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  • Arthi Pattabiraman

Arya Vysya Cuisine

Arya Vysya community is a Telugu-speaking trading community predominantly found in Southern India, who are also colloquially called “Komati Chettiars.” This community is mostly engaged in banking, money lending, and jewellery business. They worship Goddess Vasavi Kanyaka Parameshwari. Penugonda in Andhra Pradesh is believed to be the birthplace of this Goddess and the Vasavi temple here lodges the 90-ft tall statue of Goddess Vasavi Devi.


This community is known for its love for food and pride in making varieties of recipes that are very much unique to this community. They are very innovative in cooking and can churn out breakfast and dinner recipes even with left-over cooked rice and also have several curd-based recipes. Tamarind and jaggery are prominent ingredients in most of their recipes. Their food is a judicious mix of spiciness, sweetness, and sourness.


The following recipes have been shared by Mrs. Arthi Pattabiraman who belongs to the Arya Vysya Community. She is a Nutrition, Food Service Management & Dietetics graduate.

Her undying love and passion for the field of “Nutrition & Dietetics” motivated her to start a blog related to “Food and Nutrition” where she has written several articles related to this field. (https://abhivijanatiandstayhealthy.wordpress.com/)


Selected Recipes:

  1. Pittu (Spicy & Sweet variant)

  2. Pumpkin Seed Kheer/Payasam

  3. Pappu Rotta (Spicy & Sweet variant)

  4. Pulusu pindi

 

Pittu



Pittu is a dhal delicacy made out of green gram dhal (moong dhal), Bengal gram dhal (channa dhal), and Thuar dhal. This dish is very unique to the Arya Vysya community and it is both tasty and healthy. A very moderate quantity of oil is used in this recipe since the dhal batter is first steamed and then seasoned into a kind of upma. This recipe is made during special occasions and is also a part of the routine menu. Pittu is highly nutritious as it is made out of different varieties of pulses. Both, bengal gram dhal and green gram dhal are good sources of protein, calcium, and phosphorus. They also provide a significant amount of fiber.


Ingredients:

  1. Red gram dhal (Thuar dhal) - 1 cup

  2. Green gram dhal - 1 cup

  3. Channa dhal - 1 cup

  4. Grated coconut – 1 tbsp (optional)

  5. Salt – as per taste

For seasoning:

  1. Mustard - 1 tsp

  2. Urud dhal - 1 tsp

  3. Asafoetida (Hing) – a pinch

  4. Channa dhal - 1 tsp

  5. Green chillies - 7 to 8 (Make this into a paste)

  6. Salt - as per taste

  7. Curry leaves- a few

  8. Lemon juice – 2 to 3 tsps

Method of Preparation:

  1. Soak all the dhals together for about 2 hours.

  2. Grind the soaked dhals in a blender to a coarse (sooji-like) consistency. Remove the mixture from the blender. Add only a little salt (more salt can be added while seasoning) to the batter. The batter should be a little thick, similar to idli batter.

  3. Grease oil on an idli tray or a shallow vessel that is generally used for steaming.

  4. Pour this batter into the tray and steam it in a pressure cooker (no whistle should be used) for about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove it and allow it to cool.

  5. Cut the steamed idli and powder it with your hands using a little oil.

  6. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.

  7. Now, add asafoetida, urud dhal, channa dhal and fry until golden brown.

  8. Add finely chopped curry leaves, chilli paste and salt. Mix well and add the powdered dhal idli to this and mix well until it becomes hot.

  9. If it is too dry, you can sprinkle some water to make the mixture soft. Switch off the stove, add lemon juice.

  10. Mix well and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Yummy dhal upma (pittu) is ready.

 

Sweet Pittu


A sweetened version of this upma can be prepared by mixing it with sugar, ghee, eliachi powder (cardamom powder), coconut scrapings and cashew nuts. Set aside a cup of powdered idli to prepare the sweet version of the pittu. This is a very apt recipe for children of all age groups, especially toddlers and pre-schoolers as kids like the sweet taste, and moreover, this is nutritious and light on the stomach.


Ingredients:

  1. Powdered dhal idli - 1 cup

  2. Sugar – 1/4 cup

  3. Ghee – 2 tsp.

  4. Coconut scrapings – 1 tbsp

  5. Elaichi powder – a pinch

  6. Cashew nuts – 5 to 6

Method:

  1. Heat the ghee in a pan, add cashew nuts and fry until golden brown.

  2. Then, add the powdered idli and sugar.

  3. Mix well until the sugar dissolves and blends well with the mixture.

  4. Add cardamom powder. Finally, add coconut scrapings, mix well and remove from fire.

Arthi says: "I love the fact that it is spicy, tangy, and also nutritious. This recipe is usually prepared and served to the girl when she attends puberty. I remember having it during my puberty too. The reason could be its high protein content, which is very much required as the girl is entering into her adolescent years; and protein is very much essential to meet the increasing growth and development during the adolescent years."


 

Pumpkin Seed Kheer/Payasam


This is a very traditional and unique recipe that has been passed over generations in the Arya Vysya community residing in Tamilnadu, especially in the districts of Salem, Coimbatore, and Trichy. This recipe is usually prepared during festivals and other special occasions such as weddings and other family functions. A similar recipe can be prepared using muskmelon seeds also.


Ingredients:

  1. Pumpkin seeds - 1 cup

  2. Milk - 3.5 cups

  3. Sugar - 1 cup

  4. Rice flour -1 tsp


Method of Preparation:

  1. Soak the peeled pumpkin seeds in water for half an hour.

  2. In a blender, add the soaked pumpkin seeds, a little milk, and rice flour and grind it to a coarse paste and remove the paste from the blender.

  3. Heat a hollow-bottomed pan. Add the ground paste to the pan, add sugar and the remaining milk and keep stirring at frequent intervals by keeping the flame in sim to prevent clumps formation.

  4. Allow the kheer to boil until it gets concentrated, small clumps will remain, as these seeds tend to clump together.

  5. Taste the kheer and if the sugar is insufficient, more sugar can be added at this stage.

  6. Switch off the flame and serve hot.


Arthi says: "This recipe brings back memories of my childhood where our grannies used to remove the peel from the pumpkin seeds while listening to the radio or while chattering away with their neighbours or family members. Those were the days, in the 70s and early 80s, where life was not invaded by the electronic media. I also remember doing my share of peeling along with my granny during my vacation."

 

Pappu Rotta

(a lentil and rice-based recipe)


"Pappu" means "dhal" and "rotta" means a kind of "soft dosa" in Telugu


Can you believe this? This dish is actually made from rice dosas into a kind of upma. This is another one of the unique recipes solely belonging to the Arya Vysya community of Tamil Nadu and will not be available in any restaurants. This recipe involves very few ingredients but yet is very tasty. There are both spicy and sweet versions of this dish. As the spicy version does not contain onion, many households make it during Amavasya. As part of the routine menu, it is usually made for dinner.


Ingredients:


(For the dosa batter)

  1. Raw rice – 2 cups

(For the seasoning of spicy Pappu rotta)

  1. Cut dosa pieces – 1 cup

  2. Cooked thuar dhal (red gram dhal) – 3 tbsps

  3. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

  4. Urud dhal, split – 1 tsp

  5. Channa dhal - 1 tsp

  6. Curd chillies – 6

  7. Dry chillies – 3 to 4

  8. Curry leaves – a sprig

  9. Grated coconut – 1 tbsp

  10. Salt – as per taste

  11. Oil – 1 tbsp

Note: Curd Chillis are a kind of dried chillies, which are dried in the sun after soaking them in buttermilk; available in all South Indian provisional stores)


Method of preparation:

Dosa

  1. Soak the raw rice in the water for an hour and grind the batter to a fine consistency in the mixie. Add very little salt since this dosa will also be used to prepare the sweet version. The batter should be very dilute, similar to the one we make for Neer dosa.

  2. You can add more water after removing the batter from the mixie. Then, add some water to the mixie and rinse it. Transfer the rinsed water to a kettle and boil it until it turns starchy.

  3. Pour this starch water to the dosa batter slowly and mix well to avoid any clump formation. Now, the batter is ready for making dosas.

  4. Heat the dosa tava and pour the batter on the tava in a similar fashion as you do for rava dosas. Cover the tava with a lid and allow the dosa to cook in a medium flame. Ensure that it doesn’t turn crispy. The dosa should not be flipped. It should be removed from the tava as soon as it is cooked. Repeat this process for the rest of the batter.

  5. Once the dosas cool down, cut them into small pieces (about 1” inch in size) using a knife or kitchen scissors. Now, divide the dosa pieces into two equal portions, one for the spicy version and one for the sweet version.


Method of preparation:

Spicy Pappu Rotta

  1. Pressure cook the thuar dhal by adding turmeric. Don’t overcook it. It should not be mushy.

  2. Heat oil in a hollow pan. Add the mustard seeds; once they splutter, add the curd chillies. These should turn brown. Then, add the dry chillies, urud dhal, channa dhal and curry leaves and fry until the dhals turn golden brown.

  3. Add the cooked dhal to this mixture, salt and grated coconut and mix well for a couple of minutes. Then, add the cut dosa pieces to this mixture and mix well.

  4. If the dosa pieces are hard, then a little water can be sprinkled to make them soft. Switch off the gas once the mixture turns soft. Transfer this pappu rotta to a serving vessel.

Enjoy this dish as it is or with cut mango pieces seasoned with chilli powder, salt, asafoetida and mustard seeds.

 

Sweet Pappu Rotta


Ingredients:

  1. Cut dosa pieces – 1 cup

  2. Sugar – 1/4th cup

  3. Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

  4. Ghee – 1 to 2 tsp

  5. Grated coconut – 2 tbsps

  6. Cashew – 5 to 6

Method of preparation:

  1. Roast the cashew nuts in ghee until they turn golden in colour and keep them aside. Add the sugar to a thick-bottomed pan, then add a little water to it and stir until it reaches a thread-like consistency.

  2. Now, add the cut dosa pieces, ghee, and roasted cashew nuts and mix well. Finally, add the cardamom powder and grated coconut. Mix well and remove from the fire.

  3. Serve this along with the spicy version.

 

Pulusu pindi


Pulusu pindi is a very unique recipe that is typical to the Arya Vysya community. In Telugu, it literally means “Batter made using tamarind.” This is a kind of upma that is spicy and tangy with a tinge of sweetness in it. The preparation process is quite laborious but the end product is very delicious. Only a few small eateries run by the Arya Vysya community members in places like Salem and Coimbatore in Tamilnadu sell pulusu pindi. It is not available in any restaurants.


Ingredients:

(For the pulusu pindi batter)

  1. Boiled (idli) rice – 1 cup (alternately, one can also use half-cup of raw rice and half cup of boiled rice)

  2. Red chillies – 10

  3. Green chillies – 3 to 4 (depending on spice tolerance)

  4. Jaggery – 2 to 3 tsps

  5. Fresh coconut, grated – 4 tbsps.

  6. Asafoetida – ½ tsp or a little more if you like more of this flavour

  7. Tamarind – Lemon-sized ball

  8. Salt – as per taste

(For the seasoning)

  1. Mustard - 1 tsp

  2. Urud dhal - 1 tsp

  3. Channa dhal - 1 tsp

  4. Red chillies -2

  5. Curry leaves – a few

  6. Oil – 2 tbsps.


Method of Preparation:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it for at least 2 hours. Grind the rice along with tamarind, coconut, jaggery, red chillies, green chillies and salt to a rava-like consistency in a mixie. Add water while grinding. Remove the batter from the mixie and add more water to bring it to a dosa batter-like consistency.

  2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Non-stick pan can also be used. The cooking time is lesser when non-stick pans are used. Add the mustard seeds; once they splutter, add urud dhal, channa dhal, curry leaves and red chillies and fryr until the dhals turn golden brown. Keep the flame in sim and add the ground batter and keep stirring.

  3. Close the lid for some time but make sure to keep the gas flame in sim so that clumps don’t form. Open the lid at regular intervals and keep stirring until the batter gets well cooked and leaves the sides. Taste this upma at this juncture and if it does not stick to your tongue, it means the upma is cooked well (the entire cooking process will take at least half an hour). Switch off the gas.

  4. Remove the upma from the pan and serve it with raw onion. Raw onion complements the spiciness and tanginess of this upma. The final helping of this upma is usually eaten with curds. This upma tastes best after it cools down.

 

You can find more healthy and nutritious recipes by Mrs. Arthi in her blog: https://arthisfoodandnutritionzone.com/


Special Thanks to Mrs. Arthi Pattabiraman for sharing her healthy & nutritious recipes with us.

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