Smitha Kuttayya Boppanda is based in Chennai and runs a home bakery called BAKED DELIGHTSS since 2007. She was involved in hosting a Kodava food festival at the Taj Fisherman Cove in 2006. Smitha also conducts workshops in cooking and baking which are very popular in Chennai.
She says: “My recipes are always a combination of recipes given to me by my grand-mother, aunts, cousins, relatives and anyone I consider a good cook. I feel cooking is more an instinct than having the ‘best’ or the ‘most authentic’ recipe. For that matter, wood-fire cooked food tastes better than any other. ‘But is it practical nowadays?’ So I have learnt to innovate within the boundaries of that cuisine and to suit the people I cook for.”
“This recipe for pulav is a combination of about 4 recipes I have. The basics are the same in almost all of them. This is the combination of ingredients and flavours that works best for me.”
Since the typical Chingri akki (a very special variety of small grained rice available in Coorg) is not readily available everywhere, I opted for the Jeera rice, which is more readily available. Since it is very delicate, it has to be handled very gently while frying and mixing.
Please go through the recipe fully before you start on it. It is not difficult if you keep the ingredients ready and have an idea of the sequence and process.
Jeera rice: ½ kg
Mutton pieces (with bones as bones lend a lot of flavour to the dish): ¾ kg
Onions: 4 medium whole and peeled
Onions chopped: 2
Coconut grated: ½ cup
Garlic one whole, peeled and cleaned
Ginger cleaned: 2 to 3 inches
Green chillies: 4-5
Green Cardamom: 4 whole
Poppy seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 3tsp
Black pepper: 2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1tsp
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee (clarified butter): 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves 1 bunch cleaned and finely chopped
Oil for frying and water for cooking.
- 1. Clean and wash the mutton, drain out all the water, add salt, turmeric, chilli powder and 4 or 5 pods of crushed garlic. Mix well and leave to marinate for about half an hour.
- 2. Wash the rice and put it to drain
- 3. Take some oil in a pressure cooker and fry one chopped onion, the crushed garlic, crushed ginger. Fry till the onions are golden. Now put in the mutton and stir till most of the water is dried up. Add half a cup of water and slightly cook the mutton (I cook for about one whistle).
- 4. Now take the ghee in a thick bottomed pan and heat it. Add 2 cloves, a small bit of cinnamon and about 4tbsp of the chopped onions and fry till golden. Add the washed and drained rice and fry. Be very careful while frying the rice as it will be brittle and can break easily.
- 5. While this is happening, put a whole peeled onions (one by one) on the flame of the gas burner directly and allow to burn on slow flame till the outer layers get tender and transparent.
- 6. Now fry the cumin, coriander, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, green chillies and grated coconut with about 1 tbsp oil for about 5 minutes on high flame stirring continuously.
- 7. Put the fried coconut etc in the blender along with the whole onions. Blend. This need not be a smooth paste but coarse like a chutney.
- 8. Now drain out the water from the cooked mutton and measure it. Add more water to this measured quantity to make it a total on 2 cups. Bring these 2 cups of liquid to a boil and add it to the fried rice. Add the mutton and the ground masala to it. Carefully stir and add the chopped coriander.
- 9. When it starts boiling, turn the flame to minimum and close with a tight lid. Check in about 8 minutes. Slowly turn the rice and mutton so that the top and bottom layers get mixed. Close again and cook till done… about 20 minutes. (You can also put the vessel on a thava and allow to cook on even and low heat for 30 to 35 minutes)
If you are short on patience, you can skip steps 5, 6 and 7. Combine all the ingredients in these steps in the blender and use it in step 8. There is a difference in taste but both methods turn out a good Kodava style mutton pulav.
Serve this with cucumber raitha or sweet tamarind chutney.