Friday, February 08, 2013

Marvai Pundi by Uma Shenoi

Uma called me yesterday evening and asked me if I am interested in highlighting Marvai Pundi in my blogspot. She added that if I am interested, she will send some over with Meena and also the recipe. I said "Is it something to ask? By all means send it. I haven't eaten Marvai Pundi since last 2 years!"

I know that Uma cooks any dish perfectly and also that she never goes overboard when she follows any recipe. She said, a friend passed on the recipe to her and she has prepared it for the first time.

I had a valid reason to tell her that I haven't eaten the dish since last two years. We never prepared marvai pundi at home before. I first tasted this dish at Rathna's Balmatta Road and loved eating that. I have taken parcel home at least half a dozen times from there. That was the only place I had tried marvai pundi, though Meena's friends used to give her that quite often. Of course I had tasted marvai sukkha at a few occasions at couple of local restaurants but I was not a big fan of marvai then.

Marvai(Clam) being a  shell fish, is rich in calcium. Tuluvas are adept at making marvai preparations and marvai pundi is a combo meal traditionally prepared in earthen pot with masala ground with the grinding stone and Pundi(Rice dumplings) made with red rice. Mangalorean Catholics call this Kube Mutli. We GSBs make undis that are similar to pundis but we add seasoning to them.
Video courtesy: Charishma Hegde
Opening or cleaning Marvai requires skill and is done using 'Mettu Katthi' or 'Aaddoli' as shown in the embedded video. Some just boil Marvai and use the opened ones as it is. That way, Marvai loses its taste.

Marvai Curry

Marvai/Clams - 200 washed and cleaned(See video)
Grated coconut -  1
Red Chillies -  5 small, 8 long
Coriander Seeds - 5 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds -  1/2 tsp
Peppercorns - 15
Tamarind - Size of small lemon
Garlic -  5 cloves
Turmeric powder -  1/2 tsp
Onions - 2 chopped
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Salt - to taste
Oil -  2 tbsp

Dry roast red chillies, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns with little oil.
Grind the roasted spices with coconut, turmeric powder, tamarind and garlic to a smooth paste using just sufficient water.
Heat a thick bottomed vessel or wide mouthed earthen pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and prepare a seasoning with curry leaves and one chopped onion in 1 tbsp oil and fry till golden.
Add the ground paste, salt to taste and water or according to required consistency.
When the gravy starts to boil, add the marvai and allow to cook for few minutes.
When marvai has cooked, drop the pundis into the curry and cook till the the gravy thickens.
Add another round of seasoning with chopped onions in 1 Tbsp oil.
Let the pundis get soaked well in the gravy. Serve hot.

Pundi(Rice Dumplings)


Raw rice - 4 cups
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Coconut oil - 1 Tsp
Salt to taste

Wash and soak rice in for 3-4 hours.
Grind with coconut using little water to a thick and coarse batter.
Heat a kadai, add a spoonful of oil and pour the ground rice batter. Add salt to taste.
Keep stirring on medium flame till the batter forms a lumpy soft dough.
Keep a bowlful of water by the side, dip your hand in water, take a spoonful of the dough and make balls.
Steam the balls in a steamer for 20 mins or till done.

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