This scene from one of my all time favorite movies 'My cousin Vinny' never fails to elicit a hearty chuckle, not matter how many times i watch the movie. The take home message ( if there is such a thing to be had from a complete 'masala' flick) is, the time taken to create any food from scratch is well worth it!
We seem to be ploughing through a lot of South Indian Breakfast dishes on this page and 'More Kali' (or buttermilk gruel) happens to be a total comfort for for many a southerner from the Indian subcontinent just as Grits are for southerners from the good ol' US of A.
The basic principle is the same, soak the starch in boiling liquid, add salt & cook till soft & gooey, top with a dollop of butter & chow down! The intrinsic Carb addiction in most of us ensures that it tastes delicious! The flip side, over indulgence!
My take on More Kali combines ingredients & techniques from 3 countries, but the end result is the same. YUM!
Slicing the more kali into rounds & grilling it a la an Italian polenta style gives it an extra bit of crunch & serving it thus gives it a certain measure of portion control..Hopefully!
Its served with dollops of butter & a cranberry/pepper/ ginger relish (or to put it another way, the cranberry analog of a kerala favorite 'puli inji') and fried preserved chillies (available in Indian groceries as 'more chillies)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup grits or corn/maize meal (The white variety)
1 cup buttermilk preferably soured
Salt to taste,
A pinch of asafetida.
1 tbsp olive oil
Finely minced green chilli,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
Since it isn't easy to get soured buttermilk commercially, I soaked the rice flour & grits in the buttermilk along with the salt & asafetida & let it sit overnight.
In a Pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds & finely minced green chillies. once the mustard seeds pop, add the buttermilk soaked grits & rice flour, (you may add some water to thin out the mix so it doesn't dry out before getting cooked). Mix, well, cover & let it simmer on a low flame till the mix gets thick.
Spread onto a plate & let cool. Cut out rounds & grill with a drop of oil till golden. Alternately broil till golden on top (which is what I did for the photo session)
For the Cranberry ginger relish, you need:
1 cup diced green, yellow & red Pepper (capsicum)
5 Jalapenos diced (adjust to taste).
1/4 cup grated ginger,
1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries.
Salt to taste,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp Sesame oil
1/2 tsp toasted & crushed fenugreek seeds
a pinch of asafetida powder
for the tempering,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
1 dried red chilli pod
1 tsp sesame oil
In a skillet, heat 1 tsp sesame oil till smoking add mustard seeds & red chilli pod til they respectively sputter & turn golden brown. Add cranberry, bell pepper and jalapeno & fry till the raw smell dissappears and the cranberries begin to pop. Add Salt, turmeric, asafetida, grated ginger and the remaining oil & cook till the cranberries are very soft & mushy. The relish is done when the oil begins to separate. Add crushed toasted fenugreek seeds & remove from the gas burner. Allow to cool & store in a clean glass or ceramic jar. This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.