We are getting over the holiday season and slowly bringing ourselves back into a routine. This year too, we headed to our home-town like we do every year during Christmas time. A short stay there with my parents and I was back home just before the new year eve. With work and office, this new year eve was a silent one for me. No frolicking, no partying. Just a retrospection.
While I have rarely listed down resolutions for new year in the past, simply because I find it too imposing to live with, I hope to make small promises that will help me bring about some basic changes to my lifestyle. The idea is to make our life more simpler and healthier at every possible step. To control and eliminate processed food to every extent possible, to cut down on sugar and salt intake, to relish more fruits and vegetables in organic and raw, to bring in variety to our palate of food, above all to consider physical well-being as a priority. I shall indulge judiciously, not resist, yet with a tab on them. I would love to learn more, cook a lot good. I am yearning for that healthy rustic food that is comforting at heart. I wake up early and sleep quite late, a not so healthy habit that I need to bring a change to. I need more sleep and I wish to take that up seriously. It is not a diet regime, but the motto is to eat good to feel good. And to feel good is to bring happiness and positivity to mind and body.
The recipe I share with you today is a rustic one that comes from the kitchens of my mother and grandmother. Kalasida Kempu Avalakki simply translates to Crushed Red Spices in Beaten Rice, where the whole red chillies are fried with mustard and curry leaves and then crushed by hand to a coarse texture. This releases all the spices from red chillies into the oil. Yum! I insist a good helping of sugar here as its the sweet, spice and salty flavour that makes this dish flavoursome. It's common to add chopped onions before serving, but I prefer it this way. Serve and consume this immediately as you make, since the paper-thin variety of beaten rice will lose its flakiness as it tends to absorb the moisture from the fresh grated coconut. This dish been there for ages in our traditional Havyaka homes, been loved by many for being so humble, often served as a snack with a cup of tea or an accompaniment to a breakfast. It takes just 5 minutes to put together, is gluten-free, easy on stomach, yet lip-smacking. It's a great tea-time snack, but is commonly served in breakfast as a side with uppittu. With all that partying and indulgent food you had over these holidays, this is an ideal recipe you will love to make. With just few everyday staple ingredients, its simplicity at it's best.
Kalasida Kempu Avalakki
1 cup beaten rice (paper-thin variety)
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
4-5 whole red chillies (I've used Byaadgi variety)
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
1 tbsp. sugar
Salt to taste
In a small kadai / wok, heat the coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add the red chillies along with curry leaves and fry them till the chillies swell and change their colour. Switch off the gas and allow it to cool. Crush the chillies well in their oil. I like to use my fingers for this, however if you worry about the heat getting to your hand use a mortar and pestle for the same. Once you see coarse flakes of chillies, add this spicy oil into the beaten rice, followed by fresh grated coconut, salt and sugar to taste. Toss everything well so that the beaten rice takes in the colour, flavour and spices. Serve immediately.