You can take out a person from his/her hometown but you can never take away the hometown from them. I’m no different from that. Being born in Andhra and brought up in Chennai, I am almost a Tamil girl, except that my roots are still in Vijayawada. Growing up, my parents only spoke Telugu with us at home. And most of the food prepared at home was from Andhra cuisine. Today, I am thankful to my parents for that – else I would not have known my mother tongue and the beautiful cuisine my homeland has to offer. Being married to S, I cook all kinds of cuisines now and he never complains. We make kozhambu as well as Pulusu. We make Kootu as well as Pappu. As much as we detest spicy food, we both can’t stay away from the variety of Andhra pickles – Avakai, Maagai, Gongura and many others that are freshly made. S is always a sport when it comes to food and he has readily accepted every single dish I have made ever since we got married.
One of our most comforting foods is this Uppudu Pindi/ Uppindi/ Pindi as we call it. It is close to the consistency of upma but only a 1000 times better. It is made with raw rice rava (coarsely ground) along with moong dal. Traditionally, one has to wash and soak the rice for about an hour, dry it on shade, grind the rice into coarse powder, let it cool completely and sieve it to separate the fine rice flour to get the rice rava. Everytime I visit Chennai, amma packs me a bag of this prepared rice rava and MIL hands me another bag of fine rice flour – go on, call me lucky! 😀 These days, it is readily available in the super markets too. Usually the Pindi is prepared in a thick bottomed vessel by slow cooking for a very long time. That way, the bottom forms a golden brown thick layer of the pindi called as Chakka which tastes super awesome. The classic combination for Pindi is Avakai pickle – nothing can beat this combo. This pindi tastes double tasty when left for a night – so don’t worry about the left-overs. I usually make this using pressure cooker, which is the fastest method and it makes for a very quick dinner.
To make Andhra Uppudu Pindi/Uppindi/Pindi
Serves – 2
Time to prepare – 20 mins
What I used –
- Raw Rice Rava, 1 cup
- Water, 1.5 cups
- Moong Dal, 2 tbsp
- Oil, 1 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
- Jeera, 1 tsp
- Urad Dal, 1.5 tsp
- Chana Dal, 1.5 tsp
- Dried Red Chilli, 1 or 2
- Salt, as required
How I made –
- In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, jeera, urad dal and chana dal along with red chillies (cut them to halves or small pieces)
- Once the mustard and jeera starts spluttering and the dals are golden in color, pour water. I usually use 1:1.5 ratio for rice rava: water. If you want soft pindi, you can use upto 2 cups of water.
- Add washed moong dal to the water. Add required amount of salt. Let the water come to a boil.
- Reduce the flame to low. Add the rice rava. Give it a quick stir. Place the lid of the pressure cooker. And put on the weight as soon as steam comes up.
- Cook on low flame for 2 whistles. That way, nice golden brown chakka forms at the bottom while the pindi is still soft. Let the pressure drop completely. Give a good mix to the pindi.
- Serve hot with ghee on top along with Avakai.
- The amount of water depends on how old the rice rava is. If the rice used to prepare the rava is old, more water would be needed. 1:2 ratio should work most of the times.
- Avakai tastes best with this dish although other Andhra pickles can be used. In case of no pickles, coconut chutney works well too.
- The moong dal should not be cooked to a mush and should retain its shape.
- Cooking for one whistle would be enough, but chakka doesn’t form.
- Ensure the flame is at the lowest level to ensure slow cooking.