This week here in Houston, there is a heat advisory, with the temperatures around 100°F, but you can feel it like 105-108F because of humidity. I thought why I don’t can make use of that heat to make a long lost dish from my child hood. My grandma and my aunt who passed away last week used to make this. I love to watch them making it. Now they will be watching from otherworld, that their little kid is making this fritters. I have only a vague image of them making this. I remember they used to grind the rice the first day, early in the morning the following day, they would use a huge pot they will cook the ground rice and made it into thick porridge consistency.
Before the sun gets hot they would spread the porridge into thin round disc in a cheese cloth/Dhoti. By the afternoon of the second day they would sprinkle water on the back side and peel the rice discs from the cloth and again dry them out in the sun for 2-3 days to a state where it is completely dry. It is stored in an air tight container. These sun dried rice disc/chips are fried in the oil and use as side along with rice and curries. The first tasting of the batch was usually done by me. My grandma would also make it in big batches, so that she can give it to her daughters and sons and even sell some to outsiders. Usually her business of rice vathal happened during Onam, as lot of people working in UAE countries would come home for festivities, and would buy from my grandma as they are returning to the Gulf. In India, from Kerala lot of people goes for work in Gulf countries compared to rest of Indian states. During my stay in Sweden, I also used to travel through Gulf so that I can avoid the port of entry in Mumbai or Delhi. Further I get better connection flights to Kerala my home state. Flights from Kuwait, even announce in Malayalam language after English and their language.
We even have even lot of movies about young guys who want to go to Gulf. Most famous one is Nadodikattu, in that two guys, Dasan and Vijayan wanted to go the Gulf with help of Gafoorkka another guy who take them in boat to gulf but funnily ends up only in Chennai capital of our neighboring state Tamil Nadu. That movie touched hearts of lot of people. This is the poster of movie: Courtesy from Wikipedia
Okay that is my gulf story.
Coming to the recipe, when I checked with my dad, I came to know that I need parboiled rice to make this. I don’t have good connection with grinding the parboiled rice. One time I even burnt my blender/mixer while grinding them for Murukku recipe. Parboiled rice becomes too thick so fast you need tons of water to make it grinding. While looking at the recipe in Meenakashi Ammal’s Samaithupar I found that I can add about 16 cups of water. I was happy and grinded the parboiled rice with green chilies to get them ground well. Then allow the batter to rest for overnight, next morning added salt and cumin seeds and added some extra water to make it pancake batter. Then cooked the batter in low heat to thick porridge consistency with constant stirring, this will prevent lumps forming in the batter. Once it got it into a thick porridge consistency removes them from heat. About a tablespoon of batter is poured into cheesecloth leaving about 1 inch space between them. I even try to use aluminum foil, but they turned out to bad. Let it dry in the sun for about 2 days when it is completely dried, turn the cloth upside down and sprinkle water on the back side of batter side. This will enable the easy removal of the small disc of batter easily from the cloth. Once you removed the entire discs let the dry it in the sun for 3 more days to make it completely dry.
Heat oil in the small pan and fry these chips for a minute or two you will get tasty chips/fritters. It tastes great with rice and curries. I was happy that I was able to finish a project which I loved at the core but only had a vague memories. There are few other varieties of koozh vathal are there and are with rice, sabudana/Sago pearls, whole wheat, finger millet etc. My next try will be one with Sago Pearls. Process will be same only ingredients and cooking way changes. I am dedicating this post to my grandma and aunt who passionately make this without any complaints and give to others with loads of love. If you want to little adventures, try this. Sure you are going to like this.
Once dried completely fry it in oil like this.
Arisi Vathal/Koozh Vathal/ Fryums / Vadaam / Odiyalu /Sun Dried Rice Fritters
Preparation time: 50 minutes+2 hours soaking time
Sundry: 4 days
Yield: 6 cups
2 cups Par Boiled Rice ( Soaked for 2 hours)
3 no of Thai Green chilies (Increase amount of green chili if you want more heat)
1 teaspoon Salt or to taste
½ tablespoon cumin seeds:
10 cups Water (You can increase up to 12 cups)
1/2 cup oil
- Soak parboiled rice for about 2 hours and then grind with green chilies with 8 cups of water to a fine paste. Allow to rest for overnight or 8 hours.
- Next morning in a Dutch oven or thick bottomed pan, heat the rice batter with salt and cumin seeds. Continue to cook in a low heat with constant stirring for about 25-30 minutes or until you get thick porridge consistency. Make sure to stir continuously to prevent formation of any lumps.
- Line a table with cheese cloth and place it sun. Drop 1 tablespoon of cooked batter into the cheese cloth, placing 1 inch between them. Allow to sundry for about 1- 2 days. When it is completely dried, turn upside down and sprinkle water on the non-batter side, set aside for 5 minutes. Then gradually peel the rice disc and transfer to a plate. Allow to further dry in the sun for about 2 more days.
- When it is completely dried transfer to airtight container and stores it for about a year.
- When you are ready to use, heat ½ cup of oil in a pan and fry this sun dried rice disc for a minute or two. It will be great sides for rice and curries.