Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I Remember - Gatte ki Kadhi

Sometimes, it is difficult being yourself. Sometimes, you just want to go back to the cocoon that was your childhood and live life the way you used to. Yes you hated school, homework, your parents' constant concern and how your life was so structured. But what do you do when you find that growing up didn't make things any easier? Not only are your life's activities more controlled than they were, but you grew up to become, supposedly, an adult. No more hugs and kisses from your mom, getting tucked in at night by daddy, bickering and fighting for the last piece of chocolate with your siblings. The realization hits that those small, infinitesimal worries just grew up, as you did, to become large, infinite, never-ending struggles. And that is when, you about the past. That is when you look back, and try to recreate that magic. In my case, nostalgia comes in large part from food. My mom's way of making me feel special, and loved, was to cook up something she knew I liked. As I grew, this also became her way to tell me that she understood me, or missed me. So with this recipe, I hope to tell her that I miss her...everything about her.

This again is an authentic Rajasthani recipe. My naani made it really well. And I remember asking her once why everything she made was without onions or tomatoes. Her response was, 'because nothing grows here'. I don't know if that's the real reason behind the simplicity of Rajasthani food, but it does make sense in my mind. My mom cooked exactly the same as naani, but hers always tasted different. I loved my mom's cooking. And this recipe is one of few that come very close to hers when I make it.

Gatte ki Kadhi
( Steamed Gram flour logs in a yogurt gravy)

For Gatte

Besan/ Gram flour 1cup
Salt 1tsp
Red chilli powder 1/2tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Oil 1Tbsp
Water 250ml + more to knead

For Kadhi
Yogurt/ Dahi 1cup
Water 1cup
Salt 1Tbsp
Red chilli powder 1/2 Tbsp or to taste
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

For tempering
Jeera/cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Oil 1tbsp
Hing/Asafoetidia powder a pinch (optional)

  1. Mix Besan, spices and oil together and rub it together to resemble crumbs. With a little bit of water at a time, bring it all together till it forms a ball. The dough will be sticky and not hold together very well; but that's OK.
  2. Bring the 250ml water to a rolling boil in a wide mouth saucepan or wok.
  3. Rub some oil on your palms. Take a golf ball size lump of flour and roll it into a log, about 1inch thick between your palms. Repeat till you have done it with all the dough.
  4. Drop the dough logs into boiling water. Boil on high for about 5 min. They will be done when they float towards the top of water. Turn off heat, and allow Gatte to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the spices, yogurt and water together for Kadhi.
  6. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1tbsp oil, and temper the cumin seeds till they turn color. Add a pich of Hing, if using.
  7. Add your Kadhi mixture to the tempering. Bring to a boil with occassional stirring. Lower the heat and simmer.
  8. While the Kadhi simmers, cut the Gatte into smaller pieces, about 3/4 inch long.
  9. Pour the Gatte, along with the water they were boiled in, into the simmering Kadhi. Taste and correct for seasoning. Let it simmer some more, about 5-7 min. Turn off heat.
My two cents: This is a fool-proof, if slightly messy, side dish to make. Very typical of Rajasthani cuisine, it is usually served with missi roti. But you can accompany it with any type of Indian flat bread and it tastes great.

Sending it to Gayathri's Walking through the memory Lane event and to the Flavors of Rajasthan event hosted by Sonu of Palate Corner and started by Nayna of Simply Food.

Also linked to: Cooking without Onion & Garlic by Srivalli