Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Indian cuisine boasts of a variety of flat-breads/tortillas in the form of roTTi/roTis, chapatis and parathas. Each kind of roTTi gets its name by the flour used to make it. Like, for example, akki roTTi is made from rice flour, joLada roTTi is made from jowar/sorghum flour, ragi roTTi is made from finger millet flour, godhi roTTi(chapati/phulka) is made from wheat flour... so on and so forth... Eaten with different kinds of palyas(subzis), the roTTi forms an essential part of the Indian diet, along with rice. I present hereby the first of my series of roTTis. The Akki Rotti.
Before I divulge into further details I would like to dedicate this post to my long-out-of-touch friend, Rupali. When during my first visit to the USA, we were in Salt Lake City, Utah, she was my good friend there. We definitely had some wonderful times together.... festivals, movies, malling, girl-talks, pregnancy!!!, I even gave her a hair cut once(which was a disaster!!) etc., and FOOD was like the common factor in all that. She taught me a lot of North Indian stuff and I taught her the South Indian stuff. The one thing that I never came about teaching her was this Akki roTTi. It just did not happen.... :-( . This one here is for you Rupali, and for all the wonderful times we've had together. Hope you will read it and like it too...
A malnad speciality, these roTTis made from rice flour are well worth all the effort that goes into making them. Suganya of Tasty Palettes describes Idlis as "pillows of heaven" Going by those standards, I won't be exaggerating if I call these roTTis "Angels Blankets". hee hee.. They are white, soft and fluffy, and taste heavenly. They dont have a taste of their own, i.e., they are bland tasting...hence rendering them a perfect match for a myriad of side dishes both veg and non-veg. The most popular veggie side dish for akki roTTi or joLada roTTi for that matter, is "badnekaayi-yennegaai" palya (brinjal curry)and shenga chutney puDi(spicy peanut powder). But the roTTi has zero complaints even if you consume it with a simple coconut chutney. Other good recommendations that go wonderfully well with akki roTTi, would be capsicum palya, tondekaayi palya, kaaLu huLi(mixed legumes sambar) etc., When I took these pictures, I had made tonDekaayi (Ivy gourd)and capsicum palya. So, here it is, Akki roTTi with shenga chutney puDi and tonDekaayi-Capsicum palya. Phew.... :-) Enjoy!!!
There is one more thing I would like to add here... when I was making the dough, my son looked at it and said, "amma, it looks just like snow". So to amuse him, I made a snowman with the dough :-) here is a pic of that one too....
Now, for the recipe......
Ingredients for the roTTi:
1 cup Rice flour(you can make approx 6 rottis with 1 cup of rice flour)
A pinch of salt
2 cups Water
Rice flour for dusting while rolling out the rottis
Method for the roTTi:
1. In a vessel, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to it.
2. Add the rice flour in a heap. Do not disturb. Continue boiling for another 2 minutes. Close a lid on the vessel and switch off the heat.
3. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the lid, and with a spatula(preferrably wooden), mix in the rice flour into the water, with steady stirring motions. Take care not to form any lumps.
5. When cool enough to handle, bring the dough together to form one big mass. Divide into equal portions. Roll each portion between your palms and form smooth balls. Keep them covered.
6. Take each ball and using a rolling pin roll it out into thin flat rounds on a flat surface. Use rice flour as needed for dusting, to prevent it from sticking. This is just like making chapatis/phulkas.
7. Once you are done rolling out all the roTTis, heat a girdle and cook the roTTis one at a time. Put the rolled out roTTi on the hot girdle and leave it undisturbed until bubbles appear. Flip it over. Again, leave it undisturbed until it puffs up like a poori. You can press gently with a cloth at places where the hot air tends to escape, so as to aid puffing up. Remove any rice flour remaining on the girdle, using a cloth, before putting another rolled out roTTi.
8. Stack all the roTTis on a plate, slightly overlapping each other. Serve warm.
Ingredients for the palya:
(In case you have either one and not both the vegetables suggested here, go ahead and use just the one that is available. This palya tastes equally good made with either capsicum, or tonDekaayi or both together)
15(approx) tonDekaayis(Ivy gourd/tinDora/tenDli/donDakaaya)
1 big Capsicum
1 big Onion
1 teaspoon Tamarind concentrate(or equivalent amount of freshly extracted tamarind pulp)
2 teaspoons Jaggery powder
1/2 cup fresh(or frozen) grated Coconut
2 teaspoons huLi puDi(sambar powder, homemade or MTR)
6-8 Curry Leaves
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
A pinch of hing/asefoetida
A pinch of Turmeric powder
Oil for oggaraNe(taDka)
Salt to taste
Method for the palya:
1. Wash, trim and cut the tonDekaayi and capsicum into thin long strips. Also, cut the onions into long slices to match the tonDekaayi.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan.
3. Add, mustard seeds and let it sputter. Then, add the curry leaves and hing. Add the sliced onions and fry until translucent. Add the turmeric powder. Now, add the tonDekaayi and capsicum strips and stir. Add 1/2 a cup of water and salt. Cover and let it simmer until cooked.
4. While the veggies are simmering, grind into a fine paste the coconut, jaggery, tamarind and huLi puDi.
5. Add this paste into the pan, mix well and bring to a boil.
Ingredients for the Chutney pudi:
1 cup roasted, skinned peanuts/groundnuts
1/4 cup puTanNi (roasted chana dal)
1/4 cup grated dry coconut
1/4 cup roasted red chillies
2 teaspoons jaggery powder
1 inch piece tamarind
Salt to taste
Method for the Chutney puDi:
1. Grind all ingredients in a mixer to a coarse powder.
Well, thats that! seems like a laborious process. But, with a little planning it will be a very easy task. I usually prepare the palya and chutney puDi on fridays, and make the roTTis on Saturday mornings, keeping in mind my tradition of special, elaborate weekend breakfasts. Idli-Vade-Sambar, Rotti-Palya-Chutney puDi, Masale Dosay, Poori-Saagu, Chole-bhature etc., are some classic combinations that make weekend breakfasts really special. Speaking of combinations, our dear blogger pal Latha of Masala Magic is hosting the WBB event for August and "Combination Breakfasts " is the theme! So, this is my entry to the event.