Sunday, May 3, 2015

Makai (sweet corn) and Bajra (millet flour) rotti - This recipe went through a metamorphasis from ideation to implementation

Before I say anything else, I do want to share the good news - am back in business - with green chilies that is :-). Last weekend, I found one of my grocery stores carrying the coveted Thai green chilies and bought a a whole bunch (ofcourse paying a premium) but they seem to have already gone out of circulation as I haven't seen them since. I am ok for a while atleast with my stash. Seems like a more wide spread problem than just my Seattle area as comments from the readers indicate. Hope we will all start to see them regularly. As a positive side effect, I fell in love with Serrano peppers in the meantime for their sturdiness and 'not-so-hot' spice. As a result, the refrigerator has both kinds of chilies now :-), By the way, bits and bites of serrano peppers in urad dal vada tastes heavenly, they don't dissolve like the thai chilies, get crispier in the hot oil and taste delicious. So if you haven't tried them, go ahead and make them soon. Here is a bouquet of precious green Thai chilies for all those parched hearts :-).
I have a spring in my gait now just like the weather outside after having my favorite chilies back in life. I am thinking of growing some in the backyard this season just to be safe and self sufficient. Oh that reminds me of the disaster in the backyard. We had started our veggie garden a month ago filling the pots with beans and eggplants seeds. While we waited for the ground to warm up a little before transferring them, the beans sprouted and the plants started growing as if they were Jack's very own bean stalks :-). So, yesterday BH put on his gardening gear and went to the backyard to clean up the patch, prepare the soil and transplanted the plants from the pots to the ground. He also put some seeds in the starters and shoved them into the ground. All in a day's work, he came back tired but happy.

Pre attack pictures
Today morning, we get up and visit the backyard just to make sure the plants didn't wilt of shock from the transplant and we had a shock of our lives. Something (I am guessing racoons, BH thinks they are wild rabbits) came in the wee hours and dug up all the little starter, chewed through them, ate the seeds, threw the pots on the grass and left without so much as a 'Thank you' note!! So much for all the labor of sweat. The only consolation is that the seeds became somebody's food, good cause.
Post attack pictures
We are now strategizing our gardening for summer and plotting how to outwit those nocturnal visitors to our backyard while the brave dog takes a deep snooze in her cozy bed :-). If any of you garden enthusiasts have had similar problems and know an environmentally safe way to scare (not hurt or harm) these visitors, I would appreciate the tips.

With that said, let us go back to today's recipe. I didn't say recipe, it will come in due time but not so soon either as I need to tell you the entire story behind it. This is not a recipe I grew up with as you can imagine. I do want to call it an invention but the idea triggered from another recipe I had seen on a show. The chef showed a sweet corn kabab (looked yummy) with similar ingredients and had gram flour (besan) mixed to get the dough consistency. Yesterday being the first Saturday in a long time I felt relaxed, on the whim got up in the morning and soaked a ton (not really a ton but a lot) of urad dal to make the family favorite Dahi vada or peruggarelu. Everyone was surprised but pleasantly so, our family (from the oldest to the youngest) never says no to dahi vada and I also made a vessel full of spicy rasam and kept a couple batches of the fried goodies to dunk in rasam so the family was all happy, happy and were as bloated as the vadas themselves after eating them :-)
Having done a whole lot of deep frying, I was in no mood to entertain another deep fry recipe but had a bag full of sweet corn in the refrigerator. Now with my cooking limited to mainly weekend cooking as amma does take care of the week days, I usually try and finish up the veggies she won't even touch with a pole :-) on weekends and leave the familiar egg plants, bottle gourds etc for her to use from M-F. Sweet corn would fit into that category. Having spent years in the corn country before moving here, I can't resist picking up a bunch of fresh corn during spring & summer and had brought a bag full at 5pieces/$ just a couple of days back. Friday, BH went to Costco on his way home and brought a packet of husked corn too :-). I sometimes wonder if the man ever listens to me at all, I tell him the veggies and groceries I have in excess knowing fully well the way he picks up stuff on his visit to the store but invariably he comes back with atleast a few extras and duplicates.
Since deep frying was out for Sunday, I wanted to convert this recently seen corn kabab into something non deep fried. Given my penchant for rottis, and having seen the chef mix gram flour and make a dough gave me an idea to make rotti with the corn. I just didn't want to use the gram flour and used bajra flour instead. What we had was a very delicious, soft and light rotti with the sweetness of fresh corn and the spices from other ingredients. And ofcourse I used my Thai chilies liberally in the recipe :-)

What do you need to make makai-Bajra roti?
2.5 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup bajra(millet) flour
1 Tsp salt
3-4 green chilies (adjust to taste)
2 Tbsp roughly chopped onion
small piece ginger
4-6 curry leaves
1 Tbsp grated coconut (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp oil to roast
How do you make makai-bajra roti? 
  • If using fresh corn cobs, remove the outer cover, the silky husk and chop the corn kernels with a sharp knife. 
  • Reserve 2 Tbsp of corn kernels. 
  • Take remaining corn, chopped onion, green chilies, ginger, coconut and salt and pulse them together without using any water. Onion gives out enough water to grind.
  • Take it into a bowl, mix bajra flour, reserved corn kernels and chopped spring onions and mix it well. 
  • Heat a heavy griddle on medium heat, take a ball of dough and pat it on the griddle into a thick (1/4 inch) rotti. I used my mini cast iron pans which distributes heat evenly. 
  • Add a few drops of oil all around the edge, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom crisps up with brown spots. 
  • Flip it over and cook uncovered for another minute and half. 
  • Take out the hot roti onto a plate, serve it with a dollop of desi home made ghee (clarified butter) and a spicy chutney. 
  • Repeat the process for remaining dough. 
  • You can use rice or ragi (finger millet) flour instead of bajra flour or a combination of any of these flours.
  • Add some roasted fresh fenugreek leaves for a distinct flavor and taste. 
  • Adding some corn without grinding gives a crunch and a burst of sweetness when you bite in. Skip this and grind them all together if you prefer the texture. 
  • Sweet corn I get here are really tender and sweet (especially the fresh ones), so the rotti turned out mildly sweet despite the green chilies but we loved the taste. 
  • You can use frozen corn, bring them to room temperature before making rottis. 
  • If you don't have spring onions on hand, use finely chopped regular onion.
  • Pat this rotti a little thicker than normal rotti and cook it on low heat. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

this is a wonderful recipe indeed. very healthy and tasty

Lakshmi Grandhim said...

Bajra rotti yavaglu sooper! Loved the addition of corn.

Jyothi said...

Hi Nagashree,
I just wanted to say I so thoroughly enjoy your blog.I came across your blog when I was frantically searching for some authentic habbada recipe for, I can't remember now what habba :-) ,being a Kanndiga myself ,it was a pleasant surprise to see some authentic recipes that my mom,dodammas and grandma would use,but that I'd never learnt to appreciate growing up but remember now and at times want to recreate.
Also,being a Seattlite(I'm on the Eastside),I enjoy reading mention of familiar places,similar gardening issues and the like.So,thanks a lot . Have a lovely long weekend.

Nagashree said...

@ Jyothi - You made my day, thank you for visiting and leaving your comments. Hope to meet you personally here sometime, I am on the east side too :-)

Look forward to seeing you on the blog.