Monday, December 03, 2012

Khotto/Khottige

Pics Courtesy: Rao Rekha and Vedavyas Udyaver Rao
Video Courtesy: Anuroopa Shenoy


As T Chowdaiah's violin plays the signature tune on All India Radio Vividh Bharati, mother is busy preparing breakfast in the kitchen. Father is sitting on his easy chair with the daily newspaper 'Navabharata' in his hands, sipping his cup of morning tea. I keep hanging around the kitchen and peak in from time to time to see what's steaming on the charcoal stove in the copper steam tandoor(Pedavan). It is definitely not Idli or Undi. There is distinct smell of some leaf blended with the smell of idlis jetting out from the hairline gap of the dome lid covering the pedavaN.
Ah yes. Khotto/Khottige/Gunda is being prepared! I still brood over the naustalgic memories of my childhood as I relish khotto even today! I can eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner any day.

 
Making Khotte Video by: Ms Anuroopa Shenoy

One of my most favourite breakfast items that goes well with coconut chutney tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafotoeda. Khotto also tastes wonderful with sambar, daalithove and a variety of GSB Konkani curries and of course with Mangalorean chicken curries. It is an art to make these Khottes/Thottes or containers with fresh jack tree leaves. Khotte leaves are plucked, washed and wiped clean. 'Shigir' or thin bamboo sticks are used to lock the four leaves as the leaves are tucked together to form a cup. These khottes are kept moist overnight to retain the flexibility and freshness.
Meanwhile, a batter is prepared as we make for idlis. Traditionally, dosa rice is soaked for 2-3 hours, dried in the sun on a cloth and ground to coarse rava using the manual stone mill/daante. Then this rava is mixed with fermented urad daal paste and salt to taste is added just before making khottes. This way, khottes turn out very soft and fluffy.

Now a days we get ready made idli rava in the market and not many go for the traditional method. The stone daante has also disappeared from many households and one can see that only at an exhibition, museum or at weddings when there is a ritual called 'Uddina Muhurtha' is followed!

Here is a step by step recipe for making Khotte with a video that demonstrates how to craft the jack leaf khottes. Thanks to Mr Vedavyas Udyavar Rao for the pictures and Ms Anuroopa Shenoy for the youtube video.


For the Khotto:
Jack Leaf Khotte - 12 medium sized
Rice Rava(Idli Rava) - 2 Cups
Urad Daal - 1 Cup
Salt - To taste
Water - QS

Method:
Soak Urad daal for 2- 3 hours and throw the soaked water.
Grind with very little water to a thick smooth paste.
Wash the rice rava with little water and add to the Urad daal paste.
Beat well with your hand.
Allow to ferment for minimum 8 hours at normal room temperature.
Add salt to taste and mix well.
Fill the batter 2/3rds in khottes and arrange them in a steaming tandoor or pedavan(Now a days people use pressure cooker without the weight).
Cover the dome lid and steam for 20 mins or so.
Without switching off the flame open the lid and transfer the khottes to a moist cloth and cover them.
Serve with coconut chutney or any South Indian curry.

For the Red Chutney:
Scraped Cocunut - 1 cup
Roasted red chillies - 1-2
Tamarind - A pinch
Asafotoeda - A small pinch
Salt - To taste
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Curry leaves - A few
Oil - 1 Tsp

Method:
Grind coconut with red chillies and tamarind to a smooth paste using little water. Add salt to taste.
Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and once they splutter, add curry leaves and asafotoeda.
When the seasoning is ready and aroma of asafotoeda emanates, remove from flame and allow the seasoning to cool.
Add to the chutney and mix.

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