Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Steamed Rice & Spinach Spicy Balls (Palak Piyava Mudde/ Spinach Onion Mudde)

The cold spells and chilly weather makes me yearn for warm home cooked food all the time. Couple of days back, I made this traditional style of eating spicy rice and vegetable balls called as Mudde or Muddo in Konkani. It is cooked batter, usually mixed with vegetables of choice. We make different versions of Mudde at home. Essentially, Mudde is a lump or dumpling of batter cooked with or without vegetables of choice. In olden days, during my Grandmom's era, they were shaped as balls and steam cooked just on its own. Later, Idli moulds came into the picture, my aunts also steam them in Banana leaf & Jackfruit leaf containers. I prefer cooking them in Idli stand with indendations; that way the quantity is just right for a bite!

Mix the basic batter with vegetables of choice - Cabbage, Onion, Taro Leaves, Cassia Tora leaves (Taikilo), steam them and serve with warm coconut oil. Don't skip this step else you will miss the flavour. For best flavour, devour them when they are piping hot. The Mudde is very healthy since it is steam cooked. It blends well as a side dish for many a Konkani curries and daals. The blend & balance of coconut and rice is key; if you add more coconut, the steamy cakes fall apart, less coconut they turn hard and unedible. My Grandmom makes the best Onion and Cabbage Mudde. You could use Idli Steamer stand (with indentations) or Idli steel moulds which you get at Indian or Ethnic stores to steam cook the little goodies.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 10-12

Batter -
Rice (Sona Masoori variety) - 1 cup
Coconut (grated - fresh or frozen) - 1 cup
Red Chillies - 5-7

Tamarind - small lump
Asafoetida - Just a pinch
Pure Coconut oil

Vegetables (chopped) - 3 cups
[Any of these - Onion, Spinach, Cabbage, Taro leaves, Cassia Tora leaves]

Contraption - Idli Steamer and Idli Stand or Idli moulds

Wash vegetables, chop them and keep aside. Wash rice in multiple rounds of water till clear and soak for 2-4 hours. Drain rice and keep aside. Heat few spoons of oil and roast the red chillies for couple of minutes. Allow to cool. Grind to a coarse paste with rice and red chillies. Add salt and Asafoetida. The paste should be very coarse so rice should break into 2-4 pieces for better flavoured Mudde. Add less or no water and make a coarse paste. Mix in the chopped vegetables in the paste. Pour scoops of this paste on each of the Idli stands indentation and steam cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot with a garnish of coconut oil. Serve as a side dish along with Paej/ Kanji/ Soupy Brown Rice.

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