Kodabale- A Karnataka Classic.

Pronounced as  Kod-ba-ley.

Recreating a classic dish always is challenging. Because the dish ,with its long history and reputation will already have set a standard.  Hence, naturally , we have expectations to meet those  standards. These dishes have the signature recipes that have been passed on from generations to generations and hence when we try to make them at home, we inevitably compare them with the original taste.

Classic dishes also are nostalgic. they take us down the memory lane and bring out our best memories of childhood .They remind us of the sweet moments we spent with our family. We tend to recollect and relish the memories of family members or  may be a particular person, otherwise whom we may have long forgotten. That is the power of food. It brings people together to share some great moments.

Kodabale is one such classic for me. Whenever I think of kodabale, I think of my little-girl days. Coffee and Kodabale was the most common combination in my mom’s house. At late evening hours, with fresh cup of filter coffee in hand, daddy, amma , my brothers and I used to sit in the patio of our house and enjoy some crisp and spicy kodbales.

My mom often used to make Kodbales at home and it was a great team project. While my mom, kneaded the spicy dough, my dad and the three of us used to help them roll and shape them into rings. we used to make these rings in batches and arrange them on a plate and then my mom would deep fry them in oil.

It was a fun activity for us kids to play with the dough and make funny animal shapes and ask my mom to fry them in oil. Couple of hours later big tall boxes fllled with Kodbales were ready to enjoy. It was a great time for togetherness and laughter.

Coming to the taste and specifications of this snack, there are many variations. As I mentioned before, the classics have certain standards and specifications . However as per individuals convenience and tastes the recipes often  gets modified. That does not make it a classic anymore, does it?

Many love coconut in the recipe while many ,including my mom, does not worry too much about adding coconut. Some add Ajwain, while others add jeera(cumin). Some like it crisp while others like it chewy.

Taking all these recipes into considerations I finally have my own version here. Finally a Classic recreated!

What we need:

1 cup of rice flour

1/4 cup fine semolina/sooji

2 tbsp Maida

2 tsp cumin

1 big pinch asfoetida

2 tbsp hot oil/melted butter.

salt to taste.

Oil for deep frying.

To grind:

1/4 cup of fresh coconut

10 dry red chillies

Method:

First grind the coconut and chillies into fine powder without adding any water.

then in a wide bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. add the coconut mixture and mix well. do not add any water yet.

Once all the ingredients mix well, add hot oil or butter. mix again. Now the mixture turns into a crumble. now add salt.

Next slowly sprinkle water and start bringing the mixture together into a pilable firm dough consistency. Caution: sprinkle water, gradually.

Once the dough is formed , knead very well for about 5 minutes.

Set aside.

Rolling into rings:

Take a small amount of dough and roll into a small ball on your palm or any flat surface. then slowly roll the ball into a long string . the thickness and length of the string should be like that of a string bean.

Once the string is is formed, roll it inwards to form a ring.

Make several of these rings and keep them on a plate.

Once the oil is hot, deep fry these into a golden brown /darker brown color on a medium flame.

Enjoy them with coffee.

Navratna Pulav

Nav- Nine, Ratna- gemstones. That is what it means. nav ratna – nine gemstones. Except we are not cooking with gemstones here. But the nine important ingredients that come together in this recipe are nothing less than gem stones, that makes this dish rich aromatic and flavorful .

There was a time, when I was not web savvy, I used to jot down recipes the moment I heard it from some one or watched it on TV. I used to just grab a notebook lying on the coffee table and start quickly jotting down the recipe. The recipes would find spaces in those last pages of the book or in the corner of an already filled up page or sometimes I even used to rip a tiny bit of paper and used to cram it with words almost illegible.

It was the excitement of finding a new recipe or the fear that if I miss it at that moment I would never learn that recipe ever. Those days were fun when I wanted to learn to cook and was all ears when my friends or family  talked about the dish.

Now times have changed so much that if I want to know about a recipe I know I will get it for sure, on the world-wide web. Well, most of the times.

This pulav  is one such recipe which I found  on the back pages of an old notebook when I was doing some closet cleaning. It was funny to see how I had almost squeezed the writing on the edge of the paper that I had to almost guess what those last ingredients are.

But don’t fear, now that I am quite a seasoned cook, I am confident about what I put in the dish and it is all safe.

Now, I am not exactly sure, to which place or culture this dish is indigenous to. I am guessing it is a Kashmiri cuisine. But please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Typically, this dish is rich with ghee, nuts like Pista, almonds and raisins for garnish. and also the dish is typically a combination of 9  fruits, vegetables and nuts. That is what makes it Navratna in a true sense.But I am forgoing all of that, reason simply  being I did not have those ingredients on hand and also I don’t like mixing sweet and spice together.

Oh Bummer, eh?

Introducing the Nav-ratnas:

Fresh grated Coconut- 1 cup

Cashewnut- A handful soaked in water

Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp soaked in water along with cashews

Cinnamon 1 stick

Star anise -1

Cloves- 3

Cardamom pods- 2

Saffron- I generous pinch soaked in warm water/milk

Yogurt- 1 cup

Others:

2 cups of Basmati rice, cooked and cooled for the grains to separate.

1 red onion grated

1 tomato pureed

1 cup of parboiled mixed vegetables( Cauliflower, beans, carrots peas)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

Method:

For Grinding: Grind in to a smooth paste, coconut ,cashews and poppy seeds. ( the soaking of cashew and poppy seeds aids in smooth fine grinding)

In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil. To that add Cinnamon , cardamom, star anise, cloves and fry for about 30 seconds until flavors pop out.Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until raw smell is gone.

work on medium heat through out.

Next add grated onion and fry for about 2 minutes until the rawness goes away and onion paste separates from oil.

Next, add the tomato puree and fry for about a minute until the paste cooks and separate from oil.

Next add the ground coconut paste and mix well . Let it cook for about a minute.

Next, add the parboiled vegetables and mix well for about a minute.

Add salt and chilli powder and mix well.

Finally add yogurt  and let the whole mixture cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

Mixing:

In another wide pan spread the cooled rice .add the soaked saffron all over the rice. the beautiful warm orange color starts spreading.  Pour the spicy vegetable mixture on top of the rice. I like to work with my hands at this point. Mix with your hands thoroughly the rice and vegetables and the gravy altogether, so that the mixture evenly coats all of the rice.

Add salt if needed. If the dish is dry, mix in some olive oil on top. Cover the pan with aluminium foil.

Now turn on the heat to  medium low. Keep the pan on heat for about 10 minutes and let the whole dish cook through.

Serve warm with some raitha on the side.