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Showing posts with label traditional recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traditional recipes. Show all posts

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Janta Ruti : Just do'ugh' it !!












Sometime back in 2013 when I was experimenting with foods meant for my ever-hungry toddler, I discovered the 'Janta ruti', a kind of bread popular in Odisha. It was tasty, easy enough to chew, and light on the stomach too. Plus it made a perfect pair with the boiled veggies (read 'Santula' minus the 'chunka' or tempering). It became a part of our menu and stayed that way. And incredibly, it's most salient feature remained overlooked. 

But everything changed a few months back when I was reading up on research papers about gluten. Or rather how to minimize the formation of this unavoidable protein that has been haunting quite a few people. Honestly, going the sourdough route or switching to 'Gluten free' flour isn't an option for everyone. Or even switching to 'ghar ke chakki ka atta' or 'home processed flour' if I have to put it in the Indian context.

But why this growing dissent with 'gluten' which has always been present in wheat? Gluten intolerance may also have become fairly common because of changes in the way wheat is processed. Earlier, wheat was harvested, shade dried, washed down, and sun-dried before making it to the local chakki where it was ground and distributed. But increased demand has led to manufacturers bypassing all the steps between threshing and processing. Most of the packaged wheat is not properly shade dried and sun-dried - the two processes that broke down gluten (or rather glutenin as gluten comes into the picture only when after the flour is hydrated ) into smaller particles.

Preferences also play a role here. Demand for white-looking bread or 'roti' has led to the market being flooded with certain varieties like durum which have higher gluten content in comparison to varieties like 'Emmer' or 'Kaphali' which have lower gluten but are much darker in color. In spite of this selective breeding, the gluten content has remained constant over the last 120 years, although the composition of the gluten has changed slightly. While the proportion of Gliadin fell by around 18 percent, the proportion of Glutenin rose by around 25 percent. 

While it is tough to dismiss the external factors, the formation of gluten has a lot to do with how the dough is manipulated. Everything from the amount (and temperature) of water added to the dough, to the kneading technique (damn!! there are so many of them) and duration of kneading to the usage of shortening agents( term used for fats that coat the gluten components and prevent them from forming lengthy chains resulting in a flaky crumbly texture) plays a definite role.  

Somewhere in the middle of processing it all, it struck me. I was seeing the 'Janta ruti' through the lens of my newly acquired understanding. It ticked all the boxes. Temperature, hydration, and fat. The boiling water denatures the wheat proteins, limiting the formation of gluten. This makes the dough soft but not stretchy(read 'hard to tear'). Second, the hot water gelatinizes the starch allowing it to absorb more water. This makes the dough smooth and supple and a lot easier to work with. As a bonus, it stays soft long after it has cooled down. The fat, though in a limited amount, prevents the linkage of gluten strands and ensures that the dough doesn't turn sticky. Hence one ends up with a dough that is easy to work with and the end product (roti/paratha) stays soft and fresh for a longer duration. Best part? It is that it is just so much easier on the digestive system (and the jaws too).

Check the recipe of Janta Ruti - HERE

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Black Rice And Pumpkin Soup ( My experiments with Ambila )

 IMP - Black Rice And Pumpkin Soup is an original recipe created by the blogger and has been published for the first time on oriyarasoi.com.


Ambila. Sweet, sour and with a hint of chilli, this traditional soup from Odisha is a hot favorite during the winter months. It has quite a few variations in terms of the vegetables used and the choice of souring ingredient. While availability of certain ingredients is definitely an important factor, the major influence lies in the preference of the local populace. Though dried mango is the most popular souring agent used, tamarind or even sour curd is preferred by certain people. The sweetness also varies as per personal preferences. Strangely enough, the absence of any sweetening agent is enough to label it as 'Kanji', another close cousin of the ambila.

While both these traditional recipes are quite popular in my home, I picked the 'Ambila' for a makeover because of the 'sweet' component. The strong earthy flavor of black rice pairs rather well with coconut and jaggery, both of which are integral to the 'Ambila'. The deep hue (anthocyanins) of the black rice adds a whole new appeal to this traditional recipe.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 35 mins ( plus 30 mins soaking )

Ingredients - 

  • 1/2 cup sliced pumpkin
  • 3-4 tbsp black rice ( coarsely ground )
  • 4 tsp jaggery ( or as per taste )
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1-2 dried mangoes pieces
  • 1/2 tsp pancha phutana 
  • 1-2 dry red chilis
  • 1 1/2 tsp canola/rice bran oil
  • a  pinch of turmeric
  • salt to taste


Preparation - Soak the coarsely powdered rice for 30 mins in 1/2 cup. 

Soak the dried mango pieces separately in 1/3 cup water

Cooking - Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a deep vessel. Add the pumpkin slices along with a pinch of turmeric. Fry for 3-4 mins.

Add about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the soaked rice and let it boil for 15 mins.

Stir in the jaggery and grated coconut. Boil for 5 mins.

Finally add the dried mango along with the water used for soaking. Adjust the salt. Keep boiling for 5 mins.

In another small pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add the broken red chili and pancha phutana. Once it starts spluttering, pour it over the ambila.

Serve hot.
























Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dahi Gujjiya ( Wishing Everyone a very Happy Holi )

Whether it be the slightly watery 'dahi bara' served with onions, green chilis and black salt in Odisha or the more decadent version slathered in thick yogurt and drizzled with a 'teekhi' and a 'meethi' chutney in the Northern parts of the country, 'Dahi Vada' or 'Dahi Bhallas' are a favorite with most people in India. I have even encountered a version in Hyderabad where the dip the Vada in a sweetened yogurt and top it with loads of grated carrot. Not a bite of chili in this one if one overlooks the occasional peppercorn that might make it's way into one's mouth.

But one of the best that I have ever had was served at a family function by an very enterprising caterer in Bhubaneshwar. They had a yummy stuffing of bell peppers which were stuffed with a samosa masala in turn. Everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection. While I have had a chance to sample stuffed dahi vadas on other occasions, nothing even comes close to it.

Talking of stuffed dahi vadas, which are a relatively new invention, I came across the 'Dahi Gujjiya' a few days back. It is a traditional recipe, no less, that is specially prepared for Holi. The stuffing consists of ginger, raisins, green chilis and coriander but one can also add nuts and coconut pieces to it. As one bites into it, the heat from the ginger and the green chilis forms a wonderful contrast with sweetness of the raisins, the coconut bits and the nuts. My husband loved it and so did I. And it can also be enjoyed on 'no onion no garlic days' . But it is not something i would recommend serving to kids.

One of those must try recipes. Read on for the steps -

















Preparation Time - 45-50 mins

Ingredients -

For the batter -
  • 1 1/2 cup split urad dal
  • salt to taste
  • 2 pinch baking powder
  • oil for deep frying

For the stuffing -
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut slices
  • 2-3 tsp melon seeds/ charoli / cashews ( i skipped this )
  • 2 tsp chopped green chilis
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 3-4 tsp ginger juliennes

For the 'meethi chutney' -
  • 2 lemon sized tamarind balls
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp jaggery
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or pepper powder
  • salt to taste


For the 'Teekhi chutney' -
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 4-5 greens chilis
  • 2-3 garlic flakes (optional)
  • salt to taste

Final assembly -
  • 2 cups thick curd (preferably chilled)
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves 
  • thin sev (optional)
  • chili powder (optional)



Preparation - Wash and soak the urad dal overnight.

Grind into a fine paste using as little water as possible. Consider it ready when it stops sticking to one's wet finger.

Keep aside for 2-3 hours.

Add salt and baking powder. Beat it till it turns light ad fluffy.

Take all the ingredients mentioned under 'For stuffing' in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and mix together.

For the chutneys -

Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'Teehki chutney'. Adjust the consistency by adding water. Keep aside.

For the meethi chutney, soak the tamarind in  1 1/2 cup hot water to obtain its pulp. Discard the solids. Take the pulp, jaggery, salt, asafoetida and pepper in a saucepan. Boil till it reduces to 2/3 rd.
Keep aside till it cools down.


Cooking - Heat sufficient oil for deep frying.

Take a thick plastic sheet or banana leaf. Spread a little oil over the surface.

Put a dollop of the batter on the sheet. Wet fingers and pat gently to make a thick circle. Place a tsp of the stuffing in the center and fold the sheet/leaf to form a semi circle.

Gently coax the gujjiya to leave one side of the sheet and then remove from the other side as well. Slide it into the hot oil. This is best done with wet fingers . Fry on both sides till golden brown. Remove from the wok and dip it in sparingly salted water.

Final Assembly - 

Gently squeeze the gujjiyas out of the water . Place it in a bowl.

Beat the curd with some salt and pour it over the gujjiyas. Drizzle with 'teekhi' and 'meethi' chutney. Finally garnish with coriander leaves, chili powder and sev .

Serve immediately.















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