Priya Mahadevan – my guest blogger of this series – needs no introduction. Her popular blog – Now Serving intrigues me quite a bit, as it would to most of you there , with a veritable spread of international cuisine adapted to her family’s palate. Her extensive menu also features very popular South Indian dishes, and today’s dish – Mor Kali (yoghurt based dish) is my family’s favourite too: So much so that my grandmom told me that a good housewife should know to make Mor Kali and Athirasam (another south Indian sweet delight) with equal fervour as both look easy, but can go horribly wrong if you miss out the proportion. Without taking too much of your mind space, lets move on to Priya’s delicious recipe preceeded by a brief intro of how she perceives Indian cuisine, while managing three demanding kids with gusto ! Thank you Priya for your write up as well as the recipe !! Over to Priya’s recipe and post in the following lines..
First, I’d like to thank Kalyanifor her gracious invitation to do a guest post for her – I am both flattered and honored to do it. have lived out of India for 18 years now. The first 8 years were wonderful and I did not feel too homesick because we lived among a large and vibrant Indian community which celebrated most every festival of India and we very happily participated in these festivities. Every weekend we got an occasion to cook for a potluck, wear our saris and lehengas, feel the motivation and enthusiasm to be a part of all the fun. For the last almost 10 years, we have lived in a small town called Charlottesville, an hour and half away from DC and an hour from Richmond – Does not seem like a very big commute, but on a weekly basis with 3 kids, wearing the several hats that most moms in the US do, it is next to impossible to consider commuting back and forth to a big city – thus we settled to a quiet and sober life with everyday being the same, a sad apology for an Indian association, fragmented by divisions which I always believed every Indian shed when they moved to another country – Not south Indian or North Indian, but just Indian – There is also a big difference in the mindset and attitude of Indians in the mid-west – who are warm, welcoming, and inclusive – Whereas in the east coast, no body could give a fig! Given this situation, the best thing that happened to me was blogging – I get my cultural fix as I hop from one blog to another enjoying the virtual treats and visual eye candy J
But I have learned to safeguard our traditions and culture for the sake of my children and also for my pleasure and that of my husband. If we don’t we may just as well give it all up and forget about our roots. I cannot allow that to happen—We are approaching Deepavali and its a popular festival that we get to celebrate with family – I am planning the countdown for Deepavali, much like I used to starting a month ahead of the date when I was growing up in India – we could not sleep for the excitement of the morn – The loud burst of crackers, the garland crackers (oosi sarams) the oil baths, the sambrani, , the new clothes, the bakshanams, the lakshmi pooja, the wonderful smells of food all the way down the street, the visits to the neighbors for sweets and savory exchanges, the matinee shows, the evening gala with flowerpots and rockets – Ah those were some memories – I still can see my parents sitting in their chairs in the Verandah as they watched us go gingerly to light the sparklers over the flower pots!
I want to leave behind a legacy of our rich culture and traditions for my children so that they may pass it on either in entirety or at least in a somewhat diluted form. I hope that sooner than later, I will be back in India for good to reclaim those wonderful occasions and relive them with my husband, children and my brothers and sisters families.
While food is something I have adapted to suit my needs in this country, my primary focus now is on ensuring that the food on the table is healthy & well balanced with our dietary needs – That hardly means that it is not exciting or for that matter inedible – On the contrary, I am happy to have been able to produce healthy and delicious meals for my family and the friends who visit us on occasion. I have experimented a lot in fusion foods, trying different spices and herbs in different cuisines to check out compatibility and more often than not, I find that they are incredibly adaptive of other cuisines too.But I do think certain things need to remain traditional, authentic and true to the cuisine it belongs to. So for this I would post I would like to make a very traditional south Indian and not so commonly written about yogurt based dish called More Kali . Wishing you all a wonderful, safe Deepavali – May Goddess Lakshmi’ s blessings be abundant in each of your homes – xoxo priya. Let’s get on to the recipe, now !
Mor Kazhi as it is referred to is a simple yet subtle and at times challenging to make dish for the novice – hence after all these years, I have the confidence to blog it J More means buttermilk in Tamil and you cook rice flour in buttermilk adding some flavors to it to describe the dish simply.It is a good breakfast and/or tiffin or palaharam dinners that we often enjoyed in my mom’s home – My father was crazy about it and my love for it has tripled in my adult years!
- 1.5 cups of thick buttermilk
- ½ cup of rice flour
- ¼ tsp each of mustard seeds & urad dal
- A pinch of asafetida
- 1tbsp of more molagai (available in India stores, this is dried chilies soaked in salty buttermilk and dried out and sold as such)
- Curry leaves
- 2-3tsp of olive oil
- salt – if required
- Mix the buttermilk and rice flour in a smooth thick consistency, making sure there are no knots in the batter – this can be done either with a whisk or in a blender like I did
- In a saucepan, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds along with the asafetida
- Add the more (buttermilk) molagai (chili) and brown it all around before adding the urad dal
- Now slowly pour the batter into the saucepan, stirring as you pour
- Once all the batter has been poured, keep stirring constantly
- The batter will start to thicken and you stir until it comes clean off the sides and rolls onto the ladle –
- This takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes depending on the strength of the flame
- The cooked rice flour will lot less white that you first started
- When it cools slightly, you should be able to roll it up in your hand without being sticky
- Garnish with curry leaves and serve
- Perfect as is with the spice from the more molagai, but if you are “I need a side” person, some cilantro chutney would be good 🙂
Cheers and thanks again Kalyani for inviting me to do this guest post!