I mostly go home only once a year, usually for Christmas. This is also when I grill the poor old things at home for posts for my blog. I hate to do this as this kind of information is passed on during casual conversation or while doing something related together, rather than through interrogation. Many times it ends up causing a mental block in the interviewee as I try to make the most of my available time. Mum and her sisters are so used to doing things without recipes and measurements as repeating them again and again over 60 years has made it part of themselves.
The best way to go about things and refresh the memory however is to do it practically, as it rekindles old memories and gives momentum to the flow of information trapped in those wise old heads. The reason for presenting this post out of order is that I received at least four hits from Google with people looking for the recipe for this dish and I felt guilty for withholding this information as it was more or less ready for publishing.The Nook adde (yeah that’s what the semai adde is also called) press has already been described in a previous post and I must confess that I have never had an opportunity to witness a hand operated press in operation apart from faint childhood memories. This post is written to preserve for posterity how it was made in my mother’s family. I’m sure some of my nephews and nieces would want to know about it when they come of age.
I borrowed the press from my aunt who rescued it from ending up with a scrap dealer, and her daughter graciously assisted my mother in demonstrating the technique. From my mother’s side there was only one condition -that I should do the grinding. This seemed simple enough until I actually sat down to do it. Grinding half cooked rice without adding any water is a nightmare in any generation -especially for the poorly built sedentary workers from mine. Not much writing to do here, hope you are ready for a lot of pictures!
Observant people must be wondering why we prepared two trays for receiving the noodles. When I asked mum, I realized that she accidentally did it from habit. In her time, it was a high speed operation consisting of a team of members from the household as hardworking farm hands would need to eat a large quantity of these noodles to fill their stomachs. So while one person was cranking the press, two were ready to collect the noodles turn by turn and transport them to the table. Probably someone who finished eating would then come and relieve the person who was part of the team so that they could catch up with breakfast.
Don’t confuse these with Idiappams’ in which the steaming is done after pressing the noodles.
This tastes best with coconut milk sweetened with jaggery, just like steamed sweet potatoes go well with lightly salted or sweetened coconut milk. It should also have no trouble teaming up with any of our gravies/curries in coastal south Karnataka. I heard that it was sun dried and stored up in Mudi’s (A round package created by wrapping either rice or in this case dried semai adde in hay) in the rafters above the hearth where smoke from the cooking fire kept it safe from pests. It was used as a snack for kids and also used during lean times and probably carried along when travelling.
There is some folklore which goes along with this dish as its name “nook or nooku” means to push (In Tulu). It was common practice for folks travelling to stay with friends or relatives on their way as there were no Hotels in the old days. Hence when guests overstayed, they were served the Nook adde and they were supposed to take the hint and leave. It was synonymous with pushing the guest out of their house. Hope you enjoyed this post!
CREDITS: | Manorama Soans | Prabhavati Kunder | Rohini Mathias | Sumana Pramodan
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