I grew up in a house that is surrounded by numerous coconut trees that still continues to give us abundant coconuts and oil, fruit trees, flowering plants, bushes, that made everyone who passed by to pause and admire the greenery and the pretty flowers that were colourful. Neighbours envied and still envy, the result of one man's dream and hard work, my father, who gave us the luxury of growing up in the midst of rich, flora and fauna.
Fauna! yes, our abode has been famous for housing all sorts of animals too, that included at least half a dozen dogs of various sizes and various breeds, not to forget even our own Indian country breed the most loyal of all, multitude of birds of various kinds, a gaggle of geese that would happily nibble on all the saplings that I plant, Ram the monkey that loved us all like a brother, more than half a dozen stray cats that would sit on all corners watching my movement, cows that stayed with us for many years feeding us with fresh milk, a goat that stayed for a short period, the number of chickens that gave us healthy eggs throughout the year and the omnipresent crows, especially a bald headed character which would fearlessly eat food from my hand, the house constantly echoed the sounds of the dogs barking, the birds chirping, the geese honking, all these animals created an atmosphere that was bursting with life, but the only animal that did not make it to our clan was the horse, an animal that my father still yearns to rear it someday.
Life has not been the same ever since I moved to this concrete world in the busy part of the city, breathing smoke and dust, constantly feeling the trembling earth under my feet every time a heavy vehicle passed by, with no plants to tend and no animals to feed, waking up to see another building instead of green plants, my days come to an end with books in hand instead of making garlands from the freshly picked jasmine flowers from the creepers, which used to be my routine back then. Though an occasional visit to my parents house now and then, to be in the midst of the trees that are as old as me, does make me extremely happy, somewhere in the corner of the mind there is this simple desire to live in a house surrounded by trees, feed cats and dogs, have a garden where I can pick my home grown vegetables and fruits and prune my own flowering plants. Still dreaming!
Barnyard millet ( kudiraivali arisi) has the texture of broken rice, cooks like rice and tastes like rice. I can guarantee that people who do not appreciate the taste of other millets for its distinct taste will embrace barnyard millet in their daily meal without frowning. I would love to say, "go ahead and start using this millet to make rice and idly", but in reality these millets ( little millet, foxtail, kodo) are very expensive that, not all people can afford to include these millets in their daily meal. Millets like finger millet, sorghum and pearl millet have always been available in an affordable rate to people of all section of the society and since these millets are equally rich in nutrients, they can be used in our meal when it is not possible to include minor millets. Now that the government has decided to include Ragi puttu and Cholam biscuit in the noon meal scheme for the children, I believe it will not be long before minor millets are also appreciated and made available at an affordable price to all people.
Like all the other minor millets barnyard millet is also cooked in the same manner as mentioned in my earlier posts. Previously the millets I cooked were with husk and here the barnyard millet I have cooked is hulled. Since it is hulled, it requires less water to cook than the millets with the husk. But still, if you prefer to have a rice that is well cooked to feed aged people at home, then I suggest to use three cups of water. For a fluffier rice use 2 cups of water for a cup of millet and continue with the same process. Barnyard millet on the above picture was cooked using 3 cups of water for 1 cup of millet and in the picture below the millet was cooked using 2 cups of water for a cup of millet. Barnyard millet rice cooked with salt, tastes delicious on its own even without any curry. It tastes absolutely wonderful with curd, shallots and some cooked greens.
Kudiraivali saadham - Barnyard millet rice
Barnyard millet 1 cup ( hulled millet)
Water 2 cups
Add water to the well rinsed barnyard millet and bring to a boil on high heat.
Close and cook for ten minutes on low heat.
Turn off the heat and leave it closed for another 30 - 40 minutes till all the millet is well cooked in its own steam.
( It will appear to be still wet after 20 minutes, but when the rice completely cools down it will become dry and well cooked. You can adjust the ratio of water used, according to your need)
Sundaikkai kaara kuzhambu - Turkey Berry spicy curry
Turkey berry 1cup
Onion 1 large
Tomato 1 1/2 ( pureed)
Turmeric powder 1/2tsp
Chilly Powder 3tsp
Coriander Powder 3tsp
Salt 1 1/2tsp
Tamarind gooseberry sized ball
Water 1 cup
Coconut 1 1/2 tbsp
Poppy seeds 2tsp
Sesame oil 2tbsp
Mustard +urad dal 1tsp
Soak the tamarind in a cup of water for 15 minutes, extract the juice and discard the pulp.
Slightly crush the turkey berries with a hard object like a pestle, just until it split opens.
Rinse the berries twice or thrice and add it to the tamarind water.
Heat oil in a pan, do the tempering with mustard + urad dal and curry leaves.
Add the chopped onion and stir until it changes colour.
Add the pureed tomatoes and when it begins to boil, add turmeric powder, chilly+coriander powder and the salt. Stir well to mix everything.
Add the tamarind water with the turkey berries and cook on low-med heat with the lid on for about 10min.
Combine poppy seeds and coconut and grind to a fine paste. Add this paste to the curry and cook for a further 5-10 min.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.