Kodagu or Coorg as it is popularly known, was derived from the words ‘Kod’ means ‘Give’ and ‘Avva’ means ‘mother’, referring to Mother River Cauvery, one of the seven sacred rivers of India. She graciously falls and flows among lush mountains and valleys. This cascading wonderland will surely mesmerize you. Every time I cook a traditional Coorgi meal, my thoughts wander off to these fertile landscape of lush green paddy fields and wild ferns. Rice, as in most of South India is an intergral part of every Coorgi meal.With the harvest season on right now, it is only apt that I begin with a recipe that includes just that.
The Coorg repertoire of puttus both savoury and sweet never fail to amaze me. One such signature dish is Kadambuttu. Kadambuttus are firm rice balls that are traditionally cooked in a steamer called as ‘Sekala’. An absolute family favourite; it tastes best with classic pandi (pork) curry.
An essential part of this recipe is ‘Thari’ or coarse rice powder. This of course is a regular pantry item in every Coorgi household but you can use idli rava that is readily available in supermarkets these days.
2 cups idly rava / rice rava (thari)
4 cups water
Salt to taste
3 -4 tsp oil
- Bring water to a boil in a deep medium sized vessel. Add salt to the water.
- Add the rice rava or thari to the boiling water.
- Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and lower the heat until all the water is absorbed. It should come together like a stiff dough.
- At this point cover the vessel, and allow it to steam for 5 mins.
- After 5 mins remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the traditional steamer (sekala) or a pressure cooker without its weight on. Line it with a damp muslin cloth. If you do not have any of these use a deep dish with water simmering below and separator, that can hold the plate of kadambuttus. There should be a gap of about 4 inches between the simmering water and the vessel that holds the rice balls.
- Apply some oil to the palms of your hands. When the prepared rice dough is still warm, pinch out golf ball sized portions. Roll it into smooth and compact balls, exerting a slight pressure. (If the mixture is too hot for you to handle, keep a bowl of cold water by your side to dip your hands in between making these balls. This helps if you are not used to take the heat.)
- Now place all the kadambuttus carefully, and cover loosely with muslin cloth.
- Steam on a high heat for approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
- Serve hot.
Chutneys and veg curries are also good accompaniments to these puttus. 🙂
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