Breakfast, Dosas, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Akki Roti (Spicy Rice Pancake)

Akki roti served with chutney

My favorite in Kannada cuisine. It is a rice-based breakfast item, very similar to dosa. I love it for its mix of soft and crisp textures and the use of flavorful jeera, dill (a kind of herb that belongs to the parsley family), and coriander leaves.

Akki roti means rice pancake in Kannada. It is made by mixing boiling water in rice flour along with salt and kneaded well to make a soft dough. Chopped onions, crushed cumin seeds, coriander leaves, dill leaves, and curry leaves can be added while kneading the dough. Due to the sticky nature and thick consistency of the rice dough, instead of directly spreading it on to the tawa, it needs to be spread out on a banana leaf. At roadside stalls, I have seen thick aluminum foil/plastic sheets being used. I would not recommend this. Try to use banana leaf. Akki roti is best served hot and can be eaten along with sambar and/or chutney. A dash of butter or ghee with akki roti is also preferred.

Preparation Time – 10 mins
Cooking Time – 5 mins per piece
Makes 8-10 rotis

IngredientsIngredients:
Raw rice flour – 3 cups
Onion – 1 medium sized
Jeera – 1 tsp
Dill leaves – a handful (optional)
Coriander leaves – a handful
Curry leaves – leaves from 2 sprigs
Green chilies – 3
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup (optional)
Water – 1-1/2 cups
Salt to taste

Oil – 1 tsp per roti

To spread the roti:
Banana leaves or plastic sheets

DoughMethod 1:
Boil water in a pan. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat, add rice flour and salt into the pan a bowl. Mix the flour using a ladle until it becomes a smooth and firm round ball (similar to chapathi dough). Keep aside.
Chop onion finely. Crush jeera (this helps bring out the flavor). Clean and wash dill leaves, coriander leaves, and curry leaves and chop them finely. Slit the green chilies, remove the seeds, and chop finely. Add the chopped ingredients into the dough and mix well.

StepsWash banana leaf, wipe with a dry cloth, and smear oil on the dark green side. Take fistful of dough and make into a round ball. Place the round ball of dough on the banana leaf where the oil is smeared. Flatten the ball with your hands – in this case, wet your fingers with oil/water periodically to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Alternatively, you could place the dough between two well-oiled banana leaves and use a rolling pin to spread it. Before cooking, take off the banana leaf at the top. The spread out dough can have the thickness of a roti.

Akki rotiHeat an iron tawa and use an oil smeared cloth to smooth out the surface. Place the banana leaf on it, dough-side down. After a minute or so, when the leaf starts fading in color, carefully peel off the leaf. If you are using a plastic sheet, make sure the sheet doesn’t touch the tawa. Drizzle a tsp of oil and cook the roti on medium flame on both sides. Roll out the remaining dough and cook in a similar fashion. Serve with coconut chutney and/or Sambar.

 

One part of a banana leaf can be used to make 4-5 akki roti.

Akki Roti Method-2Method 2:
An alternative and easy way of making akki roti (more like a dosa) is to use normal water instead of boiling water and make the batter dilute as in a rava dosa/neer dosa batter. In this case, you need to use a ladle to pour and spread the dosa batter on the tawa. It would be ideal to close the dosa with a lid after the batter is spread out. Flip over after a minute and cook both sides. This method can be tried out when banana leaf is not available. The dosas made this way are thinner and retain softness for a longer time unlike akki roti, which is best eaten fresh.

Akki roti-2

The texture and taste of akki roti is unique when made in the traditional way, and I highly recommend trying it out.

Tips & Variations:

  • Before mixing water to the rice flour, add a 1 tsp of hot oil. Mix it in and then add water. This reduces the chewiness of the roasted roti.
  • You can also add roasted and coarsely ground peanuts to add some texture to the roti.
  • If you prefer some sourness, you can add some sour curd to the dough.
  • You can substitute rice with ragi and make ragi rotiRagi is rich in calcium, fiber, protein, iron and other minerals and hence a healthier choice than rice.
  • Instead of using rice flour, you can soak raw rice in water for 3-4 hours, grind it to a fine paste and make the roti. Turns out delicious and stays soft for long. The advantage of making akki roti from scratch is that you get to choose the type of rice and can use red rice or unpolished rice varieties for more nutrition.

 

Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin

Killu Kondattam (Rice Crisp Fries)

Coming up with good translations of traditional South Indian dishes is a huge challenge for me. The closest I can think of is Sun Dried Rice Crisp Fries. But that’s such a long name!

Killu vadaam served with curd rice

Kondattams (or Vadaam as some call it – the Va is pronounced briefly and the daaam is slightly longer) are made from gooey mixtures prepared by grinding rice (or some other grains) along with spices and passing the dough through a seva nazhi (a kind of press or extruder). These are then sun dried and fried before use. Some of them are made from cut vegetables boiled in salt water and then sun dried. Both versions taste very good and have long shelf life.

The other day the rice I made got overcooked and had too much kanji which refused to budge even after several attempts at draining it out. Newly harvested rice most often pose this problem. So I decided to make killu kondattam out of this rice. Add some chilly powder, salt, and asafetida to the overcooked rice and grind into a smooth paste in the mixer and that’s your dough for the killu kondattams. I am unable to come up with a proportion for this. It’s really is a matter of your taste.

Killu kondattam, as the name suggests, are made by scooping up a small portion of the dough in your hand and letting small round dollops of dough fall through on to a cotton cloth or a thick and clean plastic sheet.

Dollops left to dry in the sun

This is then sun dried until it hardens and there is no moisture left. These stay good for years and can be fried as and when required. Excellent accompaniment for rice, especially flavored rices such as tomato rice, lemon rice, or curd rice. Kondattam comes handy when you are too lazy to make a side dish (subzi accompaniment for rice). They are crispy and yummy. Try it out. You just cant stop at one.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Sweets

Thiruvathira Kali (Rice Halwa)

KaliThiruvathira Kali, a festival special, the sweet rice halwa, also a kind of dance that women in Kerala perform during the Thiruvathira festival and during Onam. I still remember the kali that my ashalaathu mami (neighbor) used to make. Mami is a sweet person and a terrific cook! My amma learned the recipe from her. Since amma and I love sweets, specially the ones made with jaggery, this recipe has been a favorite for both of us and we do not wait for Thiruvathira to satisfy craving.

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Raw rice (dry roasted and coarsely powdered) – 3/4 cup
Green mung dal (dry roasted and coarsely powdered) – 1/4 cup (optional)
Jaggery – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup

Thiruvathira KaliMethod:
Wash, dry, and then dry roast the raw rice and green mung dal separately until golden brown. Cool and grind coarsely using a mixer. Dissolve the jaggery in water. Strain to remove any impurities. The proportion of rice, jaggery, and water are 1:1:3. So if you are taking 1 cup of rice powder (+the optional roasted green mung dal powder), dissolve 1 cup of jaggery in 3 cups of water. An easy way of cooking kali is to mix the rice powder (+the optional roasted green mung dal powder) in the jaggery water, add cardamom powder and then pressure cook to a whistle. Turn off and then wait for the steam pressure to reduce. Open the cooker and you will see that the mixture is well cooked and thick with no trace of water. Add the ghee and grated coconut to the rice powder cooked in jaggery. Mix well.

You can cook this in a kadai also. Place the melted jaggery water on the stove and when it boils, add the powdered rice and mung dal and keep stirring. When the mixture thickens, add the ghee, cardamom powder, and grated coconut and mix well.

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Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, Side Dishes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Appam & Vegetable Stew

Mixed vegetables cooked in coconut milk and flavored with spices served along with soft and fluffy appams. A lip-smacking combo that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients:
Mixed vegetables (cauliflower, potato, carrot, peas, beans) cut in small cubes – 2 cups
(I used potato alone)
Onion (cut in long strips) – 2 Nos
Ginger (cut in long strips) – 1/2 inch piece
Water – 1 glass
Green Chillies slit – 4
Salt to taste
Grated coconut – 1 cup (You can add either coconut milk or finely ground coconut paste)

For seasoning:
Coconut oil : 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 stalks
Shallots – 5 nos
Elaichi pod – 2 nos (small ones)
Cloves – 4 nos
Tej patta – 1

Vegetable stew ingredientsMethod:
Put onion, potato, ginger pieces, slit green chillies along with water into a vessel. Cook until potatoes are tender. You can lightly mash the potatoes so that they blend well with the gravy. Grind the grated coconut into a fine paste and add to the cooked vegetables in the vessel. Boil for 2 minutes and turn off. Pour coconut oil (raw-do not heat) and add curry leaves. Mix well and serve with hot appams. The traditional veg stew recipe ends here.

Here is my improvisation to the seasoning of this veg stew. Heat a kadai and pour coconut oil. Add thinely sliced shallots, cloves, and cardamom. Saute till shallots turn golden brown. Add this to stew. Mix well and serve.

Instead of the grated coconut, you can use tinned coconut milk that is available in the market. If you are using coconut milk, ensure that you do not overheat it.

Appam

Ingredients:
Raw rice – 2 cups
Cooked rice : 1/2 cup
Grated coconut : 1 cup
Coconut water – of one coconut
Yeast – 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method for Batter:
Soak the rice in water for 4-5 hours. Grind the rice along with cooked rice and coconut to a smooth paste. While grinding, add only minimal water because you will need to add coconut water also. You could also add the coconut water while grinding the paste. Mix the yeast in half a glass of warm water and add that to this batter. Pour this mixture in a vessel leaving enough room for fermenting. Allow to ferment overnight. Add salt to taste and sugar to the batter and mix well with a ladle. The batter is ready to use.
Note: If you stay in colder regions, the batter may not ferment well overnight. Take care to keep the batter in a warm place for overnight fermenting.

Method for Appam:
Heat the wok or appam chatty (a vessel specially used for making appams). If the wok is not non-stick, you will need to smear oil on the wok using a clean cotton cloth. Keep fire in medium. Pour the appam batter into the hot wok.

Hold the wok on two ends and gently swirl the wok to spread the batter around making it thin around the edges and thicker in the middle.

A well-fermented batter will form small holes when spread.

Cover the wok with a lid and cook on medium flame till the edges are crisp.

The lacy edges will come off the wok when it is done.

Serve hot along with the veg stew.

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