May 14, 2007

Tandlya Roti Ani Lasnye Chitni (Rice Roti and Garlic Chutney)

Though I can speak Konkani, my mother tongue, very fluently, I am quite terrible at transliterating words. So, please bear with me.

Rotis made of rice flour are very popular in many parts of Karnataka. The Akki Roti of North Karnataka (something I will cover in a few weeks’ time) is quite famous, and very very tasty. The rice rotis of Saraswats are similar to the Akki-rotis of the Coorgis. (Not that I am expert. I just happen to have traveled across the state and sampled a lot of local food in the process.) Now, I am also told that this is made in Bengal too. Maybe all the rice eating regions have their own versions of rice rotis

This Amchi version is, again, something Amma didn’t make too often, but relished whenever she got a chance. I used to bring rice flour from Madras by the kilo as I had never seen it in stores here. The Spencer’s Hypermart has opened in Gurgaon and I get, among other south Indian things, Ambika Appalams, rice flour and L.G. Hing. Now that I get rice flour in the local market, I can stop using it so sparingly and make these rotis more often.

Rice Roti Ingredients:

250 g Rice Flour
¾ cup water
Salt to taste
A little rice flour for rolling

Bring the water and salt to boil in a vessel and add the rice flour, a little at a time. Keep mixing the mixture while cooking on a low flame. Add more or less rice flour depending on the consistency. Take this off the flame and keep mixing it. The dough must be soft and moist, yet not sticky or watery. Make small balls and roll them in generous amounts of rice flour. (Considerably more than what you’d use while making rotis or phulkas). Cook the rotis on a tawa without any oil. When one side is cooked, turn the roti around and press it with a piece of cloth so that it cooks evenly and puffs up. Serve with garlic chutney.

Garlic Chutney Ingredients:
3-5 pods Garlic
4-5 tbsp Grated Coconut
2-3 Red Chillies (More or less depending on taste and spice tolerance levels)
½ tsp Tamarind paste
Salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients together in a mixer using a little hot water. I usually add about ½ a tsp of Kashmiri Chilli powder for the colour.

Those of you who aren’t familiar with Saraswat cooking will realize through my blog that 75-80% of our cooking uses coconut. In fact, in Mangalore and other parts of Dakshina and Uttara Kannada districts, the status of a family is determined by the number of coconuts used per day. I tend to use about 2 coconuts every 3 months or so. Again, I use it sparingly, more out of need than health or other reasons. Amma keeps scraped coconut ready for me when I visit her and I store it for months in the deep freezer, taking out just the quantity I need. I don’t venture out attempting to buy coconuts locally and scrape them for my use. When I run out, I cook without it.

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