I went to visit my cousin sister and her husband in Coorg one last time. They will soon retire and move out from the beautiful coffee estates which are interspersed with orange trees and pepper creepers. I’m sure they’ll miss the place and the joy of tending to their kitchen garden in addition to encounters with wild pigs and elephants and cooking with firewood. I first visited them in Pollibetta when I was still in school. I still remember the tall silver oaks and the old English cemetery next to the church rolling up and down covered with a carpet of yellow flowers. I fell in love with the place and its people immediately and even so many decades later memories still put a smile on my face.

Every time I visited them, they were in different estates. This time my cousin sister decided to cook something different. She told me the Coorgi people (Kodavas) call it akki otti, which translates to rice rotis’. The way it is cooked is exactly how rotis’ are made in north India -partially roasted on both sides on a griddle and then finished over embers, or now more commonly over a gas burner. If you don’t want to do either, you can still  complete cooking on the griddle itself, pressing the edges of the otti with a clean cloth till it puffs up. IMHO however, nothing beats cooking on coals!

If you have chosen to use a wood fire or charcoal, make sure you don’t start the fire with kerosene or lighter fuel as it might leave a bad taste behind. Secondly, don’t burn nonsense in the hearth -eg. cardboard, paper, plywood etc.. or it might transfer some funny taste to your ottis’ in addition to some toxins.


Build your wood or charcoal fire in advance and let it burn well so that you have hot coals ready for finishing the ottis’ after you finish rolling them

1 cup short grained rice cooked till soft. It will be more than a cup after it is cooked.

My cousin sister partially ground the cooked rice to a paste, however it can be kneaded directly as well.
Now add the rice flour bit by bit and knead well

 No water is to be added while kneading. Add salt to taste. Rice powder is to be added bit by bit until the dough acquires the proper consistency. Adding too much rice flour will make the ottis’ hard.

Just like you make rotis’ or chapaties, divide the dough into lemon sized balls and flatten them on the board after dusting them with rice flour


Roll each otti out just like you would a chapati or roti
Heat on a hot griddle (tava) till it firms up a bit. Turn over and cook till the surface hardens a bit so that ash won’t stick to it when you put it in the hearth


Finally finish cooking the otti in the hearth on the live coals till it puffs up after moving away any firewood which is still on fire. You can turn it around with tongs so that the edges are properly cooked.

 Akki Otti and Pandi (Pork) curry seems to be a favorite combination with the Kodavas’


| Mrs. Asha Ivan |


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