The most well known of all savory 'snack' or 'Bakshanam' offerings in South india are indubitably the 'Murukku' & 'Thattai'. The former are those 'snake like' coiled things that Chetan Bhagat describes in his book 2 States & the latter is christened with an unflattering moniker that literally translates as 'Flat' in English. But, these are staples in the South Indian pantry, savored at leisure with the afternoon tumbler of Filter 'Kaapi' (Coffee).
As beloved as these snacks are, the art of making them at home is going extinct. For one thing, they're both deep fried and Murukku atleast, is notoriously labor intensive. (For a beautiful nostalgic description of the entire murukku making process, I'll refer you to Ammini Ramachandran's book 'Grains Greens & Grated coconut, page 241)
For many of us in the US, we have adapted to an alternate comfort snack that we relish with our Starbucks coffee. The Biscotti. On a personal level, I miss the biscotti when I'm scarfing my Thattai & quite often, vice versa.
This Panfusine offerring has been through a number of iterations & I'd like to thank Panfusine followers Nita Ashok & Jyoti Ananth for being voluntary guinea pigs. I finally decided to go through the preparation as per standard techniques followed in baking. As in dry ingredients together, wet ingredients together & then mix the two & bake.
For the Thattai Biscotti (or as my other half calls it, a 'thattai cotti') You need:
1/3 cup rice flour toasted lightly
2/3 cup urad flour toasted golden
1 cup all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
~ 1 tsp Red chilli powder (adjust to your personal taste)
Sift the above ingredients into a mixing bowl & set aside.
4 tbsp melted butter
Water as needed
For the Tadka:
1 tbsp Mustard seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 sprig curry leaves torn to small pieces
1/4 tsp asafetida powder
1 tbsp sesame oil.
Heat the oil till smoking and add the mustard seeds. When they sputter add the sesame seeds & wait till they pop. At this point add the curry leaves & asafetida, taking care to avoid any spattering oil. remove from fire and add to the dry mixture.
Add the melted butter & combine till the dry ingredients are incorporated well.
Add required water and knead lightly to form a ball of dough. Shape into an elongated loaf
Bake @ 300 F for 30 minutes till the surface is slightly hard. Remove from oven & let the loaves rest for about 15 min.
Using a Sharp knife slice the loaf diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. (This can be tricky since the curry leaves tend to get caught in the grooves of the knife yanking off chunks of the loaf. Just do the best you can!)
Lay the slices flat on the baking tray & toast in the oven (@ about 200 F) till the sides are golden brown & crisp. Remove from the oven, let it cool & store in an airtight container.
Serve with Hot Filter coffee or Masala chai (or a Venti Latte!).
(& this was my lil 'dough' Ganesha for the good luck!!)