Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rotte (A Rice and pulse pancake from South India)

Rotte (A Breakfast dish from South India) 

I love food. Over the years I have known that for me comfort food doesn't expressly stay within the dishes that I was first introduced to as a child. In my 9th standard while reading 'Gone with The Wind' I fell in love with the description of fried chicken and once I made it that became my comfort food. Then sometime down the line I fell in love with Shepherd's pie etc etc Basically according to me to really know a particular food you have to respect where it came from that is if its made with lamb substituting it with goat meat unless and until there is absolutely no way you can get your hands on lamb meat changes the dish.

Anyway the point is I have always liked Idlis and Dosas. There are very few dishes that I do not personally like. In fact right now I can't even think of one dish I dislike per say.

When I got married it was mishmash of culture. I am from Calcutta , living in a world of English literature, soaps, movies  , growing up hearing my father playing the violin in preparation of concerts after coming back from the chamber (he is a doctor) cooking from an age of 14 years since the time I told my father that I wanted a taste of world food and he told me he would allow that if I cook it myself while my husband was brought up in Ranchi and is originally from Andhra Pradesh in South India.

Anyway when my mother-in-law had first made this for me I fell in love with it. It was  crispy golden outside and soft fluffy inside.

I noted the recipe from my mother-in-law and I love this. Its easy, soak, grind, ferment and your batter is ready.

So her goes the recipe for Rotte as given by my mother-in-law :-

Cups used hold 250ml liquid

1 cup whole husked Urad Dal
2 cups parboiled rice
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste ( I need 2 tsp)

Soak the pulse and rice separately for 4 hours . Drain the pulse and rice and keep in separate containers but reserve the water in which you have soaked them.

Grind them separately.  First start with the pulse. grind it without any water and then slowly add water to make this creamy smooth soft paste. I usually do not measure the amount of water required but you have to add it slowly to get the fluffy soft consistency and when you touch the mixer grinder it should have become hot. I grind it , stop the mixer and grind ti again and it pretty much takes me 15 minutes to 20 minutes to get the perfect consistency.

Down South I have seen most houses having a wet grinder dedicated for making Idli/dosa batter but for the rest of us its not impossible even with the normal mixer grinder . All you need is patience.

Once the pulse is done keep it in a container. Take half the drained rice and start grinding forst on its own. It will give a gritty mixture then start adding water slowly and steadily. Grind , stop , check the mixture, add water and do this till it reaches a smooth ribbon stage. It should be ultra soft and fluffy to touch.

The entire success of this batter used for Idlis, dosas , Rottes and Uttapams depends on the consistency of your batter and the consistency depends on your grinding.

When the rice is done now grind the Pulse and rice together taking half of each for easy grinding and grind till its fluffy and laves a trail.

It should be ultra soft to touch.

Divide the mixture between two containers filing them till half the container. Add salt about 1 tsp per container , mix with your clean hands and let it ferment for 8 hours.

To know whether your fermentation has gone as expected you shall see it having risen and then there is that smell.

For the Rotte simply take a deep bottomed wok not a flat vessel. Add  a little bit of oil and ladle some of the fermented batter in the wok and cover and cook for 3 minutes to 4  minutes on one side , till you see small bubbles on one side and then   flip and cover and cook for another 3 minutes to 4 minutes  minutes and its ready. Make sure its cooked on absolute low hat else instead of getting crispy golden outside you shall have a burnt outside.

Serve it with some Tomato chutney or 'Podis' (Spicy pulse mixture available in South India) or Onion chutney or any type of chutney of your choice.

I have a sneaky feeling this will team very well with some Mutton stew or chicken stew.

P.S. I have made it with split husked Urad Pulse and it gives the same result.

Please note that I stay in a tropical country where I do not place a problem with fermentation. In case you stay in a cold country keep the mixture in a warm place for fermentation.

You may check out my post on detailed step by step process for the batter here

Important tips :-

  1. Always start the grinding with no water and add the water bit by bit else it will never be the soft fluffy mixture that is required for the dish. 
  2. Cook on slow flame throughout. You cannot hurry the dish. 
  3. You know one side is done when it fluffs up and then you flip it. It might take you less than 3 minutes per side depending on the size of the wok. 

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