Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mottasev, Karasev - Spicy SouthIndian Snacks

                          It was half past 1.00 am when we drove out of a theatre, about a week ago. On a quick thought we headed towards 'mathsya' one of the few restaurants in Chennai that serves food till 2.00 am. The city was wrapped in silence and the roads were vacant, but the restaurant that appeared calm outside, opened its frosted doors to a lively atmosphere with people chatting and busy nibbling the delicious spread on the table, like it was just about dinner time!

                     Though it is said that only demons eat during midnight, it was for the sheer fun of  eating with other like minded people when the rest of the city was quiet, that brought us here. The grainy idly and the regular dosa tasted just average, but the warm tea balanced it all! Hot, steaming idlies served on a banana leaf in the darkest hours of the night on the ever busy roads of Madurai and Thirunelveli instantly flashed across my mind, something that can be experienced only in the southern districts of T.N. The exciting part was the solitary drive on the clean roads, sans the traffic noise, stopped now and then by the night patrol police every few kilometres, whose presence assured us that we were safe even in the odd hours of the night, reached home as early as 2.00 am for a good night sleep. Fast driving in Chennai is possible only at midnight!

Karasev, Motta sev
                             I am going to be a little rude this time and say,"if you do not have the tools mentioned in this post to make karasev, then don't make it at all". Don't expect me to say you can use this and that if you do not have the perforated ladle to make the sev, I'll tell you the reason and the difference it makes at the end of the post and you will agree with me. Surely nobody wants to eat murukku sev, when you are expecting to eat karasev! If you don't have one, then find and buy one if you want the real taste of karasev.

                      Motta sev or the pepper sev( milagusev) is the peppered version of karasev, which is thick and long, peppery and crunchy, altogether a different taste, which also requires a special tool to make it. Not many know about mottasev and you will not find motta sev sold in all sweetmeat shops, except in a few local shops who are well aware of the mottasev or the milagusev. Read the instructions carefully before making the kara sev and the motta sev. Get you measurement cups and spoons ready and you can blindly follow the recipe to get a perfect sev.

Karasev/ Kaarasev
Bengal gram flour     1 cup
Rice flour                 1/8 cup
Asafoetida               1/4 tsp
Garlic                      2 cloves
Dried red chilly          1 ( long )
Pepper                     1/2 tsp
Cumin                     1/2 tsp
Oil                          1 tbsp
Turmeric powder        1/4 tsp
Salt                         3/4 tsp
More oil for deep frying

Combine garlic and the dried chilly in a mortar and pestle and pound to a paste.
Crush the pepper and the cumin in a mortar and pestle (coarsely). If using pepper mill use 3/4 tsp of crushed pepper.
Combine gram flour, rice flour, asafoetida, crushed pepper, crushed cumin, oil, turmeric powder, salt and the ground garlic, chilly paste.
Add water and knead to a dough. The dough should not be too soft, just thick enough for you to press on the ladle.

Heat oil in a pan, take a small portion of the dough and press against the perforated ladle for the batter to fall directly into the oil. ( The karasev ladle will be perforated with a slightly raised edges)
Do not stir immediately to avoid breaking the sev.
Stir after a minute and cook on low med heat till the bubbles in the oil begins to cease.
Transfer to a plate and repeat the process again until all the batter is used up.

If the dough is too soft, it means there is too much of water, which means, it will absorb more oil and the sev will not be crisp.
If the dough is too hard then the sev will be hard too.
To make long strands of the sev, press the batter slowly but hard on the ladle and not too fast.

Mottasev/ Pepper sev/Mota sev
Gram flour               1 cup
Rice flour                  1/8 cup
Pepper                     1 tsp
Cumin                     1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder       1/4 tsp
Asafoetida               1/4 tsp
Salt                        3/4 tsp
Butter or oil              1 tbsp ( I use oil )
More oil for deep frying

Crush pepper and cumin in a mortar and pestle (coarsely).
Combine all the ingredients, add water and knead to a thick dough.
Use the holes in a mandoline  to make the mottasev in the same manner as instructed for karasev.
You can also use a coconut shell to make the mottasev. Depending on the size of the hole in the shell, the size of the mottasev will also differ, if the hole is bigger, the resulting sev will be a bada motta sev. But the coconut shell method will take a long time than using a mandoline.

The dough should not be too soft.
The fried sev will not be crisp in the beginning, it will take several hours to crisp up. But store the motta sev in an airtight container or else it will become soft.
If you did not get the dough consistency right and the if the motta sev remains soft, ( leaving in open air will also make it lose its crispness ) don't fret, spread on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180*c for about 5 minutes. It will be super crisp, but make sure to transfer to an airtight container.

The above picture shows the difference between the sev made using the perforated ladle and a murukku press.
The one made with murukku press has holes in the centre which affects the taste and the texture of the karasev.
                                           The perforated ladle required for making karasev

To make the karasev and motta sev or for any gram flour based recipe, home made flour gives that extra taste. To make home made gram flour, rinse the bengal gram, drain and roast in a kadai on low heat continuously until dry. Cool, grind to a fine powder, sift and store in an airtight container.

Note that the bengal gram should be roasted only till completely dry and not till reaches it golden colour. If the gram is roasted too much then the fried sev will be brown in colour and you will not get the pale colour of the sev.


1 comment:

  1. This recipe works very well and all the measurements including salt are accurate. She is right, you can blindly follow her recipes and get perfect results!!!

    Thank You Vimala!!



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Finally on this day of october the 1st, 2012, I have decided to include the comment form, after a long gap of two years. But, I am going to be a bit selfish here and keep all those nice and lovely things that is said for me and only me to cherish and will be sharing any queries that requires clarifications and your experience about the food if you have tried my recipes. So, drop in a word if you have anything to say and thanks a lot for stopping by.
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