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.
1 cup short grained rice cooked till soft. It will be more than a cup after it is cooked.
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.
Akki Otti and Pandi (Pork) curry seems to be a favorite combination with the Kodavas’
| Mrs. Asha Ivan |
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