Badi Chura ( Revisiting those memories of communal living )

"Living like chickens packed into a coop yet so much disconnected from each other. I miss living in Rourkela", I mentioned to Mom in one of my everyday rants. As most people in Bangalore, I too live in a closed society where I barely get to know the person living next door. One just about manages a shadow of a smile when one bumps into a familiar face in the common areas. Of course there are the occasional 'Hi's' and 'hello's' and the once in a year gathering at the kid's B'day party. But that just about sums up the level of socializing with one's neighbors.

Coming back to the conversation I was having with my Mom, it all started when she mentioned laying a small batch of 'Badi's' or lentil dumplings which are sun dried and stored for usage throughout the year. It kind of took me by surprise as I had always known Mom to make these huge batches that involved soaking and grinding up to 3-4 kg of black lentils or 'biri'. The terrace would be swept/washed clean, a large number of bamboo mats would be spread out over the area and old cotton sarees/ bedsheets ( sanitized ones ofcourse ) would be placed over the mats. Ladies from 3- 4 neighboring houses would pack off the kids and husbands, and then gather at one particular house. They usually made teams of two. Working furiously, they would lay 'badis' of various sizes and seasonings ( rasi, kakharu manjee, badam, khaee ) over the sheets. It usually took 2-3 hours to finish a particularly big lot. Once done, they would sit back and relax over tea and a long conversation. Finally, they would decide the house and the date for laying the next lot before taking leave. 

I happened to remind Mom about this ritual which has remained fresh in my memory despite the intervening years. In response to my query, she sighed sadly and smiled at the same time. If you have grown up looking at someone for the major part of your life, you can instinctively pick up the slightest nuances in their voices. Even when separated by a distance of over a thousand kilometers. "Most of your aunties are in Bangalore or abroad. They have gone there to look after their grandchildren as both the parents happen to be working. And now I am too old to manage a large batch all by myself", she told me. Whether it was my conscience working overtime or did I just pick up a hint of an accusation in her voice ? "Four years of engineering and six years of work experience with one of the top MNC's , and yet she chooses to give it up to look after a kid ? What a waste !", I could almost hear my relatives and neighbors telling her. 

It is no easy job to bring up a kid. And in no way is it any less satisfying. I am proud to be a hands-on Mom but a little bit of encouragement from the family never hurts. It felt bad momentarily but then I chose to focus on the latter part of her statement. If she did not have the energy to manage laying a big batch of 'badis', how could she have managed a toddler with incredibly high energy levels ? I regularly encounter old people picking and dropping off their grand kids at school. I can feel their sadness which comes from missing the easy camaraderie with which they have spent the better part of their lives. I can sense their hunger to strike a conversation with anyone who has the time to spare. Sadly, time is a luxury that most working people cannot afford to spare. And that includes their very own children. But I stopped myself from bringing it up at the last moment. I could not add to the sense of sadness that she already felt.

Today, when I was making some badi chura for lunch, I could not help but recall this bit of conversation. So much has changed over the years. 'Badi' making has moved out of our homes and has now become a small scale industry  as these days most people buy their stock of 'badis' from the markets. And slowly even the 'badi' is being edged out of the regular Odia menu by new and more innovative recipes.

Sharing a simple and very tasty 'Badi Chura' recipe with a view to keep the traditional 'authentic odiya food' alive -



















Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup Badi
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green chilis
  • a sprig of cilantro
  • a dash of mustard oil
  • salt to taste
  • more oil for frying the badis



Preparation - Heat a skillet. Drizzle oil over it and add the badis. Fry on low heat they they turn golden with a few brown spots.

Once done, remove and keep aside to cool down.

Take the crisp badis and crush then lightly using any heavy object. Keep aside.

Chop the onions, garlic and green chilis into small pieces. Crush together. Finally add the crushed badis to it. Sprinkle salt and mustard oil. Crush a little more as you mix everything together.















Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately to prevent it from turning soggy.

Note - One can also use the chutney jar from one's mixer grinder to crush everything together. But that gives a different taste and texture. 

Comments

  1. Been there. Heard that 😉. I miss childhood and our neighbours mingling together too 😢

    ReplyDelete
  2. We are definitely missing a very integral part of our root,the culture we belong to.We made our life more complex rather then simple.
    Well thanks for the recipe!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by !! Yes, we are indeed complicating the way we live ...

      Delete

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