Kadumbuttu (Coorgi Rice Balls)

Kadumbuttu, Coorg, Kodava, Rice, Rice ball
Kadumbuttu tower

A little on the late side, but finally here’s the recipe for the kadumbuttu to go with the pandi kari as promised in my last blog post.

Kadumbuttu, like pandi kari are typically Coorgi. They’re usually made with broken rice which are simply grains of rice that have fractured into smaller pieces during the milling process. They are separated from the full sized grains before packaging for sale. The small size of the broken rice means that it cooks a lot faster and can be used when a stickier texture is required.

Broken rice is generally thought to be inferior to whole grains and consequently has always been cheaper. As a result, a variety of tasty rice dishes evolved to make use of this readily available, cost-effective staple. In addition to Indian cuisine, it is also frequently used in Vietnamese cooking. In the UK however it’s rare; I’ve seen it being sold by Tilda, but only in 10kg bags! So unless you’re planning on some kind of rice ball festival, you’ll have to make your own – a pretty easy process that involves grinding basmati rice in a food processor after washing.

I’ve made my kadumbuttu plain, but I’ve also seen them flavoured with cardamom and grated coconut. As well as the pandi kari, they also go well with chicken and fish curries. A vegetable curry with a thick sauce would also work. In fact, we ate some leftover ones with a vegetable stir-fry last weekend!

Kadumbuttu (makes approximately 14, enough for 2-4 people depending on appetite)

150g basmati rice
500ml water
¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste

Wash and rinse the rice 2–3 times. Drain thoroughly. Place in a food processor and grind until coarse. You want approximately 4–5 fragments per grain. Keep aside.

Boil 400ml of water with the salt in a heavy based pan. Keep another 100ml of boiling water on the side.

Once the water is boiling, add the broken rice, reduce the heat slightly and keep stirring until you have a soft, sticky dough like consistency and the rice is cooked to al dente. Add more boiling water if necessary to get the right texture; I used the full 500ml. The rice should take 5–10 minutes to get to this stage. Take off the heat, cover and let it rest in its own steam for a further 5-10 minutes.

Once rested, uncover the pan, wet your hands with some lukewarm water and spoon some of the rice dough into your palm (wait a little longer if the rice is too hot for you to handle). I find gently squeezing the rice in one palm and then quickly juggling and squeezing it between both my hands works pretty well at getting a dense, round ball. The kadumbuttu should be about 1½ inches in diameter. Continue until all the rice dough is used up, wetting your palms for each ball to prevent them sticking to your hands.

Place in a steamer for 20-25 minutes, after which they’re ready to eat with pandi kari. Any leftover kadumbuttu can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and re-steamed when you’re ready to eat them.

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Nimbu Pani (Fresh Lime Soda) + Back Garden Limes

India back garden limes
Picking limes in the garden!

Stating the obvious, India (in the main) is a hot country. Yes, the north gets cold in the winter and has four distinct seasons, but the vast majority of the country is hot year round. This means a lot of sweaty people. Myself included. There’s no escaping it in humid Mumbai and is something we’ve had to accept and learn to live with.

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Mango, Ginger & Lime Preserve

Mexican/Key/Kagzi Limes and Kesar Mango, jam/preserve making
Preparing the preserve ingredients

Mango season will be over pretty soon unfortunately and I’ve been forced to wean myself off them. Although, not before we were gifted a box from a friend’s family farm containing a dozen each Alphonsoes and Kesars. Though we tried to eat them as fast as we could, we couldn’t keep up with the ripening! So instead I used a few to make a preserve to keep that mango taste going just that little bit longer. I used the Kesars, but any variety will do. Just adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of your mangoes – remember the cold preserve will taste less sweet than the raw ingredients. The final product is equally good both on toast and as an accompaniment to grilled fish.

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Alphonso Mango Sorbet

Box of Alphonso mangoes to make sorbet
Our first box of Alphonso mangoes

Our stuff still hasn’t arrived. Yawn. But I’m still happy because I’ve been gorging on Indian Alphonso mangoes. If you’ve never tried these, you must! They are the sweetest, juiciest, messiest mango! They’re only in season for around six weeks, and Indians tend to go pretty crazy for them.

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Blood Orange & Fennel Salad

Pretty oranges!
Pretty oranges!

I returned home on Saturday after spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his family in Norfolk. This was the climax to the over indulgence I had allowed myself all December. By the time I was back in London I was ready to give up all (or most!) of the bad eating and start being healthy again.

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