Spiced Yogurt with Rice Balls ( Kadhi Chawal with a Twist )
Technology has changed the way we perceive food. Exposure to various TV channels, YouTube videos and mobile Apps has elevated the entire dining experience from a mundane level that merely seduced the taste-buds to an exotic gastronomic level that tickles one's imagination with terms like molecular gastronomy and food degustation being thrown at us with alarming regularity. Easy availability of exotic ingredients and equipment has further fueled this experimentation process.
If you been a part of the blogging journey since the early days, it will be easy for you to make out the general shift in the way I play with my food. From doing pretty traditional and often obscure Odia recipes, I have graduated to giving them a makeover. The Chuda Ghasa parfait for example, is one such traditional dish that I deconstructed and transformed into a layered dessert that can be loosely termed as a parfait. One of my leading inspirations has been chef Vikas Khanna and one of his television series in which we gives an innovative twist to traditional recipes.
Kadhi Chawal is a yummy light yogurt based gravy that is simmered with pakodas ( deep fried gram flour fritters ) and paired with exquisitely aromatic Basmati rice. With the 'meal in a bowl' theme running though my mind and given my desire to assuage my craving for this dish at any time during the day, I started experimenting quite a bit. After a few not so savory outputs, I hit upon the right combination. In this particular recipe rice is transformed into crisp vegetable and rice balls that I serve on a bed of slightly chilled yogurt gravy. And best part is that it can be garnished and passed off as some exotic kind of snack. One can barely guess what goes into it until one has taken a good bite of it. It takes a group encounter with the tantalizing sour-sweet yogurt, the fragrant rice grains and the crisp veggies for one to realize that one is but meeting an old ally in a fascinatingly new avatar.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 25 mins
For the Kadhi -
- 1 cup dahi
- 2 tsp besan
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1-2 finely chopped green chili
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- a pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
- a sprig of curry leaves
- 2 Kashmiri chilis
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 cup cooked rice ( use a sticky and aromatic variety like Gobindobhog )
- 1 cup finely chopped veggies ( carrots, green peas, french beans, spring onions )
- 1/4 cup mashed potato ( I prefer the newly dug out ones that are sticky )
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 2 pinch garam masala
- salt to taste
- 4 tsp oil for cooking rice balls in a appam pan
In another mixing bowl, add all the ingredients (except for oil) mentioned for the rice balls. Mix and mash lightly till it come to a stage where the mixture can bind together. Divide into small portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Cooking - Transfer the yogurt mixture to a wok and bring to boil on a medium flame. Once it starts bubbling, let it simmer for a few mins before removing from the flame.
Meanwhile, take 1 tsp oil in a tadka pan. Add the Kashmiri chili, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, immediately remove from the flame, cover and keep aside for 5 mins. Strain the oil which would have imbibed all the flavors and pour it over the kadhi. Pop it into the fridge to chill for a while.
Heat a non-stick appan pan. Pour a little oil in each hole. Place the rice balls gently into the holes taking care not to splash the hot oil onto your hands. Turn after a few minutes and cook to an even brown color on all sides. Remove from the pan and place on plate.
Serve the crisp and hot rice balls on a bed of chilled kadhi. Do not forget to garnish with some chopped cilantro and a dash of amchur (if you need that extra kick).
It was quite a co-incidence that even as I was putting the final touches to my recipe and looking to share it on my social media channels, I stumbled upon a post that immediately grabbed my attention. A exciting venture by my food inspiration Vikas Khanna, and my favorite food and travel writer cum host Vir Sanghvi was staring at my face. Check out this video to learn what's cooking between the two -
As I went through the video, I realized that my adventures with food might just be the tip of an iceberg. There are limitless avenues to be explored and new dimensions of taste to be developed. If you share the duo's passion for food, you can also share some interesting tale of your experiments with food on the website HERE. It might have been some necessity that drove you to concoct something extraordinary out of the mundane or maybe it was just a stroke of pure genius, you never know what might please the judges. Who know's it might just be your lucky day and you could get a chance to feature in a video with the food visionaries.