Back to basics! What is the difference between Thovve and Kattu Saaru? For the non-Kannadigas, both of these are forms of simple tadka dal. The main difference is in the texture. Thovve is thick and Kattina Saaru/ Kattu Saaru is thin, like saaru (rasam-like consistency). The basic thovve generally has mustard seeds and hing tadka with green chillies, curry leaves and salt. In the Kannadiga brahmin world, most occasions like festivals & weddings will have thovve in this basic form. You have a bit of it with rice and ghee and that's how you begin the feast! Cilantro and lime juice are optional ingredients here. "Kattu" is the dal broth. Cooked, mashed toordal is also called kattu. Kattina Saaru uses dal broth and water and is therefore more watery, like rasam. It has some additional ingredients like cumin, crushed pepper, lime juice & chopped cilantro.
Toor Dal 1 cup
1/2 tsp tumeric
Water - 3 cups
salt to taste
Cilantro (chopped, for garnish)
1 tsp oil
Green chillies - 3 (or to taste)
Boil dal with water and turmeric until soft. Do the tadka, add salt and garnish with cilantro. That's it! Told ya, simple dal! :)
The recipe for kattu saaru is pretty similar to thovve. Whisk the cooked dal so it's well mashed. Add more water while cooking the dal and/or add water to the already cooked dal, to make it broth-like. Bring to a boil. Do the tadka with all the ingredients listed for thovve plus cumin seeds and ground pepper. You may want to add more chilies for heat. Finish with salt, chopped cilantro and lemon/lime juice.