‘My ottu shavige dreams were rarely indulged, until I got married, and took notes from my mother-in-law’
As I effortlessly unmoulded the steaming scorching rice cones on to the shavige press with out having to run a knife alongside the sides of the tumbler, my husband quipped, “So, you are quite a pro now.”
I was thrilled at the uncommon praise from him, for ottu shavige is a speciality in his hometown Parampalli in Udupi district and occupied a spot of pleasure in my mother-in-law’s huge cooking repertoire. In reality, there was all the time a sure sense of anticipation and hype each time she made it.
This was not completely unwarranted, as the preparation was laborious and had to be completed a day or two prematurely, and the portions ready had been fairly giant. But it was an event a lot regarded ahead to and the dish was immensely loved by all in the household. Given that it was my childhood favorite too, I determined to learn the way to make it over a decade in the past.
Also often known as ‘akki shavige’ and ‘idiyappam’, ottu shavige, which roughly interprets to hand-pressed rice noodles, is a speciality in numerous components of South India. My mom would all the time wax eloquent on its preparation, which was akin to a minor celebration in her childhood house, with a family of over 40 individuals. A woman assist can be referred to as in for the event and a urgent machine introduced in on rent. Kilograms of rice flour can be cooked and steamed into balls, and the urgent would go on for hours. Satiating the complete family was a mammoth activity.
Onerous course of
As a baby, I usually fantasised about this delicacy, however we might by no means make it at house. Growing up in a nuclear household in 80s’ Hyderabad, the place the dish was hardly recognized, getting maintain of a shavige press was an onerous activity, if not unimaginable. So, my shavige desires had been solely not often indulged, principally once we occurred to go to a good friend of my mom who used to make it. Otherwise, it was all the time good ol’ Bambino vermicelli that was our supply for shavige tub. But, as my mom all the time mentioned, this might by no means examine to the style of freshly pressed rice noodles.
When we finally moved to Bengaluru in the late 90s, we tried making it at house. The onerous course of includes cooking rice flour in boiling water till it turns into comfortable but agency sufficient to be rolled into balls and steamed for about quarter-hour, after which the balls are despatched into the press to emerge as string hoppers.
The amount of rice flour and water is of utmost significance — an excessive amount of water and the ball will get too sticky and can’t be pressed. Too little water and the flour stays raw and brittle. Often, throughout our trials, we ended up with a sticky mass of rice flour that had to be repurposed into akki rotis or dosas.
The proper system continued to evade me, till I bought married. On a go to to my husband’s hometown for the pageant of Gowri Habba, my pleasure knew no bounds when I noticed my mother-in-law deftly urgent out stunning mounds of shavige. I rapidly started taking notes. I was stunned to study that the batter was constructed from soaked uncooked rice as opposed to rice flour. My enthusiasm to make the advanced shavige was met with scepticism since I wasn’t actually recognized for my culinary prowess. Nevertheless, I made my notes with steely resolve.
Back house, I splurged on a small shavige press, recognized regionally as a shavige mane. I adopted my notes to the tee and the consequence was not dangerous in any respect. I made it many occasions thereafter, and every time it turned out higher than earlier than. One self-taught trick was to grind the batter thick whereas including small portions of water at common intervals.
It has been over a decade of shavige-making and now I have a a lot bigger brass press. I all the time make it some extent to use purple parboiled rice, which isn’t solely more healthy however tastier too. The dish is an everyday characteristic at house and one which not solely makes holidays and festivals extra particular but in addition conjures up fond reminiscences of a less complicated previous.
4 cups purple parboiled rice or lengthy physique boiled rice
1 cup Sona Masuri uncooked rice
1 tbsp coconut oil/ cooking oil for greasing
Salt to style
1. Wash and soak the parboiled and uncooked rice in water in a single day, or for 10-12 hours. Grind to a clean however thick paste which is spoonable or might be held in your palm. Let the batter relaxation for 8-12 hours. Add salt and blend effectively.
2. Grease some tumblers with oil and replenish to 3/4th with the batter.
3. Place in a steamer and steam for about 45 minutes.
4. While nonetheless scorching, unmould the steamed rice cones from the tumbler on to the shavige press. (Use a knife on the sides to demould in case the steamed rice cones stick to the sides of the tumbler.) Move the shavige press in a round movement to get delicate string hoppers.
5. Serve with sweetened coconut milk/ mango rasayana for a candy model. For a savoury deal with, toss the noodles in a tempering of mustard seeds, lentils, curry leaves and freshly grated coconut, topped with lemon juice and asafoetida.
The freelance author from Bengaluru has a ardour for journey, tradition, meals and design.
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