Saturday, 30 June 2012

Another Kerala quickie

True to our "About us" page, I am making this post about the versatile Kanji (rice porridge). Kanji for any Keralite is comfort food. It is originally considered poor man's food, as it is nothing but rice boiled with an excess of water and the starchy water is also consumed with the rice: an instant energy giving carbs whammy.
For a foodie, this basic main dish gives scope for endless add-ons and sides. Common accompaniments are Payaru (a variety of slender green beans), pickles, Chamanthi (Coconut chutney/paste), Pappadam. Any or all of these are served with Kanji. In this post: Kanji + Chamanthi, the latter being the more elaborate preparation.

This meal for two is again a twenty to twenty five minute affair, discounting the time for shallot peeling and coconut grating. The time for these two things really depend on your skill and practice- alternatively buy peeled shallots and get someone else to grate the coconut. 

Start off. Get the Kanji going first. Wash 4/5 Cup rice and 1/5 Cup Mung dal together in a pot. Yes, I add some lentils to my Kanji as well for a little creamy texture. Fill pot with water and set on the stove.

For "The Coconut Chutney with Charred Shallots and Chilli" you will need:
- 12-15 peeled Shallots
- Half a grated Coconut
- 3 or 4 dry Red chillies
- 3/4 Tsp Tamarind paste
- Coconut oil for dipping
- Salt

The shallots and the red chillies have to be charred on a flame first. Skewer the shallots on a fork like so...
Then dip the fork into coconut oil and take out. Let the oil drip off and hold the onions over a flame. They will crackle and burn brilliantly like so..
For the first time you make this, just char them until this point. If you like the smokey taste you could char it a little more the next time
Put the charred shallots into the jar of your blender. Repeat the same with the chillies- skewer, dip, char. Add them to the blender with salt and the tamarind paste.
Remember to remove the stem portion of the chillies, add the grated coconut and blend. Add a tablespoon or two of water as required. Use as little water as your blender can manage; water on fiery roasted spices is literally a dampener.

At this point the Kanji must be ready and you can just add salt to it and serve. I, however, went a little extra mile. Take a tablespoon of cooking (unsalted) butter in a wok and heat it till it has clarified, not just melted. It must be smoking quite profusely. Take off the heat, sprinkle in some chilli flakes and salt. Give the wok a shake and add its contents to the kanji. Ladle out some kanji into the wok to get all the remaining butter and spices and add it back to the pot. Stir well and serve with the chamanthi.

1 comment:

  1. This idea of smoking the spices is new to me & I instantly feel like trying it. I can almost smell the smoked flavours. Will share this with amma :)