Ancient Greek reports (ca. 3rd century BC) mention that in northwestern
, some of the tribes were using boiled grains. Possibly, then boiling grains was not a usual thing or may be all the communities were not indulging in such practice of boiling grains at that time of history. India
I was wondering whether the ‘some Indian tribes’ alluded to in the reports refer to the tribes that migrated to southern
like Tulu tribes. I believe that the practice of boiling grains was popular with the Tulu tribes, even when they were near northwest India before their migration. Possibly, it was the beginning of their invention of their pet food, the boiled rice. Subsequently, they boiled the paddy which was dried in the sun and later pounded to separate the husk/chaff and produce the boiled rice. The Tulu equivalent of ‘sambaar’(vegetarian curry) is called ‘koddel’ which is kodi+el meaning the boiled liquid dish. India
They carried their experiments with boiling food items further, probably refined them after they settled in Tulunad, and invented the art of steam cooking. They used ground mixtures (semi-solid batters) of rice and black grams for steam cooking. For steam cooking they designed special vessels made out of natural leaves, available in plenty around them. They fashioned small vessels each made out of four jack tree leaves, knit together with vegetal sticks. It was called ‘gunda’, which means rounded space or rounded shape.
Or they fetched the prickly, thin long ribbon-like leaves from the mundevu shrub, separated their thorns and mended the leaves on light fire to make them more pliable, and fashioned tubular vessels out of those specially treated mundevu leaves. This leafy structure was called the ‘moode’, derived from mudetina (=knitted item).
The batter was filled into the tubular leafy vessels which were then arranged inside an earthen pot, half filled with water. The closed earthen pot with the leafy containers and water was kept on fire. On boiling, the water filled in the closed earthen pot generated steam that cooked the ground rice batter in the vegetal tubes, adding special vegetal aroma in the process.
Or they used various leaves like that of banana, teak, turmeric and so on to wrap the finely ground semi-solid rice batter and keep inside the steam-cooking earthen pot. These dishes were called ‘ireta-adde’ (= leafy food) or gatti or kottige etc. They also mixed chopped green leaves of tevu (kesu, in Kannada) with rice paste and prepared steam cooked patrade, which means patra (=leaf)+ ade(=dish).
With evolution in progress, metallic vessel makers, designed special vessels for making steam-cooked rice dishes without leaves. Such devices contained a number of empty spaces where the rice batter could be poured into. Because of this, the word ideli or idali came into being. Ide means interstitial space.
Gunda, moode, kottige, gatti, patrade (patrode) and other steam-cooked leafy rice dishes are popular even today in Tulunad.