Friday, 4 September 2009

Aana pathal/ Kozhi Pidi (Steamed Rice Dumplings in Rich Coconut and Beef Gravy)

AanaPathal (N.B: First of all, it is not aana which means elephant, but it is pronounced as 'na' as in naanam, naanayam etc.)/ Kozhippidi is one of the exotic food hailing from the Great Malabar coast. These are small rice dumplings that are steam cooked and then added to rich gravy that are mainly meat/poultry based. I think great recipes as these are dying now since the process is quite long and takes very long time to prepare. In this era of mechanical life and metropolitan life style who would ever bother spending 3-4 hours just cooking a dinner or a lunch for the sake of eating? No way! These kind of rich dishes are mainly made for the time of Ramadan where you cook just one meal a day; and you need something that you would love to nibble on rather than a quick fix or a takeaway. After all it’s just once a day that you eat, apart from the Suhur (Pre-dawn meal). So it should be satisfying as well. I am not a great savoury person as such, but during Ramadan I always prepare something savoury that I don’t make usually and aanapathal is such a dish. I am not happy by the span of time aanapathal takes to prepare, especially with a little one who clings on to me whenever I step into kitchen. He wants to see everything that I do. So it took me more time than expected. But, to keep him busy, I just sat him on the worktop, gave him a small ball from the dough for him to play with. He was also trying to make the pidis like me, rolling the dough with hand and then pressing it using his cute little finger to make the depression.
One of my readers just mentioned that they call these UnniPathal in thalassery. I think when we use meat in the recipe it is called irachi pidi/erachi pidi...and when we use chicken it is called kozhi Pidi where kozhi is chicken:)

I think it is important to make pidis quite small because the gravy gets coated well on the individual dumplings rather than the bigger ones. And apart from that, the smaller one looks CUTE! We used to help mom to make these dumpling and when it gets larger, she re-do them saying they won’t look good! Here, I make them slightly bigger to finish up the work faster..

I made this stuff only twice just because my husband is not a big fan of Rice-meat combination. Even then he liked it very much when I prepared it. You may substitute chicken or lamb with the beef. My favourite has always been beef, because that’s how my mom prepared it always. When I cooked this for the first time, the pidi did not come out good. It dint get cooked!!!And it would never get cooked as well just because I used the wrong rice for this. And we ended up having something else with the gravy. So choosing the right rice is crucial for this recipe. I had tough time getting the right rice for this kind of dish, due to my lack of knowledge in rice and you can’t believe there are so many kind of rice that looks so similar even the experts might get a bit confused. Again the dough for the Pidis (rice dumplings) are prepared in the same way I prepared
Neypathal. You can see the methods I followed there and prepare this pidi as mentioned there. Anyways, if you are someone who loves tasty food, I would recommend you to try this one. Yes, It is so good.
For the Pidi:
2 cups long grain rice (Pachari)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
2 tspful fennel seeds (Perumjeerakam)
1 large onion (175g), roughly chopped
3/4 Tbs salt
1/2 cup +2 tbs Rice flour

For the gravy:

800 g Beef cut in cubes (Can use chicken or mutton)
3 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
4 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
250 g onion, chopped
30 g (1 heaped Tbs) grated ginger
6 large cloves (2 Tbs) of grated garlic
200g (1 cup) chopped tomato
1 cup water
1-2 tbs oil

For making coconut paste:
2 tbs oil
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups Grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)
2 Tsp rice
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cardamoms
4 cloves
2-3 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
2 cups water

A. For making the pidis:

1. Soak the rice in tap water for 3-4 hours.(Soak for longer time if using parboiled rice).

2. Grind it along with minimal water until you get a coarse and grainy mixture

3. Add coconut, fennel seeds and roughly chopped onions to this and grind for few seconds until everything is just crushed and NOT smooth.

4. Tip the whole mixture in to a large bowl, add salt and mix well.

5. Add the rice powder and mix well using hands until you get a dough that can be shaped into balls.

6. Now, rub your palms and fingers using oil. Take a very small portion of the dough, roll it into rounds and gently press in the middle to make a depression. The size of these pellets should be as small as coin of 1 1/2 " diameter (appx)

7. Oil the steamer and arrange these pellets directly in it in after pressing in a slanting position adjacent to each other.

8. Steam cook for 8-10 minutes until done. The soft rice dough will harden once fully cooked.

For making the coconut Paste:

1. Heat a large frying pan, add oil. Add rice, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and sauté until the aroma comes and rice puff up little. It will take just few seconds or under a minute depending on the heat and saucepan used.

2. Add fennel seeds and coconut and sauté until the coconut starts taking golden colour.

3. Grind all into a smooth paste by adding the required amount of water, I added 2 cups (480 mls).

For making the Gravy:

1. Heat a pressure cooker, add oil. When hot, Add onions and salt and sauté till it starts turning golden. Don’t brown. Add ginger and garlic and saute till raw smell fades.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes, cover and cook for few minutes until everything is well combined.Add chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for few seconds.

3. Add beef and stir well. Add a cup of water and pressure cook till meat is cooked and oil clears from sides. Add the ground coconut mixture, curry leaves and garam masala to this and bring to boil stirring well. Cook for a couple of minutes more.

4. Add the cooked pidi into this one, stir well and cook in very low flame for 5 minutes. Take it off the flame. By this time, the gravy will be very thick coating all the pidis.

The sequence I followed:

1. I made the rice dough ready for making pidis. I then kept them aside.

2. Then I started off with the gravy.

3. When the gravy was being done, I shaped the pidis and cooked them.

4. After the pidi's were done, I sautéed the coconut and ground them and then added them to the curry.

5. Later added pidi to curry.

1. The process is quite lengthy, but the gravy can be made a day ahead and then the pidis the next day.

2. If you are not using water while grinding, you don’t have to use the rice powder. So increase the amount of rice to 2 ½ - 3 cups.

3. As I mentioned in
Neypathal, this pidis can also be made from rice powder, parboiled rice etc. The dough is exactly the same, but for aanapathal we steam the rice where as in Neypathal we fry them. If using parboiled rice, try to get PONNI rice. It works well for this. Please see how I made the dough for Neypathal . Because the dough is the same.

4. Before making the pidi, try by grinding little rice and steaming it. If it gets cooked in less than 10 minutes, then that rice should work fine for this recipe. I had to waste whole lot of the rice dough the first time I made it, because as I told you, the rice wasn't the right one.

5. You can add few greenchillies if the curry is not spicy enough. Since my Kashmiri Chilli (Melam Brand) is quite hot, I dint use any Green chillies in the gravy.

Before I go, Here comes another award from my beautiful friends Sushma Mallya and Faiza Ali has passed on to me the beautiful Honest scrap Award. Thank you sweeties.

Requirements of the award:-I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it .
I must list 10 honest things about myself .
I must put a copy of Honest Scrap logo on my blog .
I must select atleast 7 other worthy bloggers and list their links.
I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
I will try to be honest while writing honest things about me:)
1. I love little kids and babies. They are so adorable and cute! Probably they would hate me because I always squeeze them.
2. I love cooking a lot and trying out new recipes, a recently discovered obsession. I also love love anything that is food related ;crockeries, cookery shows, cookery books and foodies too!
3. I am a computer/Internet addict. I Can spend hours sitting on it and browsing.
4. I used to be an athletic/ sports person during my school days and now I am a lazy home-maker.
5. I have the worst habit of munching on something every time.
6. I am very slow at eating, which I find it very difficult especially during Parties and weddings.
7. I talk a lot, and sometimes I hate it.
8. Love sweets and chocolates. If those things don’t make me fat, I can live on them without having anything else.
9. Love to cook for the ones I love and love to please them with good, comforting food. I love it when my dad comes into the kitchen looking for sweets; he knows that if I am there at home, there would be some sweet goodies around. He loves my Gulab Jamun, Saba's Cheesecake and the biscuit caramel pudding alot. He’s got such a sweet tooth, goodness!.....Now you know where I got my sweet tooth from!
10. And for the last one, I am a Libra-Scorpio Cusp!
I would like to pass on this award to the following Honest Bloggers:

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