This is one more dish that required some getting used to from me. First of all, I had never eaten anything like this before. Secondly, it is eaten with jaggery syrup and fresh butter. "Sorry, with what???", was my first reaction when I saw that combination. The last but not the least, considering that it's an everyday breakfast dish and not a festive sweet, the amount of coconut that goes into it is shocking.
In the beginning of my marriage, I generally used to find the amount of coconut being used in Konkani kitchens really objectionable. I mean, how can you treat coconut(!) just like any other ingredient? How can you finish one entire coconut in a day's cooking????? I must say that it does not disturb me any longer. One reason is habit. Another one is that the consumption of coconut around me has also gone down in the last few years. Because the doctors are shouting 'Cholesterol' clear and loud. :)
Also, I have learnt to respect other cuisines much more. All said and done, some of the dishes in the Konkani cuisine are just unique. For example, Undi. You don't come across dishes like this every day. Neither the combination of accompaniments. Earlier, it was a strict no-no in my kitchen. However, nowadays, I make it once in a while. So that I continue the tradition. So that my daughter gets to know her father's cuisine as well as her mother's. So that me carrying the surname 'Kamath' has more meaning to it.
And cholesterol can wait. I am not going to the gym for nothing, am I? :)
Left to right: Grated fresh coconut and raw rice
Recipe for Undi (pronounced Oun-deeh)
Makes 20 pingpong-sized balls (Serves 2-3)
2 cups raw rice (not parboiled)
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Urad dal (You could use a sprig of curry leaves instead.)
For the jaggery syrup (Ravo in Konkani):
1 cup jaggery
approx. ½ cup water (Sorry, I do not have exact quantity of water for this one. I will update the post when I make it next time.)
Powder from 4-5 cardamom seeds
1. Soak rice in water for two hours. You could soak it for longer, although it's not really necessary. Actually, in case you are in a hurry, and own a good heavy-duty grinder, then soaking the rice only for 30 minutes suffices too.
2. Grind the soaked rice with grated coconut to a coarse batter. The ground granules of rice should be the size of Idli Rawa or coarse semolina granules.
3. Transfer this batter to another vessel. Add one of water to the grinder, shake, and add this water to the batter. (How much more economical can you get? :) Add salt, and give the mixture a thorough stir.
4. In a thick-bottomed pan or a non-stick Kadhai (I used the latter.), heat the oil. Add mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the fenugreek seeds and Urad dal/curry leaves.
5. Once all mustard seeds have popped, and the fenugreek seeds are a shade of golden brown, add the prepared batter. Cook it uncovered on medium-high heat until much water evaporates and the mixture turns into a thick mass, that is too difficult to be stirred with a spatula.
6. Take the pan off heat and let the mixture in it cool.
7. Divide the cooled mixture into 20 portions and shape these into flattish balls. Press one of the flat sides with a finger to make a depression, so that the centre too cooks well.
Undi ready to be steamed in a pressure-cooker
8. Arrange all these balls in a vessel that fits into your pressure cooker. Alternatively, you could arrange the balls on your Idli stand or on the perforated sheet that comes with your Idli steamer (Pedavan in Konkani).
9. Fill your pressure cooker / Idli steamer with enough water and heat it. Once the water starts boiling, place the vessel / stand with Undi in it. Cover and steam the Undi for good 20 minutes. No shortcuts here. Or else, the Undi will stay unpleasantly uncooked.
10. While the Undi are steaming, you could prepare the jaggery syrup by combining the jaggery and water, and cooking on medium heat until the mixture reaches the consistency of honey. Take the syrup off heat and add powdered cardamom seeds to it.
Serve warm Undi with the jaggery syrup and fresh home-made butter (at room temperature) . The way to eat it is by dipping Undi in the butter first and then into the Ravo/jaggery syrup. The morsel that lands into your mouth is sure to make you look forward to the rest of the day. No, really, I have experienced it. :)
Undi served with jaggery syrup. A simple yet exquisite breakfast.
Since this breakfast dish requires a lot of preparation, it is advisable to do most of it the previous evening. Usually, I finish the preparation until Step 7 the previous night and store the unsteamed Undi in the refrigerator in a container with a tight lid. I prepare the jaggery syrup too (Step 10) the earlier night; it stays fresh outside the fridge for several days. The following morning, I just steam the Undi and voila...breakfast is ready.Tags: Konkani, Mangalorean, South Indian, South Kanara, South Canara