Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tuppanna/Ghee rice or is it really?

The other day I was looking at my posts and realized I didn't have many rice varieties yet. Rice based one pot dishes are so common place in our lives, I don't realize probably they can very well be posted and talked about. Whether it is a festival or get together or a picnic, we usually have some kind of rice. Some need an accompaniment to go along while some stand all by their own individual merit. Nammamma has a wonderful chef hand when it comes to rice varieties, these are generically termed 'Bhaath' or 'kalasidanna' (kalasu~mix, anna~rice) in Kannada. It has something to do with the bhaath pudi or spice powder she prepares or the way she mixes it with her hands or the way she almost always lets a rice bhath stand for atleast 30mins-1 hour before serving, there is something very definitely nammamma in those bhaaths.

I am here with one of nammamma's signature rice dishes, we called it Tuppanna (Tuppa~ghee or clarified butter) but I don't see why because this doesn't have a lot of ghee in it and nor is it the common ghee rice you see everywhere. It has coconut in it but again is not the usual coconut rice where the coconut is roasted. And I have not eaten this anywhere else other than in my mom's kitchen so I definitely think it is one of her own creations which became a hit with family and hence stayed on :-). We all loved it as kids when nammamma made it, my daughter looks forward to the days I make it, so I think it definitely has earned a place here.

In school I had a classmate who used to come to school from atop the famed Chamundi hills in Mysore as her father was one of the priests in the temple. Though we used to visit the hills and the temple atop quite frequently, we were still visitors to the hills and in that small child world we were in, it seemed strange and awesome that someone I knew actually lived on the betta(hills). We had gone on a field trip from school to the hill top one day and this girl had taken our group to her house for lunch. Lunch was a simple affair and had steaming hot rice with piping hot rasam/saaru and buttermilk. Her mother had made some papads to go with and as we sat down on the floor for lunch in the big dining area, I saw someone next to me break the papad into the rice and eat it with it. Strange how some images get stuck in the brain, right? I don't know why I remember that still but that was the first time I saw anyone eat rice and papad with no rasam or sambar or anything else. I followed suit and infact liked it a lot. That is the closest I have seen anything come to nammamma's Tuppanna.

Tuppanna does not have any spices in it, is mildly sweetened with a spoonful of sugar and ghee. It has crispy papads turned soft and cruchy kadle bele in every bite. This is an acquired taste and some of you may find it very demure in taste or lacking punch, this rice is not flashy in color or spice but it is different and can stand alone without needing any side dishes. We made this on Varalakshmi Vrata as one of the naivedyam items.
What do you need to make Tuppanna? 
1 cup rice (I used sona masoori), long grain will work too
1 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp ghee/clarified butter
3-4 plain urad dal papads
1/4 cup chana dal/kadle bele
3/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1/2 Tsp cumin seeds
oil to deep fry papads

How do you make Tuppanna?
  • Cook rice in water taking care to see the grains are well cooked and soft but not mushy. 
  • Soak chana dal in water for 45 mins to an hour until it becomes soft.
  • Wash the chana dal and drain the water completely.
  • Spread the rice in a wide plate, add ghee, salt, sugar and grated coconut on top and let it all sit until rice is cool enough to handle. 
  • Deep fry the plain papads one by one, drain oil and keep aside.
  • In the same oil, add drained chana dal (take care to stay away from the oil as it splatters some at this time) and fry until dal turns pink and crisp. 
  • Add cumin seeds just before removing the chana dal from the oil, fry for 30 seconds and remove everything onto a plate using a slotted spoon. 
  • Add the fried chana dal & cumin to the rice and gently mix in everything with fingers (do not put pressure or the rice will turn into a mush).
  • Break the fried papads into 6-8 pieces and mix it in the rice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving warm. 
  • Use only plain papads as the masala varieties tend to hijack the real taste of this dish. 
  • Do not use Basmati rice for the same reason as not using the masala papad. 
  • You can microwave the papads instead of frying but I would recommend oil fried papads in this recipe. 
  • Soaking the chana dal until it softens gives it a totally different texture - it is crunchy but not hard to bite unlike the regular dal in any south Indian seasoning. So make sure you soak the dal before hand. 
  • When chana dal cooks completely, the sizzling in the oil stops, this took a solid 6 minutes for the 1/2 cup I was frying, so be patient during this step and remember to mix a couple of time during the process with a spoon.
  • Freshly grated coconut gives the best taste in this dish but you can make do with good quality frozen coconut also. 
  • Mix in papad pieces into rice not more than 15-20 from serving else they will become too soggy. 


Prathibha said...

As u said this rice is not common..I think it might b common in some of mysore house holds..I was planning 2 make this recipe when I came 2 know abt it,now ur post reminds me that i hav 2 try it out soon

Nandita SS said...

This rice looks so delicious. You have got my mouth watering :)

NamsVeni Pothas said...

very easy preparation and wonderfull taste !!! wow.GREAT!! everybody likes it.

Kannada Cuisine said...

We add a few slit green chillies and call it Oggarane anna! the most popular way to get rid of left over rice :)

Nagashree said...

Thank you ladies for your comments!

Smitha - my vaggarane anna is very different though, will post it sometime and i love it.

Vani said...

I'd forgotten all about thuppadanna. I hated the dals in the rice when I younger. Anything with thuppa is fabulous to me :)

Priya said...

Am drooling rite now here, wish to have this ghee rice for my lunch today.

Jay said...

yummm...this looks simply lovely..:)
Tasty Appetite

PJ said...

We call this oggarnay anna and mom made it for us when we visited her last week.Love this to the core..

PJ said...

Btw,forgot to mention that we make this a little different and am planning to post that version soon :)