Friday, August 16, 2013

Pathiri(Rice Flour Chapathi)

It was the summer of '65. The place was Shimoga where my only sister who is a doctor, married and settled down. I was in 3rd standard and was on summer vacation. In the old fashioned kitchen over the firewood flame, Rice Flour Bhakris were being roasted and in a kadai, Jhunka was being prepared. Bhakri and jhunka is a staple combo breakfast for the people settled in the Uttar Kannada and Belgaum districts. My Brother in Law's family roots are in Sirsi and the good ladies who came down from Sirsi and Sagar were happily preparing a tasty wonderful breakfast for the hungry boys and girls who were sitting aside and watching the magical hands rolling the bhakris, roasting them and stacking them!
Pathiri with Chana Roasted Masala Curry
Pathiri(Pathir) has its origin in Kerala and it also resembles Rice Flour Bhakris to a great extent. It is a staple food in Northern Kerala where Mapillas have concentrated. The popular combination is Pathiri with Mutton Curry or Kadala Curry(Chick Pea Curry). Though this also resembles Coorgi Akki Rotti to a great extent, Coorgi Akki Rotti is made with steamed left over rice and this is made using the special pathiri powder.
Pathiri with Chicken Pulimunchi
A healthy nutritious alternative to parathas or chapathis, Pathiri is a tasty treat for the entire family. We tried it mostly with Chicken Pulimunchi and Chana Curry with roasted grated Coconut(Soi Bhaajjunu Ghashi). Those who eat pork can eat this with the Coorgi specialty Pandi Curry and this also goes well with a variety of North and South Indian curries.

We get Pathiri Powder in major retail stores here in Mangalore. It is finer than the normal rice powder and pathiris come out silky smooth with this powder. The process of making pathiri is simple but needs a little practice. Unlike the rice flour Bhakri of Uttar Kannada district which is made by processing rice flour in boiling water, pathiri  powder is mixed with hot water and kneaded to a soft dough. Then it is rolled between two sheets of plastic or aluminum and roasted(Baked) without adding any oil or ghee till it puffs and is slightly golden in clolour. Please follow the instructions on the pack for good results.

Pathiri Powder - 1 cup
Hot water - 2 cups or more
Salt - To taste

Mix pathiri powder with 1 cup of hot water and salt to taste.
Knead well to a soft dough, adding little by little water as needed.
Make Egg size balls, place the balls between two sheets of plastic paper and press with the pathiri press or by keeping the sheets on a rolling board and pressing with another.
On hot tawa, roast the pathiri on both sides slightly, press with a towel on the edges, so that the pathiri puffs up.
Roast till golden on both the sides and wrap in a cloth to retain warmth and softness.
Serve hot with curry of your choice.

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