Sunday, March 22, 2009

Upma Kozhakattai with Thuvaiyal

Upma Kozhakattai served with Thuvaiyal

This is a hurried entry to my own event. Funnily enough, I was so enamoured by the beautiful entries that people have sent in, I nearly forgot about sending my own entry.
Upma Kozhakattai-now what kind of confusion is this? Upma is a mainstay breakfast in most Indian homes and Kozhakattai is something that Tamilians offer to our beloved Lord Ganesha to keep him happy. Upma Kozhakattai is none of these. This is a fine example of 'saatvic' food. Check out what 'saatvic' means here. As I write this, a doubt arises in my mind as to does food cease to be saatvic if it has chillies, even though the end result is not at all spicy.

My grandma used to make this one, once in 3 months or so- making it one of my favourite tiffins. (You get the drift? The rarer it's made, the more it's liked- or as goes the saying-familiarity breeds contempt) The common fellows like Idli, Dosai, Upma used to fall in the second category. I guess grandma would soak, dry and then grind the rice to obtain the base for making this dish. In today's times, the above three steps are replaced by these three steps-a visit to the supermarket, pick up a packet of idli-rava, pay for it!

Upma-Kozhakatti is steamed rice flour balls with a bit of seasoning and coconut. This is served with a lentil-coconut spicy and sour chutney. A small chunk of jaggery is sometimes kept inside these balls, so that you bite into a sweet surprise in the center.

Kozhakattai ready to be steamed

What you'll need:
1.5 cups Idli Rava
2-3 small dried red chillies
2 T grated fresh / frozen coconut
1 tsp udad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
a small piece of jaggery
Water to cook the rava is used in proportion of 1:3, for one cup idli rava, use 3 cups water
1 tsp oil
1 1/2 tsp of salt/ salt to taste

1.Heat 1 tsp oil in preferably a large non-stick wok. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add the udad dal and fry till golden brown, and then saute the dried red chillies and asafoetida for a few seconds.

2.To this, add 4 1/2 cups of water. In the water, put in the coconut, jaggery and salt. Bring it to a rolling boil.

3. Keep the flame on sim, and add the idli rava little by little with oonstant stirring to avoid any lump formation. Stir the rava for 5-6 minutes like how you would make an upma. All the water must get absorbed and the resulting mass shouldn't stick to your fingers.

4. Remove the 'upma' onto a big dish / thali and cool off for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, take a big handful of upma and shape it into ovals / spheres. You will get roughly 14-15 such kozhakattais from 1 1/2 cups of flour. Arrange this in a steamer and steam them for 10 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

5. Serve hot with lentil-coconut-tamarind chutney and a nice cuppa 'extra strong' filter coffee. Don't forget to play some old Tamil songs in the background togive that finishing touch to the atmosphere.

You would find this recipe in any of the Udipi hotels, so the only way to experience this bliss of a breakfast is to make it yourself

For the Thuvaiyal:
1.Heat some oil in a pan. Splutter some mustard seeds, add 2 T of bengal gram lentils (chana dal), 2 T of udad dad (split black gram lentils), 4 dried red chillies. Saute till the dals are golden brown. Add a pinch of asafoetida. Remove from flame and cool.
2.In a chutney grinder, place 1 cup grated coconut, 1 tsp softened tamarind, 1 tsp of jaggery, the sauted mix, salt to taste. Grind till the mixture is fine.
3.You can do a tempering with mustard seeds and curry leaves to this chutney after you remove it into a bowl.
This chutney goes very well with most other South Indian tiffins like Idli , Dosai and Adai.


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