Discover more from Sattva
Sattva : Issue 18
A hearty Uttara Karnataka meal | tips to make soft, non-cardboardy jowar rottis | Year end recap | My current fav tipple
Sattva (सत्त्व) is a beautiful Sanskrit word that has many meanings—spirit, true essence, good sense, wisdom, quality of purity, energy, consciousness and mind, among other things.
Through this fortnightly newsletter, I want to bring to you all things good, which will make your life better. My focus will be on topics such as mindfulness, productivity, slow living and sustainability, accompanied by genuinely useful recommendations of products, books, music, links to read, and of course food and recipes. Through these, I hope to instil some Sattva in your life.
Uttara Karnataka Jolada Oota
A muslin hanky like roti made with jowar (sorghum) flour served with half a dozen accompaniments comprises the hearty jolada rotti oota (jowar roti meal) from North Karnataka or Uttara Karnataka. It is the standard menu served in a khanavali. For a full virtual experience, you can watch the founder of Food Lovers TV, Kripal Amanna showing you around Basaveshwar Khanavali, a restaurant in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, the first of which was opened in Hubballi (Hubli) in 1963. These meals are naturally gluten-free as the bread is made using jowar flour. A number of seasonal vegetables and legumes feature in these spicy side dishes. Podis and chutneys also make an important part of the meal.
5-6 years ago, when Kamat Lokaruchi opened in our vicinity, we would love to go there for their big Karnataka breakfast on weekends and the jolada rotti oota on weekdays. Unfortunately, the place shut down due to the pandemic.
As it may already be evident, jowar rotti is the star of the meal. In the khanavalis, freshly ground jowar flour is made into a dough with boiling hot water and the supple balls of dough are hand patted with practised precision on a large granite stone. I have tried making these rotis a few times and they have always been unwieldy to roll out, and turned out like cardboard sheets, to the point that I had given up on ever making these. A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky to learn how to make soft jowar rotis – the newbie edition, from my neighbour Shwetha Satish who not only helped procure freshly ground flour but also patiently taught us the tips to remember along the way. I am sharing with you all the tips that Shwetha shared with me.
Tip to make soft, non-cardboardy jowar rottis
Use freshly ground flour. Stale flour will not bind the way fresh flour does, neither will it taste the same.
Use boiling hot water to bind the dough, using a wooden spoon at first and then kneading gently with your hands until you get a smooth and supple (almost bouncy) ball of dough.
Use wheat flour for dredging and rolling out. Don’t be scared to use a generous quantity of flour. I’ll tell you why in the next tip.
Keep a bowl of water and a clean cloth handy. When you transfer the rolled-out roti on the hot tava, the side which is floured more should be facing up. Using a ball of wet cloth, very gently dab the floured side of the roti which is cooking on the tava. The wet cloth will absorb all the dry flour from the roti.
When you turn the roti to the other side, press lightly all around using a turner and in all probability, the roti will fluff up on the tava itself (keep the flame on high). Or else, turn it over one more time and it will fluff up in parts, if not fully.
Even if the roti does not fluff up, it will be soft. For this, keep a casserole with a cotton napkin handy. Place the prepared rotis wrapped in the cotton napkin inside the casserole.
Serve/eat after 15-20 minutes when the steam in the casserole softens the rotis further.
If you let the rotis dry out over a few days, these will turn crisp like khakhras. These can be eaten dipped in curries.
Now that the rotis are all set, let’s take a look at the accompaniments that make the meal.
The most important one is shenga chutney pudi or peanut chutney. This coarse powder of peanuts and spices adds oomph to each bite of the jolada rotti meal. My neighbour Shwetha also shared some hand pounded peanut podi from her kitchen to go with the rottis and it was one of the best condiments I have ever tasted. This podi goes well on buttered toast. I can only imagine how good it will taste on bland avocado toast. Add it to a cup of dahi or have it with curd rice. Another favourite that I discovered was to top plain sauteed vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers and onions with this podi. No other spices or condiments are needed.
A rough recipe to make shenga podi
Dry roast a cup of peanuts over a low-medium flame for 10 minutes or so until crisp. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan, toast 6-8 cloves of garlic, 6 dried red chillies (for mild heat, use byadagi) and two teaspoons of cumin seeds for 3-4 minutes. Combine the peanuts along with the other ingredients and the required quantity of salt and a teaspoon of sugar and blend to a coarse powder. Save in an airtight glass jar.
Check out my favourite spice grinder and other kitchen appliances in my list here.
The other accompaniments I made to go with the jolada rotti were methi salad, jhunka (savoury cakes made using besan), tur dal and dill leaves dry curry and horsegram dal. The best pairing with jowar rotti is badenekai ennagai or baby eggplant curry. I could not make this as the small eggplants I ordered turned out to be rather ‘medium’ in size and that would not work for this curry. Another curry that is made specially to go with this meal is local (naati) capsicums sauteed in a peanut, sesame seed, niger seed and poppy seed gravy.
Think of this meal as an Ethiopian injera spread with multiple colourful side dishes or a mezze platter. You can enjoy an everyday meal with just the rotti, peanut podi and a vegetable side dish or make a variety of accompaniments for a more elaborate meal or a lunch or dinner party.
It’s high time we gave some love to our local dishes in our party menus. What say?
Food Lovers TV - Jolada rotti meals at Basaveshwar Khanavali
Jolada rotti meal 1 – Jowar rotti, green gram curry, tur dal-dill leaves palya, garlic chutney powder
A year-end recap and gratitude list
This list is not to blow my own bugle but to feel content from the big and small achievements of this year. I hope you will make one such list for yourself and give yourself a hug or a pat on the back. The years 2020 and 2021 have probably been the most stressful years for everybody and we need to sit back, give our self-critic a break and bask in some self-appreciation. So here goes my list. I’d love to hear a few things from you in the comments
I started learning music from Vidwan Mahesh Kale in Jan 2021. Those desirous of learning from him had to send a recording of a raag and I had sent that in October 2020 or so, with not much hope or expectations, knowing that there are tons of people who are better singers and more senior in this pursuit than me. Finally, when they asked me to join the online classes at the end of December, it was a dream come true to learn from one of the most revered and talented singers in this space. In the last year, I have found myself completely immersed in Hindustani classical music, listening to it on walks, coming up with raag alaaps in quiet times and trying to do at least 30 minutes of riyaaz every day. It’s a great feeling when I want to finish all my lined-up work quickly so I can relax with my riyaaz.
My long-awaited book Everyday Superfoods was released in March 2021, well in the middle of the pandemic, but has done decently well. If you are someone who bought a copy, you have my heartfelt gratitude. If you think the pursuit of wellness with science-backed writing interests you, do check it out on Amazon (both paperback and Kindle) or in your local bookstore.
I wrote and submitted my books three and four to the respective publishers, both of which are set for a 2022 release. It felt like a productive use of time while being mostly stuck at home for all of 2021.
My newsletter Sattva got started in Feb 2021, which now has 4000+ subscribers. If you have loved reading Sattva, please do share it with like-minded friends and family and help me grow the community. It will mean a lot to me.
Finding myself stressing out more than usual, I took to crochet in a small way. I made plenty of hair scrunchies, granny squares for a larger sofa throw project and a couple of woollen gaiters as a part of a community project to keep our security guards warm in the winter. Crocheting is so addictive and calming that I nearly forgot about Twitter and Instagram on the days I was on the hook.
Writing a column gives me a sense of discipline. Thinking of the topics, writing the piece, coming up with recipes, cooking and shooting the dish and submitting all within the set time is equal parts stressful and joyful if you get what I mean. This year, I wrote 23 columns in Mint Lounge with 56 seasonal recipes. You can check it all out here.
I decluttered a lot this year, trying to allocate a place to each thing in the house, to reduce ongoing clutter and things being scattered all around. I also consciously avoided buying too many things for the fear of cluttering up shelves and spaces all over again.
I’m sure I’m missing some other key moments from 2021. Blame it on the habit of not maintaining a journal. I also have a few regrets, which I must share with you, for life is not always highs and successes.
I have been struggling with my weight ever since the pandemic set in and have been trying to be mindful about my eating.
I have not done enough for my mental health by way of journaling or meditation.
Personal finance and investing are things that I have neglected sorely and I mean to work on them in the coming year.
I could have done better in keeping in touch with friends, even if just over the phone.
My new favourite tipple
Thanks to my neighbour, I discovered a new favourite spirit. It is Martini. Not the cocktail but the Italian sweet vermouth that you have with ice cubes and wedges of lemon or lime. Vermouth is wine fortified with herbs. It’s sweet and herby with alluring red colour and just super refreshing in any season. Its namesake cocktail martini is made using a mix of vermouth and gin. If you love negronis, it is the one bottle to stock up on. Stir up one part each of gin, Martini and Campari, pour over ice and garnish with an orange peel. Your negroni is ready to be sipped.
With that, adios to 2021. I hope to see you in a brand new edition of Sattva in January 2022. If you have any requests on what you would like to read about in Sattva in the coming year, please leave me a comment here or ping me on Instagram or Twitter.
I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas / happy holidays and a wonderful new year ahead.
P.S. In case you are having a small house party, I’m sharing my Spotify playlist with you <3
I would love your feedback on the newsletter. If you like what you read, please share it with your family and friends. I am grateful for your help in reaching my newsletter to a wider audience.
This newsletter may contain affiliate links for some products. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission if you purchase something by clicking on my link, at no extra cost to you. It helps support the newsletter.
None of the product mentions are sponsored unless explicitly mentioned.
See you in the next issue.