Saturday, March 31, 2007

11. Boiled grains to steam cooked idlis

Ancient Greek reports (ca. 3rd century BC) mention that in northwestern India, 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.
I was wondering whether the ‘some Indian tribes’ alluded to in the reports refer to the tribes that migrated to southern India 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.
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.

Blog Archive

Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

Copy? Right - but kindly remember to acknowledge!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

" tulu-research.blogspot." ತುಳು ರಿಸರ್ಚ್. ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್

" tulu-research.blogspot."  ತುಳು  ರಿಸರ್ಚ್.  ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್
Have a nice day !