Sunday, June 29, 2008
kuTTunDe/chigLi (imli ki goli)
Here's the second of my 'Tamarind' series. I bet every place in India has its own version of this..should I call it a 'dish'?, no it's more like a candy. Long forgotten, it symbolizes a girl's childhood. Sadly, not anymore... though it may still exist in some rural places. Known as kuTTunDe in Kannada, it is the rustic version of the commercial sugar-coated Malaysian tamarind toffees available in Food World etc., kuTTu = pound and unDe = ball, hence the name, as the process of making it involves pounding tamarind with spices and condiments. It is also known as 'chigLi' in some parts of Karnataka. As suggested in my post on Tamarind, making this justified stealing the ingredients from the kitchen in my childhood days. We friends would get one ingredient each, find a safe, 'clean' place and stone for pounding them and get to action. The final product would then be divided among all, rolled up into balls and stuck on the back of spoons or ice-candy sticks and Voila! our savory lollipops would be ready. Compared to those, current day lollipops SUCK.
Even today when I wanted to make it, I had to resort to 'thieving', if you can call it that. I had all the ingredients on hand, there was no need to steal any of those. What I did not have was a mortar and a pestle for pounding. So, I picked up a smooth oblong stone from below some plants on the lawn of a shop as I was walking along the sidewalk. After thoroughly scrubbing and washing it with soap, it was all ready to pound away. What I thought to be very easy, took me really some time to complete. As kids what we would achieve in no time, today took me several taste tests and more than 1/2 an hour to get there. Finally, it turned out as good as it used to be. Tangy and spicy... totally heavenly! Please do share with me your version of this treat. I would love to hear it all!
Tamarind, one Lemon sized. Remove the seeds and the fibrous veins.
Salt, to taste
Jaggery, a little less than the tamarind
Chilli Powder, to taste
Cumin Seeds, 1 teaspoon
Oil, 1/2 a teaspoon
1. Using a mortar and pestle(if you dont have one, use a stone and a hard surface), pound together the cumin seeds, salt and chilli powder until coarse.
2. Then add the jaggery and tamarind and pound with one or two drops in between, until everything comes together and feels soft and smooth.
Adjust the ingredients to desired taste.
3. Divide the whole lump into small portions and roll out smooth balls of desired sizes.
4. Stick them on spoon handles or sticks and lick away to glory.
5. Beware of getting addicted!