Posts Tagged ‘south indian’

Maa Villakku

My ancestors are from the town of Nagapattinam – they were trustees of the Krishnar Kovil at Nagapattinam. About five generations ago, when Nagapattinam was beseiged by sea water ingress, and all land became barren and soaked in salt, my ancestors abandoned all property and the temple for the city of Srirangam to start a new life. In those days losing so much of property and wealth was considered a shame of great volumes and people quietly moved to another place to build a new identity.

Krishnar skipped almost four generations in popularity as “Kula Daivam” (concept similar to patron saint), often referred only in “thatha- paatti” (grandparents) stories of ancestors. For almost 130 years no one from the family visited the temple.

I am very happy to say that last week my sister in law Padma, my athai Komala and I visited Krishnar at Nagapattinam to peep in and say that we are still devoted to him. It was a wonderful journey and we were spell bound by the sculpture of Krishnar at Nagapattinam. I will do a detailed post on our journey soon.

We offered Maa Villakku to Krishnar – we used “Nattu Sakkarai” (a kind of yummy sugar) instead of Jaggery. Click here to see the recipe for Maa Villakku that I posted earlier.

I am linking to Maa Villakku recipe on the request of Gayatri who wanted it for Purattasi Sanikizhamai Balaji Puja (Puja to Lord Balaji on the saturdayof Purattasi month in Tamil Calendar).

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Ragi Rotti is another unleavened bread made in Karnataka. For previous ragi recipes from Karnataka refer to Ragi Mudde and Ragi Dosa.

Ragi Rotti
Ragi Rotti with Uchellu Podi


  • Ragi flour – 2 cups
  • Fresh Sabakki Soppu (Dill) or Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
  • Onions – 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
  • Water
  • Green chilly – 2 finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil


  1. Mix all ingredients except the Oil and knead into a smooth soft dough. The dough is a softer than Wheat flour Roti dough. Divide the dough into 2 inch diameter balls and set aside.
  2. Spread a plastic sheet/ banana leaf on a smooth surface. Grease with a drop of oil. Take a ball of the dough and pat into a round pancake of 6 inch diameter. Use a little oil to aid in patting the roti.
  3. Transfer to a skillet and cook both sides over a medium flame until the roti turns brown in colour.
  4. Repeat for the remaining dough.

Serve hot with Uchellu Podi, Green Tomato Chutney, Vethal Kozhambu or Gojju.

Asha, Ragi Rotti for RCI Karnataka.

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Long before the Green Revolution supplanted traditional crops with paddy and wheat across India, there was Ragi, Jowar and Bajra. Ragi, Jowar and Bajra were traditionally cooked up in a likes cakes, pancakes or unleavened breads especially in places whose natural constitution made only one crop of a water sucking variety like rice in a year possible. They constituted the much needed dietary fibre content in the Indian spread.

Ragi or Finger Millet is associated with the labour classes – in a typical feudal set up the lady of the master’s house prepared ragi based foods for the farmers who worked on their lands.

As a baby, I was a snob at the other end of the spectrum – I hated canned cereals preferring traditional Kanji or Porridge. No I wouldn’t settle for anything less than Ragi Malt – a concoction of Ragi, Jaggery and Milk that I was fed daily.

Fortunately, a generation after the Green Revolution made ragi “unfashionable”, the grain seems to be picking up pace as a health fad. Elaboration of Ragi’s goodness cannot be missed in modern media – superior in mineral and fibre content as compared to rice, a health grain for the diabetic, food that digests slowly, food that can be grown with environment friendly practices, food that is cooling – ragi is now being heralded as the “wonder grain”.

Kezhvaragu (in Tamil) or Ragi Dosa is a preparation from Kongunadu’s cuisine. Describing Kongunadu is difficult but you can vaguely think of it as the stretch from Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Pollachi to Erode, Salem and Dharmapuri.

Ragi Dosa
These Ragi Dosas are medium sized ones. You could pour batter to make larger dosas.

Here’s the recipe:

Preparation Time: 20 minutes (includes soaking), Cooking time: 5 minutes, Yield: 10 – 12 Dosas/ Pancakes


  • Ragi # – 2 cups
  • Grated Coconut – 1 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Fresh Coriander – 3 twigs
  • Curry Leaves – 4
  • Green Chilly – 1 no.
  • Jeera/ Cumin – 1tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 4 1/2 cups (approximately, this will vary with how much water the flour soaks)

*cups= 225ml, approximately 8 oz

# Ragi flour doesn’t stand for long – so I suggest buying in fresh small quantities for best results.


  1. Soak Ragi flour (Millet flour) in some warm water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Grind the Coconut, Green Chilly, Coriander, Curry Leaves, Jeera and Salt in a blender.
  3. Add this to the soaked Ragi flour (Millet Flour) and mix well. Add water to bring to Rava dosa batter consistency. Note: This will be somewhere between butter milk and dosa batter or fresh cream consistency.
  4. Dust a broad skillet or tawa with 1/2 tsp oil and heat it for 30 seconds. On a high flame pour the batter from outside towards inside to form a round. Cook on a high flame. Turn and cook the other side on a high flame. Reduce flame to low and turn and cook for a minute. Take out dosa on to serving plate.
  5. Repeat for remaining batter. Refer to Rava Dosa making technique to get lacy, crispy dosas.

Alternatively, one could make these like soft Uthappams

  • At step 3, mix water enough to bring to to dosa batter or fresh cream consistency.
  • Pour a ladle full in the center of a tawa on a medium flame. Cover and cook for 30 seconds on a medium flame. Repeat for remaining batter.

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother in law, Vasantha Ayyaswami – who makes many other dosas of Kongunadu in varying styles – having lived in Coimbatore for many years. So technically speaking, I have been introduced to this as part of Kongunadu’s cuisine.

But then I don’t see why people on the Karnataka side of the border would not be indulging in this Ragi delicacy. After all when I mixed the batter together, I was greeted by a very prominent almost musty smell of Malnad – if you have ever treated your nostrils to the fresh dew on earth from a mild early morning drizzle, you know what I am talking about. I must warn you that it’s a smell that refuses to go. 🙂

To further the argument, if you look at the ingredients closely, its almost like neer dose or pan pole. I can almost imagine obscure homes in remote bits of Shimoga cooking this up. For the record, google led me to one more person who seems to think of this as Pan Pole – Manjula at Dalitoy!!!

So Asha, do you think this could pass off as Ragi Pan Pole or Ragi Neer Dose?


Coming to think of it, I am sure your “toothless” Thatha must have savoured these besides the standard Mudde. 🙂

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Panchamrutham literally translates into five nectars – Pancha means “five” and amrutham means “nectar”. It is a sweet concoction prepared using five ingredients and is made during festive occasions and in all temples for abhisekham(ritual bathing of the representation of the divine) and prasaadam. The five ingredients used for making Panchamrutham vary – Banana, however, is ubiquitous. I haven’t come across a Panchamrutham that is served without Banana. Some of the other ingredients that take the place of the other four ingredients include milk, honey, jaggery, coconut, coconut water, raisins, dates, curd and sugar. Some versions of Panchamruthams include a medley of fruits like grapes, jackfruit and so on as one ingredient, making it almost a fruit salad. Panchamrutham is synonomous with Murugan Kovils (temples), served as prasaadam that is a mineral rich glucose sugar burst after devotees climb up the hill for a glimpse of God. Pachamrutham served at the Pazhani Swamy temple is considered to be the tastiest version. Conducting abhisekham (ritual bathing) with Panchamrutham is believed to bring wealth and prosperity.

Bananas for Panchamrutham

Banana – Rich and Pulpy

Panchamrutham (pronounced as “Panjamritham” colloquially)

Here’s the version that we prepare in our family:

Preparation time: 5 minutes, Cooking time: ZERO, Serves: 2


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Eat immediately or serve chilled.

*Measures of ingredients for Panchamrutham are never exact – this is a classic “kannalavu” (measured by the eye) dish. Unlike the photograph (which my daughter Lakshmi took) the ingredients are slightly mashed and overall Pachamruthams have a slightly squashed look.

Panchamrutham is my entry for JFI-Banana hosted by Mandira from Ahaar. Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) is a series started by Indira of Mahanandi that showcases recipes of one ingredient each month – this month’s theme is Banana.

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I have been preparing aavakkai (or avakkai) every summer for the last 25 years. But I have never measured the ingredients. Everything is kannalavu( measured by eye). The measure of salt depends on the sourness of the mango. Here I am giving exact measures as told by my sister in law Padma. This is my entry for Sunita’s Think Spice, Think Mustard event.

How to pick mangoes for Aavakkai?

Selecting the mangoes for Aavakkai is as important as the preparation itself. Buy firm and sour mangoes. Orange sized mangoes would be ideal( though mangoes are not exacly round) for the pickle. Take a large plastic sheet or some old cloth to spread on the ground while the mango is being cut. Ensure the mangoes are washed and wiped dry before cutting. The inner shell should remain intact. All this will help you to make Aavakai that lasts long. Get the mangoes cut into 1 inch pieces.


Aavakkai with Oil on top for preserving. Oil riseson top after a couple of days. While serving oil should be drained.


  1. Raw mangoes – 1 kg
  2. Mustard seeds – 150 grams
  3. Red chilli powder – 150 grams(MTR is good)
  4. Salt – 150 grams
  5. Sesame oil – 250 grams
  6. Kabuli channa – 100 grams(optional)


  1. Purchase and get the mangoes cut as per instructions mentioned above.
  2. Spread the cut mangoes on a plate, wipe each piece with a clean white cloth.
  3. Grind mustard to a fine powder. Mix salt, chilli powder and mustard powder.
  4. In a dry Tupperware or glass container, place some mango pieces and spread some mixed powder, channa and pour some oil.
  5. Repeat this with remaining ingredients. Mix with a large laddle.
  6. In two days the oil will rise up. While serving drain the oil. The pickle should always have a layer of oil floating at the top .

Guntur chilli powder gives the exact flavour and taste. You can also get the chillies freshly ground in a mill if you are making large quantities.

You can increase the chilli powder as per taste.


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Huli Anna

Hulianna for me is similar to puliyogere. There is a slight difference in preparation. Aaruni’s recipe goes like this.


  • Rice – 2 cups
  • Tamarind – 2 lemon sized balls
  • Coriander seeds – 1 table spoon
  • Channa dal – 1 table spoon
  • Urad dal – 2 teaspoons
  • Jeera/ Cumin – 1 teaspoon
  • Methiseeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Red chillies – 4 nos + 2 nos for seasoning
  • Groundnuts 2 tablespoons
  • Curry leaves – 2 twigs
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil – 2 table spoons
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

*cups= 225ml or 8oz.


  1. Wash and cook the rice with 4 cups water so the the grains are separate.
  2. Soak tamarind in warm water and squeeze adding required amout of water to make 1 and 1/2 cup thick pulp.
  3. In 1 teaspoon oil roast coriander seeds, channa dal, urad dal, jeera, hing, redchillies and methi seeds till golden.
  4. Grind the roasted ingredients to a fine powder.
  5. In a kadai heat 1 table spoon oil and add the mustard seeds.
  6. When it crackles add red chillies cut into small pieces.
  7. Once the redchillies is brown add curry leaves and fry for a minute.
  8. Add the tamarind pulp and cook for a few minutes on low flame till the oil rises up.Add salt and turmeric powder and cook for 1 more minute.
  9. Roast the ground nuts in the MW or in a kadai and remove the skin.
  10. In a shallow dish, spread the cooked rice and sprinkle the remaining oil. Add the powder, tamarind pulp and groundnuts and mix with a *thuduppu with out breaking the rice grains.
  11. Serve with sandige (papads/ vattals) or aloo chips. Good dish to take for travel and picnics.

* Thuduppu is a flat laddle used to turn dosas.

For Mysore Style puliyogere

If we use sesame seeds and dry coconut and leave out jeera/ cumin the same recipe will be Mysore Style puliyogere.

Asha was desperately waiting for this recipe! I hope this matches her expectations. This is my next entry for RCI Karnataka!


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Jowar or Sorghum is widely grown in dry areas with scanty rainfall. It is used in many parts of India to make rotis or unleavened bread following different methods. I am posting the method followed by Kannadigas that Aaruni shared with me. Jolada Rotti or Jonna Rotte is a zero oil bread cooked extensively in Northern parts of Karnataka.

Niger seeds are called Uchellu in Kannada and are used to make a powder used as an accompaniment to all the breads.

Niger Seeds – Uchellu

Uralikaalu (huralikaalu) or Horse Gram is combined with Niger seeds to make the powder.
Uralikaalu or Horse Gram
This is my next entry for RCI Karnataka hoted by Asha of Foodie’s Hope.


Jolada Rotti/ Jowar Roti/ Sorghum Roti with Uchellu Podi (Niger Seeds Powder)

For the Uchellu podi (Huchellu Podi)



  1. Dry roast the urulikaalu (horse gram) on a low flame you smeall an aroma. Add jeera and roast for a minute more and take out on a plate.
  2. Roast the uchellu (niger seeds) on a low flame till it crackles. Take out on the same plate with roasted urulikaalu (horsegram).
  3. Roast the red chillies it it turns dark brown. Take out on the same plate.
  4. Wash and wipe the curry leaves and dry roast till dry.Tranfer to the plate.
  5. When all ingredients are cool, add salt and grind to a fine powder in a mixie.
  6. Store in an air tight container. Tastes good with all rotis and dosas.

Patting to form the Jolada Rotti/ Jowar Roti/ Sorghum Roti

For the Jolada rotti (Jowar Roti)


  • Jowar flour – 2 cups+ 2 tablespoons for rolling
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Water – 2 cups


  1. Bring water to boil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Add the salt and sprinkle the flour evenly . After a minute stir and mix well.
  3. Once the flour absorbs all the water take off the flame and knead to form a ball. Divide into 2 inch balls.
  4. On a plate sprinkle some flour, take a lemon sized ball and press to form a round. Start pressing with your palm moving the roti in a circular direction to form a thin round like chapathis. You could alternatively roll using a rolling pin.
  5. Remove excess flour on the rotti with a cloth and cook both sides on a medium flame in a tawa. An evenly made thin roti puffs up.
  6. Serve hot uchellu podi and avarekaalina (field beans) saaru (lentils gravy).

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