NAMITHA LIVES IN THE US, BUT HER HEART BEATS FOR COORG

Namitha Achandira, who grew up in Muscat and lives in the United States, is rooted in Kodagu culture. Daughter of Dr Uday Achandira, Namitha has a Master of Fine Arts degree and works for an art and design institute. She is already popular in social media for her cookery and dance videos.

She has fond memories of her childhood vacations in India, and time spent with her grandmother, Kaiblira Muthamma. Spending time alongside her in the kitchen was a way to bond and learn more about Kodava cuisine and culture. Namitha shares a recipe for an all time favourite sweet, chiroti.

Chiroti

 

Ingredients:

For dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsps clarified butter or ghee

A pinch of salt

Water

For layering:

Butter

2-3 tbsps cornflour/ rice flour

For dusting:

Powdered sugar

Ground cardamom

 

Oil for deep frying

Method:

Combine the ingredients to make the dough. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 balls of equal sizes and roll each one out into even sized discs.

Whisk the butter and flour until you achieve a creamy spread. Keep it aside.

Layer the rolled dough, using a generous smearing of the creamed butter and flour mixture between. You can also do this with 3 layers. More layers will lead to flakier and crispier chirotis.

Once the layers are all stacked, roll it up into a tight log . Slice into even sized portions and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the butter to harden.


Next, take each portion and flatten it out. Be gentle with it so that the layers are all intact. Fry in hot oil, drain and dust with powdered sugar and cardamom.


Crispy, flaky, and yummy chirotis will taste great with badam milk as well!

APPLE CHUTNEY WITH CAPSICUM AND TOMATO

Cheranda Nali Appayya shares this unusual hot and sweet chutney recipe.

 Apple Chutney with Capsicum and Tomato

 

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 apple
  • ½ capsicum
  • 3 big ripe tomatoes
  • 4 green chilies
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 big onion
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 block of white jaggery (100gms)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp jeera
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup of refined oil

Method:

Cut the apple, capsicum and 2 tomatoes into cubes and set aside.

Chop the onion, garlic, green chilies into small pieces.

Boil the remaining tomato in ¼ cup of water. Strain the cooked tomato  and reserve the purée.

Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add jeera and curry leaves.

Add tomato purée, apple, onion, garlic, green chilies, jaggery, salt, vinegar,    capsicum, tomato sauce and red chilli powder.

Cook on a slow fire for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before bottling the chutney.

 

NALI’S KAIMA UNDE BARTHAD (DRY FRIED MEATBALLS)

Cheranda Nali Appayya says her love of cooking and sharing of recipes was inculcated in her by her paternal grandmother, Cheppudira Kaveramma Muthanna.

Nali shares her recipe for a hot favourite in Kodagu, Kaima Unde Barthad.

Dry Fried Meatballs

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 kg minced meat
  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece ginger
  • 6 green chillies
  • A small bunch of coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Juice of 1 small lime 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves
  • 1” piece of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp ghee

 

Method:

Wash the meat carefully.

Grind ginger and garlic.

Chop onions, coriander leaves and green chillies finely.

 Put the minced meat in a mixie and give it one pulse. Do not grind it too much.

 To the meat, add the fresh lime juice, turmeric, pepper, and salt to taste.

 Add the chopped ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

 Make even sized balls of the mixture and arrange them in a wide pan.

 Put in the cinnamon and cloves, then pour the ghee over the meatballs.

 Cover and cook it on low heat, without adding water.

 Stir the meatballs occasionally.

 When cooked through, uncover and fry meatballs to a golden brown.

 Remove the cloves and cinnamon before serving.

 

 

MAMATHA’S KOILE´ MEEN PAARA

Kodandera Mamatha Subbaiah is a journalist from Kodagu. She says no matter where you are in this world, the common experience that brings everyone together is delicious food. 

Mamatha shares a recipe for a spicy fish pickle, made with one of Kodagu’s seasonal delicacies, the tiny paddy field fish known as koilé meen.

KOILE´ MEEN PAARA

 Ingredients: 

  • Koilé meen 1 kg
  • Ginger and garlic paste 250 grams of each
  • Cinnamon 5 sticks 
  • Cloves 7
  • Cardamom 6 pods 
  • Methi seeds 1 tsp
  • Mustard 1 tbsp
  • Salt 4 tbsp
  • Kashmiri red chilli powder 4 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder 1tsp 
  • Curry leaves 10
  • Pickle masala powder 2 tbsp 
  • Pepper powder 2 tbsp 
  • Vinegar 5 tbsp 
  • Oil for frying

 

Method:

In a wide pan, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, methi seeds, and mustard. Cool and make a fine powder.

Clean and dry koilé meen, then deep fry.

Take out the fish, and to the same oil add the curry leaves, dry roasted spices, chilli powder, pepper, turmeric, pickle masala and salt.

Stir to mix, turn off the stove and add vinegar.

Finally add the fried fish  and mix gently.

Mamatha’s notes: Salt and vinegar is a matter of taste. You can increase or decrease the quantities according to your preference. 

Badeker’s pickle masala enhances the taste of this pickle.

 

 

SHALEEN’S CHILLI CHICKEN

Keethianda Shaleen Subbaiah is a fashion designer and owner of Panache, The Boutique. She is a textile enthusiast who likes hiking, travelling, exploring design, art, and different cultures.

Shaleen shares a spicy Chilli Chicken recipe.

Chilli Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kg chicken
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger- garlic paste
  • 2 tsp fruit vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 20 green chillis*
  • Handful curry leaves
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 lime/lemon

Method:

Wash the chicken and marinate with salt, turmeric powder and ginger- garlic paste, and keep it aside for half an hour.

Take around 10 green chillies ( *more can be added according to the spice level of ones preference) and grind it into a thick paste along with the vinegar.

 Slit around 8 green chillies and keep it aside.

 Mix the cornflour with 11/2 cups of water and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add curry leaves and garlic cloves, then the marinated chicken.

 Add the chilli paste and slit chillies into the chicken.

 Sauté the chicken for a few minutes with the chilli paste.

 Add 2 cups of hot water and the cornflour mixture to the chicken.

Add 2 spoons of soya sauce and let the chicken cook with all these ingredients until it is soft.

 Once it’s cooked, add a spoon of fresh lemon juice.

This Chilli Chicken is a semi gravy dish which can be served with votti, chapatis and also hot rice.

 

 

KUMBALA PAYASA (PUMPKIN SWEET DESSERT)

Kokkalemada Manjula Devaiah, a regional compliance manager (India and Sub–Saharan Africa) with a US -based multinational company has come a long way from her rural roots in Balele, Kodagu. Hard work, grit and determination have driven her pursuit of a legal education and a corporate career, but her heart remains in Kodagu.

Mother of a young daughter, Hemanthy, Manjula reminisces about her childhood as she fondly recalls her parents’ kitchen garden:”They grew beans, radish, brinjal, chillis, cucumber, ash gourd, pumpkins and more, near the cattle shed behind our home.”

Keen to grow paddy in Kodagu, Manjula feels traditional methods of cultivation that are manual labour intensive should not be seen as a deterrent. Instead, embracing available technological innovations should be the way forward to once again cultivating paddy, a traditional crop in Kodagu.

Manjula shares her recipe for Kumbala Payasa, a delicious dessert made from pumpkin and sweetened condensed milk.

Kumbala Payasa

Ingredients:

2 cups grated pumpkin

4-5 tsp ghee

½ ltr milk

½ cup grated copra (dried coconut)

½ cup sugar, or to taste

A few cashews, raisins, and almonds (reserve some for garnishing)

Method of Preparation:

Boil the milk until it has condensed to half the original volume and set aside.

Heat ghee in a deep pan, then add the grated pumpkin and fry on a low flame for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. 

Add the grated coconut, followed by the nuts and raisins and fry till golden brown.

Now you may remove the pan from the stove, mix in the condensed milk, and garnish with the remaining nuts. 

Your kumbalapayasa is ready!

Enjoy this delicious dessert warm, or chilled in the refrigerator.

 

 

COORG YERCHI STEW (MUTTON STEW)

Rachel Bheemaiah is a yoga instructor by profession and at present teaches power yoga at Akshar Yoga Institute at HSR Layout in Bangalore. Married to BiddandaBheemaiah, and the mother of twin toddler boys, Rachel has strong roots in Coorg. She shares a recipe for a nourishing mutton stew made Kodava style.

Says Rachel: “I often prepare this recipe at home for my dear family members who gorge on the chunks of mutton and sip its luscious gravy! It’s easy to prepare, and is perfect served for lunch or dinner.”

 Yerchi Stew (Mutton Stew)

 Ingredients:

 ½ kg mutton cut into medium – sized pieces (with bones)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tspchilli powder

Juice of ½ lime

1tbsp ghee

½ cup sliced onion

5 green chilis, slit

½ tsp ginger, sliced thin

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ tsp crushed pepper

3 1”pieces cinnamon

6 cloves

2 green cardamom

2 sprigs curry leaves

3 potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes

½ cup thick coconut milk

2 cups thin coconut milk

1 tbsp maida (refined flour)

Salt to taste

Method:

Marinate the meat with a little salt, turmeric and chilli powder for 2 to 3hours.

Pressure cook the meat for 20 minutes on medium fire.

In a deep pan or kadai, pour the thin coconut milk, all the spices, onion, ginger, garlic, green chillis, curry leaves, and lastly, the meat. Cook on low heat until mutton is tender.

Make a thin paste of the maida with a little water or coconut milk.

When the meat is cooked, add the maida paste to the kadai and cook till gravy is thick.

 Add cooked potatoes and the ghee.Simmer.

 Finally, add the thick coconut milk and remove from the fire.

Add lime juice.

Serve hot along with paputtu or noolputtu.

 

 

 

HOT AND SOUR SHREDDED DRIED PORK

The featured recipe this month comes from Kodandera Panchami Praveen (in picture), an entrepreneur based in Gonikoppal who specializes in catering desserts and baked goods.

Panchami shares a recipe for a classic Kodava dish, prepared from dried pork. Says Panchami, “Traditionally, for this dish, the pork (wild boar) was sun-dried for two days, then brought to a boil in salt water, drained and pounded with a stone before being shredded and seasoned with masala. I have dried the pork using the oven grill – a modern take on a method which has come to us from our ancestors! Here is my recipe for Vanakerrchi Pulikootnad.”

Vanakerrchi Pulikootnad

(Hot and sour shredded dried pork)

Ingredients:

  • Fatless pork – 1kg, chopped into 1” pieces
  • Chilli powder -2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder -1tsp
  • Onions- 3 large, sliced
  • Green chillies-2-3
  • Bird eye chillis – a few
  • Curry leaves- 10-12
  • Kachampuli -1tbsp
  • Water -1/2 cup
  • Juice of two limes
  • Oil-2-3tbsp

Method:

Marinate pork pieces with kachampuli, and half the chilli powder, turmeric, and salt. Set aside for ten minutes.

Place the meat pieces on the grill rack and grill for 80 mins @250C.

Remove from the grill rack, cool, then grind coarsely. Do not over-grind. The meat should remain thread-like.

Next, heat a pan, add oil, then onions and sauté till soft. Add green chillies and bird eye chilli and sauté for a minute.

Add add curry leaves, and the remaining red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt.

Stir to mix, then add the shredded pork, mix well, then add lime juice and water.

Cook till it is dry.

Check the seasoning, garnish with coriander leaves, and relish with akki otti (rice roti).

 

 

NIMI’S KAAD MAANGE CURRY (WILD MANGO CURRY)

Regular readers of this site will no doubt have seen (and hopefully tried out) Nimi Chengappa’s (in picture) delicious crab curry recipe. Here she shares her recipe for Kaad Maange curry that had Chef Thomas Zacharias of Bombay Canteen smacking his lips. He  featured it in a National Geographic Traveller Magazine list of his Top Ten dishes to get packing for!

KaadMaange Curry (Wild Mango Curry)

Ingredients:

1kg wild mangoes,peeled  but whole

1 onion, finely sliced

1 tsp garlic/ginger paste

4 green chillies

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tspchilli powder

1 tsp dark roasted methi/mustard/jeera powder (equal portions, roasted separately and ground together)

4 cubes of jaggery (400 gms)

Salt to taste

Curry leaves

Method:

Place the mangoes in a deep vessel, add all the remaining ingredients and enough water to just cover the mangoes.Cover and cook until the mangoes have given off their juices and the curry has thickened nicely.

 

CURTAIN-RAISER: AUTHOR P.T. BOPANNA’S NEXT BOOK

I have been documenting various aspects of Coorg (Kodagu) for over one and a half decades through my websites, books and videos. The idea is to develop resource material on Coorg.

 In the absence of a script for the Kodava language, there was not much documented material available on the history and culture of Coorg. It was only after the British annexed Coorg in 1834, various aspects of Coorg life and culture were chronicled by the British administrators.

I am of the view that documenting life and practices of a community cannot be done by one individual. It requires a multidisciplinary approach, as with my book “The Romance of Indian Coffee” which won a prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2016.

In the circumstances, I invited several writers and researchers to contribute their expertise. I wish to thank them all, especially Boverianda Chinnappa and Nanjamma, who have been of great help.

During the course of my research and documentation, I realised Coorg had a rich culinary tradition which was worth preserving.

To that end, I put together the Coorg recipes website www.coorgrecipes.com in 2006 with assistance from knowledgeable persons. There was provision in the website for people to contribute their Coorg recipes.

Over the years, the recipe website has garnered a rich collection of Coorg recipes contributed by home cooks. With the internet boom, there has been steady traffic to the site, from readers seeking Kodava recipes. People living away from Coorg have found it an invaluable resource when seeking recipes for traditional favourites.

Not being too familiar with culinary practices myself, I felt the need for involving someone knowledgeable in the field and with food writing experience, to curate the site to ensure the quality of the recipes being featured. I roped in Biddanda Shalini Nanda Nagappa (in picture), a Canada-based food blogger, who hosts “A Cookery Year in Coorg”, the most authentic Coorg food blog. Her popular blog features well-researched articles and family recipes.

I am pleased to announce that all this rich material on www.coorgrecipes.com is in the process of coming together in book form, which will be a more handy format for readers. The recipes range from traditional favourites, to innovative takes on classic preparations.They include top chef Naren Thimmaiah’s recipes for fish and chicken preparations in the Coorg style.

The book will also feature interviews with personalities in the culinary and cultural fields, and essays on various aspects of Coorg food and culture that have been contributed to the site. The proposed book will be well-illustrated with colour photographs of ingredients and preparations. The book will be curated by Shalini Nanda Nagappa.

– P. T. Bopanna