurt and a plain browned vegetable. Mellow eggplant was a nice side for this.


I was so excited and happy with the result. The dark, earthy bite of the horse gram and mellow undertone of its cooking liquid, tangy tamarind, sweet jaggery, and plenty of heat from the red and green chiles made this dish an explosion of taste. I will definitely be looking for more ways to enjoy this new addition to the pantry.

Incidentally, I’m also learning alot of new words. Each of the Indian names I came across sounds prettier to me than “horse gram”.

horse gram rice and yogurt
spicy horse gram rice with yogurt and dry-fried eggplant


  1. MenuToday said

    HorseGram rice is new to me. It looks sooo nice. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi MT – and thank you. I’m going to try your horse gram recipe soon πŸ™‚

  2. mandira said

    Horsegram rice… sounds interesting. I could just take a bite from the picture. πŸ™‚ looks delicious

    Thanks Mandira πŸ™‚

  3. Asha said

    WOW!! Linda,saw MT’s Kulith Rasam recipe and soaked a cup today!! And you come with Huruli rice !! Now I have to soak one more cup!:)) Really it looks gorgeous and a very new dish for us! Usually we make dal and eat with rice! you have combined the two! Very creative!! Thanks!!

    Hi Asha, and thanks! Reason I put the rice IN the dal is, it helps me control portions. Too much rice makes too much Linda πŸ˜‰

  4. horsegram rice ..i have never heared of this before…but the pic is awesome…thanks for the recipe linda.

    Thank you, Maneka! I’m still trying to ripen some bananas for your cake πŸ™‚

  5. Shankari said

    They call it kollu paruppu in tamil. U are an adventerous cooks, hats off to you

    Thanks Shankari, and thanks for the Tamil name too πŸ™‚

  6. shilpa said

    Never heard of horsegram rice before. We make a gravy with it and I absolutely love that. (We call it “Kulit” in Konkani). I will try the rice version soon. Thanks for sharing dear.

    Thank you Shilpa — see all I’m learning now πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed the taste of this broth. I’ll have to look on your blog in case you have the gravy recipe up there.

  7. prema said

    This sure is a new recipe to me. I have heard that horsegram is very healthy and have gone thru a few recipes from the bloggers.. looks yummy and thanks for the recipe.

    Thank you, Prema, I liked the taste more than I thought I would! πŸ™‚

  8. Archana said

    Oh,Linda !! Linda !!! You did it again.
    I have never cooked anything with horsegram before, i totally believe that the name is the reason. It is called “Muthira” in malyalam, which almost sounds like “Kuthira” , which means horse.! Anyway i am going to buy some next time when i go to an Indian store, i have bookmarked ISG’s recipe and your’s. Thank you.

    I’m glad you liked the look of it, Archana πŸ™‚ Can’t compare to your photography tho! I’ll be interested to see if you like the taste. “Muthira” is also a pretty word – I’ll have to add that one, thanks!

  9. Jayashree said

    Great pic, Linda….I love horse gram despite the name….and yeah, it is probably called that because it is fed to horses and cattle.

    Thanks for visiting, Jayashree πŸ™‚ Yes, I read that somewhere about the name after I posted this. Makes sense I guess!

  10. indosungod said

    Linda, you are a good Indian cook no doubt about that.
    Horse gram rice (kollu in tamil) looks absolutely delicious, for some reason I have never tried adding horse gram in a rice dish, we do it with toor and moong dal. It is for me to try next day. Egg plant should add

    The recipe I had was with Horse gram and Snake gourd, but for some inexplicable reason I have listed it as bottle gourd, but all the same bottle gourd would taste great with kollu too.

    Thank you very much, ISG! If you try, I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚ I saw you had snake gourd written in the text but I with the title. Now I’ll fix that. I must try that when I find a good snake gourd.

  11. shaheen said

    Linda: I love the way you fearlessly combine recipes and new ingredients and come up with something so unique.You have a truly open mind. Despite being from the south, I haven’t played around with Horse gram (muthira) a lot, snubbing it as a poor man’s dal, and here you are, giving it an individuality. love the rice recipe.

    Shaheen, thank you so much — I am humbled. Hope you’ll try this one sometime πŸ™‚

  12. Anu said

    Hi Linda, That looks really good. Thank you for visiting my site. I love the idea of making the lentils and rice together.

  13. Kalyani said


    Horse gram is also said to reduce weight if taken regularly!!

  14. ayesha said

    kulthi ki kut is also very tasty recipe made with horse gram .

    • Sameera Ali said

      Assalamlaikum Ayesha!

      Can you please give me the recipe for kulthi ki kut!

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

  15. Sounds yummy to me! I have horse gram in my pantry….untouched for about a year. You almost forced me to make it! The photos are so tempting!

    First time to ur blog! Will swing by often!

    Hi Malar and welcome — thanks for your kind comments! Hope to see you around often πŸ™‚

  16. lavanya said

    this is the first time to ur blog. it is great. i am put up in uk. will i get horsegram over here. does it have any other name.pls let me know.

    bye. Will swing by very often!

  17. Malar Elangovan said

    Thanks for your recipe. It was awesome. My husband hates horse gram but today he liked it a lot and asked for more. I added some more veggis to it like carrots and radishes and it turned out good.

    I’m so happy you both enjoyed! Carrots and radishes would be great, yes πŸ™‚

  18. Grace said

    Your photos look amazing. I have a suggestion for cooking horsegram. Please do not soak it, or else it won’t cook well. If you want to cook it well, wash it (remove stones -even the ones that we get in the indian store has lot of annoying mud/stones in it) and pressure cook until it whizziles once or twice and then simmer in low flame for about 20-30 minutes!

  19. Grace said

    I mean instead of soaking overnight, directly pressure cook.

  20. Santhosh said

    I take it regularly.It’s tasty & more gives much energy, without the fear of fat,cholesterol etc. It’s an ideal food for Athletes & Sports persons and for those take comparatively heavier exercises.

  21. Santhosh said

    Firstly, cook soaked horse gram in pressure cooker with some meat masala or garam masala.then half-fry some onion chips and coconut chips in coconut or sunflower oil, and then add the boild hose gram.It willbe very much tasty.

  22. daksh said

    you can also sprout horse gram and have it,…its highly nutrious

  23. parimal said

    what is call in gujarati ( Horse Gram)????

    • hasu patel said

      Have you find any gujarati word for horse grain? Can we get it in USA indian grocery store?

      Thank you

      • ela said

        You get in indian grocery shop. swad brand is there..brown lentils or horse gram.

  24. Vasantha said

    pic sure looks yummy. I heard horsegram helps in reducing weight. Is it true? could anyone reply?

  25. reshma said

    Yes it will help in reducing weight…

  26. reshma said

    Gujarati word – Ulava

  27. Wow, nice to see so much new information about wonderful horsegram — thank you all! πŸ™‚

  28. joanne said

    where can I buy Kollu?? I live in Old Forge,Pa. Can’t find a close store that carries any Indian food. My son is a student at SCAD has educated me with this culture of food thats so good for you. I am so eager to trythese recipies

    Joanne, try one of the online Inidian grocers – Google has many πŸ™‚

  29. Aditi said

    hi Linda, I tried this recipe last night, and it came out to be delicious! Even my non-rice-eating husband loved it, and went for second and third helpings πŸ™‚ I probably made it bit too tangy and not spicy enough, but next time, more mirchi πŸ™‚

    Hi Aditi, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Of course it’s not my recipe but Indosungod’s — check her blog Daily Musings, I linked it in the post πŸ™‚ This is my go to remedy for colds now — never can go wrong with a bit more heat yes? πŸ™‚

  30. leena ekka said

    wtz price of kulit dal in market?

  31. EzCookbook said

    Hey thats a completely new style and new taste of horse gram.. A unique combination..I will definately try this..thanks

  32. mariamnaveed54 said

    ‘kulit chutney’ my mom always had in her menu … And we loved it ….but just today i know it’s called HORSE GRAM.. Great…atleast now it is easier for me to search in the supermarkets in kuwait… thanks a lot.. Bless you…

  33. coralcrue said

    superb recipe! i was just looking for some recipes with horse gram incorporated into it. this is just perfect! thank you so much

  34. Lynne said

    I live in UK and would like to know where I can buy Horse Gram ….. Thank you

    Hi Lynne, I imagine you can find horsegram in any Indian store. Best wishes!

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