Roti (flat bread) made out of rice flour, is perhaps the unique specialty of Karnataka. It is
in many ways similar to the Thali-peet of Maharashtra, but the ingredients are rice flour
based. Consequently, it happens to be the popular breakfast item in many homes of
Karnataka. Replace rice flour with Ragi flour and it becomes Ragi Roti, another great
favourite in Karnataka.
Akki hittu or Rice flour (ground rice – the coarse variety can also be used, but will have to
be kept a little longer after the dough is made using water)
freshly grated coconut (the dry variety available in stores may be powdered in a dry
grinder and used)
fresh kothumbari soppu (dhaniya leaves)
jeerige (jeera, cumin seeds)
salt to taste.
finely chopped onions
finely grated carrots
finely grated cabbage
BataaNi kaaLu (green peas, even the frozen variety is OK)
red chili powder instead of fresh green chilies.
Take 500 gms of rice flour and add 3-4 finely chopped green chilies, chopped kothambari
soppu, 1 teaspoon of jeerige, a pinch of hing.
Add a handful of freshly grated coconut or powdered coconut.
Add water little by little as you mix them. Stop adding water when it can be rolled into one
lump (similar to wheat dough). The difference though is that this rice dough does not have
the elastic nature of wheat and therefore cannot be rolled out like a chapatti. So, this dough
has to be beaten into the pan. In order to do this, take a large flat pan or a Banale’ (Wok or
kayadyi), pour 2-3 teaspoons of oil at the centre. Keep a separate bowl of water.
Take out a small handful of rice dough (large lemon sized) and put it on top of the oil in the
middle of the pan.
Wet your hand in water, start gently pressing the dough from the centre outwards in circular
fashion. Keep repeating this by wetting the hand each time the dough starts sticking to your
hand. Continue beating outwards, till the dough spreads uniformly making a large circle.
Make sure the edges are not thick, by pressing them farther towards the outer
circumference. The oil should be just about enough to seep a little at the edges, finally. The
roti will be no thicker than a thin biscuit.
Now, make one hole in the centre using the forefinger, make four more holes about 2 inches
away from the centre in the four quarters of the circle. Pour in a few drops of oil into each
of these holes, a few drops of oil over the surface in general. These holes allow the steam
to escape and thereby keep the roti close to the pan. Close the pan with a lid, keep it on
medium flame. When the steam builds up and makes a sizzling noise (about 3-5 minutes),
take out the lid, use a flat shaped skillet to ease the roti out. Make sure that itis well baked
but not blackened. If you want it crisper, add a few drops of oil, continue to bake on low
flame for another 2-4 minutes. Take out and serve hot with a spoon of butter to go with.
After taking the roti out, it is necessary to cool the pan. This can be done either by simply
allowing it to cool down (takes longer) or turn the pan around, put the back of the pan
under cold running tap (quenching). The pan will be ready for the next round within
seconds. Generally, it is better to have two pans and alternate between them. Usually the
first roti needs more oil, subsequent ones need a spoon less.
The use of onion and grated vegetables gives an added taste to the roti. All these are mixed
before adding water and turned around well by hand. It is very common to do it with just
onions, not so common to do with vegetables or just plain roti. But adding chili powder
instead of chopped green chilies has adifference. It makes the roti reddish instead of white,
it also makes the khara (eravu, teekha) uniform. Particularly children may prefer green
chilies since it can be taken off after cooking, thereby keeping the roti mild.
BACK HOME DURING THE AVARE’ KAAYI (fresh Lilva) SEASON of Jan-March it is
common to add AVARE’ KaaLu to this roti (ooh, it tastes so good). Flat beans can be used
elsewhere, though the taste will not be in any way comparable toAvare’ KaaLu (fresh
Lilva) over which the people of Karnataka go gah gah ENJOY THIS NICE ONE ON A
WEEK-END. IT WILL MAKE YOU YEARN FOR MORE.