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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jhili (Or Jhiliya) (A very Odia legacy)

None of us are above greed. It exists in each one of us to some extent. While it is easier to recognise it when it exerts itself in more obvious ways, but it also affects some very sublime decisions that we may take. For example, the typical Odia fare from western Odisha is very much frugal and is devoid of spices like cardamom, saffron and rich nuts like almond and pistachio. But in our quest (greed) for a better taste makes us skip the indigenous ingredient and lean in favour of something more exotic.

I remember from my conversations with my grandmother that the green cardamom was a very late entrant into her kitchen. Bay leaves, peppercorn and cinnamon were the most popularly used flavoring agents. But over a period of time, cardamom became an intergal part of every sweet dish/mutton curry. Indigenous nuts like the peanut and charoli were overtaken by cashews and pistachios. In fact a lot of ingredients that we use today have slowly crept into our menu over the decades and have become firmly rooted over time.

I was ruminating over the indigenous Vs foreign debate last week when I suddenly remembered this dish cooked by my grandmother. A fitting tribute to the frugal yet delectable Odia cuisine, I decided to make it minus any adaptations (Read condensed milk, cardamom, cashews, and so on). Read on for the recipe -




















Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -


  • 2/3 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup boiled rice
  • 1 liter milk
  • powdered jaggery as per taste
  • bay leaves for flavoring
  • a little bit of salt


Preparation - Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours. Drain the water and transfer it to a mixer. Grind into a smooth but thick batter (like Bara/vada batter or even thicker).

Cooking - Boil 3-4 liters water in a wide mouthed pot till it gets to the full boil stage. Pass the batter through a seive and let it fall into the boiling water. It will form thin elongated shapes or globules depending on the size of the holes and the thickness of batter.

Let it cook for 5-6 mins. Then drain the hot water and transfer the tiny globules it into cold water (abt 1 liter) . Let it languish for 15-20 mins or till it firms up.

Add milk to the mixture and put it on boil. Throw in the bay leaves.

Once the milk has sufficiently reduced,  add the jaggery. Boil it for some more time.

Switch off the burner and let it cool. It tastes good when at room temperature and even better if consumed the next day ( do not forget to refrigerate ).

Stays good for 3-4 days.




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