Before I go into the details about this delectable recipe, I have to acknowledge a person who is the sole reason behind my intense love for the dish . She was Sita Kaki, my grand aunt and my dad’s paternal aunt. One of the strongest people I have come across , she was a picture of elegance, immaculate neatness and an expert in the kitchen. Her patience and optimism was something I constantly admired.
Amma ( my mom) would take us to her place now and then to spend the day & she would lovingly treat us with a delicious juice made with cooked raw mango every single time. Being passionate about gardening, she had a florid garden around the house bounteous with roses & the chinese fireball. Her backyard was brimming with lemon grass and she was responsible for introducing lemon grass tea to my mom who is an ardent tea lover.
She knew how much I yearned for her Kayi Sasive Chitranna and every so often she would bring me a ‘dabba’ of the ‘Kayi Sasive chutney’. In retrospect, I regret not having learnt the dish from her. Those were the days when cooking was the last thing on my mind but of course my mom filled me in with the recipe when I started my journey in the kitchen 6 years back. I will admit, the taste isn’t a match with Sita Kaki’s but I try and although she is no more, she lives on for me through this recipe….
‘Kayi’ means Coconut , ‘Sasive’ means Mustard seeds and ‘chitranna means a mixture made with rice’ in Kannada. Fresh coconut, mustard seeds,sesame seeds are blended with the sourness of tamarind , the sweetness of jaggery & spiciness of dry red chillies. Add the crunch of groundnuts and aroma of curry leaves, it is nothing short of divine! As I write, a flood of memories occupy my mind because in my mom’s house this dish is a must on festivals and like the elders at home say, the taste increases by a manifold when eaten on the traditional banana leaf!
Jaggery is unprocessed cane sugar & is a significant ingredient in Madhwa cuisine. It lends a subtle sweetness to all savory dishes & it is important that it’s used in the right amount because you don’t want the dish to be overpowered by sweetness.
Tamarind is extensively used in South Indian cooking and when used along with jaggery, the sweet and sour together create magic.
RECIPE FOR KAYI SASIVE CHITRANNA/COCONUT MUSTARD RICE
4 cups loosely packed cooked white/brown rice
1 cup fresh grated coconut
8-10 Dry Red chillies
1 tbsp tamarind
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds to grind + 1 tsp for tempering
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp of jaggery, roughly chopped
A pinch of turmeric
4-5 tsp of oil
2 tbsp of groundnuts
1 tsp chana dal
About 20 curry leaves
Salt to tasteMETHOD
1. The first step is to make the ‘Kayi Sasive chutney’. Add coconut, dry red chillies, tamarind, mustard, sesame seeds, turmeric and a teaspoon of salt into a mixie jar and blend with 1/4th cup of water to get a coarse paste.(Add more water only if required because it should be a thick paste).
2. Heat a deep bottomed kadai/pan and add oil. After it’s heated, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Then add groundnuts and chana dal. Once the groundnuts have crackled and the chana dal has turned golden brown, add the curry leaves.
3. To the tempering, add the chutney and saute. The chutney will absorb all the oil and leave the sides. It takes about 3-5 minutes in medium high heat.
4. Once it begins to leave the sides, put off the heat and add the cooked rice. Mix gently and add extra salt if needed. Can be heated again before serving.NOTES:
1. For South Indian rice preparations, I always use a non aromatic rice like Sona Masoori. Rice like Basmati have their own aroma which can possibly take over the flavours from these ingredients.
2. Fresh or frozen coconut can be used. Not the dry one.
3. The chutney can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for maybe 3 days.
4. If whole tamarind is not available, tamarind paste can be used, maybe 1-2 teaspoon will work well.
5. There are two types of dry red chillies that we use at home. Byadgi & Guntoor. The one I have used here is Byadgi, which is wrinkled and less spicy. The Guntoor is smooth and extremely spicy. If Byadgi is not available, it can be substituted with 3-4 Guntoor chillies.