Another guest post from one of my two most prolific contributors – my aunt Malathi Mohan (the other being my daughter Kanchana). This is one of the dishes she really makes best. A little about this aunt of mine – a nutritionist who put the fear of god in the form of healthy calories 😉 into us from when we were little – the effects have been lasting for many of us spread across the globe! Also the youngest aunt, she was always willing to run and play pranks and joke with us , teaching us the most horrible and inappropriate songs like “Rickety Tickety Tin” (gory to the core!) and “Never on a Sunday” – the latter, it took my slow brain years to catch on – was a song sung by a lady – ahem – belonging to the oldest profession on earth!
My aunt ran a restaurant in Bangalore for a few years in the seventies and we other cousins envied her two sons – Shyam and Madhu – imagine living above a restaurant and being able to eat “vadas” every day! Then one summer the mystique was torn away rather rudely – her sons, who were spending the summer with us – were more than happy to eat parathas and eggs at our place.Why? Because live above a restaurant as they might, their nutrition-conscious mother insisted on idlis only for breakfast EVERY DAY – eeuuuuggghhh! This was at a stage when idlis were our least favourite things in life (along with rasam!) and so our envy turned into… ayyoo paapam!
And so… now in retribution, her sons demand this of her every Sunday they are in town!!! The revenge of the idlis!
This popular recipe is a dish from Karnataka and Coorg with some variations. Basically, it is a dish made in rural areas, it is made quite thick (perhaps why it is called ‘Rotti’) and soft with lots of chilli, curry leaf and kothmir. Addition of onion and pulses like Avarai kaalu improves taste and nutrition as it is made of plain rice flour. I learnt it from my mother-in-law who was from Bangalore, sorry, Bengaluru. My first impression of the thick rotti was not favourable, till I tasted the crisper parts where the rotti was pressed thinly. So, I make my version as thin and crisp and these are a great favourite with my sons Shyam and Madhu. They say I should not ask them what to make for breakfast… Akki rotti always on a Sunday!! With this regular experience, I have become an expert at Akki rotti! So, here goes…
Rice flour 2 cups
Onion 1 big, chopped very fine
Hing ½ tsp
Jeera 1 tsp.
Green chilli 2 or 3 chopped very fine
Curry leaf and coriander leaf, chopped fine
Coconut gratings 3 Tbsp ( optional )
Salt 1 tsp
Water 200 to 250 ml. ( 1 glass )
Mochai / mochakottai / avaraii/lablab beans – a handful.
Method: Mix all ingredients together, excepting water. Taste and correct for salt. Mix with water gradually to make a soft dough. Divide into 5 or 6 portions
Take a dry kadai, pour 2 tsp oil, spread the oil with fingers on the inner surface (NOT when it’s hot, silly!). Take a ball of the dough and spread it evenly in the kadai, with your fingers. Make a hole in the centre for even cooking I presume.
Cook on a hot flame, moving the kadai around to cook evenly all round till the edges start separating from the surface. Ease it out and serve hot with ghee (op), pickle or chutney. For some, no accompaniment is required as the rotti is tasty by itself.”
And, unlike the naughty lady in the song, you can eat this any day of the week!
To avoid scorching your fingers, for the next rotti, the kadai has to be cooled under running water, dried and spread again, or use 2 or 3 kadais.
In the above Rotti, I have added ‘mochai’ or avarai kalu. You can see both sides of the cooked rotti.