Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Cholamaavu Kaara Puttu, Kambu Urundai - Sorghum Spicy Puttu, Pearl Millet Sweet Balls

                          Last year, reminiscent of her old times, a family friend from Salem, who fondly recollected the days she grew up in a village in Salem, shared these two recipes with me. It's in one of those villages near Salem called Kandampalayam, that I learnt to ride cycle as a kid, during my vacations, when my father was posted there. We would hire cycles and go practising in the vast vacant lands of the village without the fear of traffic, but ran into huge trees that stood as a guard on both sides of the road and bumped into walls, emerging unhurt always.

                  I remember my visits to the weekly market ( sandhai) and watch the people sell cattle, bargaining with their hands held under a towel. While their fingers communicate the price of the cattle, their facial expression reveals if the trade is satisfactory or not. It's a one day market that fulfils the needs of the people for the week to come, with the fresh produce from in and around the villages, garlic, shallots, tamarind, vegetables,  earthenware, all displayed attractively. The day starts with a noisy fair, that subsides by late after noon and before the day comes to an end, most of goods are sold out and they leave behind only a few traces of the busy market that lasts only a day. A visit to the weekly market is still something I love to do and my recent memory of shopping was a few years back, where I happily strolled through the market and bought vegetables, fresh pulses, palm sugar, baskets and some essential household tools from a sandhai in a hill station. Shopping in a sandhai, where you get to buy fresh goods that comes straight from the producers without being processed or chilled, exposes to a whole new world, its not just the market, but the people, the luring words of the vendors, the tireless bargain, the smell, the lively spirit in the air, this market offers an experience that super markets can never provide.

Cholamaavu Kaara Puttu  - Sorghum Spicy Puttu
Cholamaavu puttu is made like any other puttu ( rice puttu, kambu puttu, ragi puttu), but served with a spicy mixture and sesame oil.
Sorghum           1 cup
Salt                    1/2 tsp
Shallots             1/2 cup
Green chilly      1-2
Sesame oil        to taste

Rinse the millet and spread on a cloth to dry.
Grind the millet to a fine powder and sieve.
Dry roast the powdered millet on low-med heat until hot and dry.
To make puttu, add salt to the roasted flour and sprinkle water little by little, until the mixture is well moistened.
Process the mixture in a mixie jar for a second or two, to break the lumps.
Transfer this mixture on to a cloth, lined on an idly plate or any steamer and steam cook for about 20 minutes.
Combine shallots and green chilly, mince to a coarse paste and serve with the cooked puttu, along with a generous amount of sesame oil.

I have given the exact version of how it is consumed by people in villages, but not many will favour the taste of raw shallots and green chilly and if you don't, serve with spicy chicken curry or prawn masala.
The puttu can also be made into a sweet dish, by adding coconut while cooking and serving with sugar, banana and ghee.
While preparing puttu sprinkle water every time it becomes dry.
For a cup of sorghum flour you will require about 6-7 tbsp of water.

Kambu Urundai - Pearl Millet Sweet Balls
        It's a healthy snack that tastes like sesame seed balls and not millet. Easy to make and healthy to eat. Adding cardamom or cashews is not necessary but use them if desired.

Pearl millet                 1 cup
Roasted groundnuts  1/2 cup
Dark brown sugar      3/4 cup
Milk                              3 tbsp ( more or less)

Rinse pearl millet, drain well and start roasting in a pan on low heat.
Roast until it turns golden colour and a nice nutty aroma arises.
Let it cool and grind to a fine powder, add the roasted groundnuts and process again.
Add the sugar and grind again until everything comes together.
Transfer to a plate, sprinkle milk and start shaping them into balls. This will last for a couple of days, a little longer if refrigerated.
To make them last longer, you can either shape them into balls right away without adding milk( the oil in the groundnut will help to bind the mixture together) or go easy on the calorie part and use melted ghee to make balls.

According to the original recipe, I was told white sugar was used and water was used to make them into balls, but, I chose to use dark brown sugar and milk instead.
The pale looking balls in the jar were made without adding milk, while all the dark ones were made with milk.

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Hiya all,
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.
"Have a nice day"

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