I am running yet another Blogging Marathon, an initiative of Srivalli that is immensely popular and currently in its sixth edition.
The theme that I have chosen for this week is Regional Specials.....and I will be focusing on recipes from the state of Karnataka.
When I moved from Chennai to Bangalore two months back, I was looking forward to eating all the lovely stuff that I had seen on several blogs - ragi mudde, akki rotti and the like. However, I soon found that these could not be found in restaurants. I have seen akki rotti in some restaurant menus, but most of the time they say that it is not available. When I went on a short vacation to Coorg, I specifically looked for a place that would serve typical Coorgi meals. Imagine my horror when I found that they served puri bhaji for breakfast instead of the umpteen Karnataka dishes they could have chosen from. The next day I asked them to make akki rotis and the cook looked at me as if he thought I was crazy. He did make it for me, though, and it was quite good. It would have been infinitely better if he had served it with the red chutney which I've read about in some blogs instead of the coconut chutney I had to make do with.
Anyway, the point of this whole rant is that I have decided that I want to eat good Kannadiga food and if the hotels won't serve it, I have to cook it myself, don't I? And that is exactly what you will see me doing for the next seven days. Most of these dishes, I have not tasted before or seen - so the methods I use may not be authentic and the final product may not look as it is supposed to. Do feel free to point me in the right direction.
Nothing says Karnataka to me as loudly as Ragi mudde......and this is the first dish I have made for the marathon. Ragi mudde is nothing but ragi cooked in lightly salted water until it turns thick enough to be rolled into a ball. The source of this recipe is my maid Sunita. She and I communicate in a manner that will sound very weird to an onlooker. She speaks Kannada while I talk to her in a mixture of Tamil, Hindi and sign language.
What you need:
Ragi flour - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup + 1.5 cups
Rice - a fistful, cooked in plenty of water (I used matta rice)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter - 1 teaspoon heaped
Take a cup of ragi flour in a large vessel. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like eating what to my mind was a sticky ball of ragi.....so I made sure I used the smallest glass I have at home.
Add a cup of water to this and mix until it forms a smooth mixture with no lumps.
Heat the remaining water in a thick bottomed kadai. Add salt and the cooked rice (along with any excess water in which it was cooked) to this. Let it come to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and add the ragi mixture to this, stirring continuously so that it does not form any lumps. You will see the mixture thickening almost immediately. Stir well and then cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and now it is time for some vigorous stirring. Add a blob of butter and start stirring the mixture until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. On low heat this takes about 10-12 minutes. Let it cool until it becomes warm to the touch. Roll into orange sized balls.
I ate this dunked in sambar
while my daughter ate hers with vegetables on the side.
Tasted good both ways.
What I think of the dish:
Like I said in the beginning, though I have heard quite a bit about ragi mudde, I have neither seen it nor tasted it before. I wasn't very sure about how appetising this was going to be. Now that I have made it, I can tell you that it tasted really good and was comfortably filling too. The texture is velvety smooth and easy on the palate. Kids are sure to love it because they have very little work to do in terms of chewing. The smell of ragi being cooked is something that I have always loved; and the nutty, earthy aroma is even more pronounced in this dish as it is cooked for such a long time.
I can easily see this replacing rice at least once a week for lunch.
Note: Sunita had asked me to add a fistful or raw rice to the water and to let it boil until the rice was cooked. As I used matta rice which takes a long time to cook, I pressure cooked it first and then added it to the water.
The end product is quite stickly. So it is best to wet your hands before shaping the mixture into balls.
Do check out the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking.