August 12, 2010
Ramazan Mubarak and Tire Pathiri/ Thick Rice Pan Cooked Bread...
Meeting friends, old and new, meeting family has all left a series of pleasant thoughts to dwell on, on slow days. Initially I was photographing everything trying to capture the moments but then gave up and now all that remains is the distilled essence of the days there. There was just too much to take in at once and the photos don't do justice to the vibrancy and pace there.
Seeing the change in my hometown is always eye opening. Each time I blink, there seems to be a new apartment building sprouting amongst the old tharavadus there. The skyline there, once a lush green of just coconut trees, is now more concrete than green. There is even a 4 storied apartment coming next door to my parent's house. Easy for me to visit infrequently and feel a pang but looks like the residents there just need more housing and land is expensive so maximizing the use seems to be the norm.
There is so much to blog about the food there, but laziness prevails.. Well, its summer here so anyway, I am not in a blogging frame of mind now but thought of posting this before I forget how its made. This post is about tire pathiri, a term you would have read only here. Pathiri , as I have explained earlier is a generic term for "rotis" or flatbreads. This is a thick flatbread made with ground rice paste and it called "tire or tyre" as it is very thick, almost an inch thick, reminding you of the truck tyres.
It is called Katti Pathiri elsewhere, meaning "thick flat bread" as opposed to the more common, "neriya pathiri"/ thin flatbreads. This heavy duty bread is a meal in itself. If you get taken in by the cute looks and make the mistake of plopping one on your plate, early on,at a salkaram/party, good luck..... you will be stuck between having to finish it and hence not being able to eat another bite of rice or end up wasting good food.
It is made by soaking rice in warm water and then grinding it to a thick paste and then cooking it on a slow flame. Traditionally cooked in an clay pan over a wood burning stove, it is not so easy, ( not too difficult either) to make on a gas stove. This one chronicled below was made on a gas stove by my MIL's patient hands.. will I make it here to the same quality is yet to be seen. (I will update you all on it.)
You will Need:
1cup rice(ponni parboiled) soaked in hot water (boiling hot initially) for 5-6 hours.
Grind this to a smooth paste (some add shallots and fennel seeds to this grinding, we don't) with very little water. Traditionally done on a stone grinder by hand, it can done in a dosa grinder or in a powerful Indian style food processor with very little water.
Place it in a refrigerator, covered with a muslin (thin cotton) cloth overnight. This allows the excess water to evaporate and what remains is the perfect consistency to make the pathiri.
Take a lump of the dough, flatten it between two plantain leaves or parchment paper or oiled foil to the size of your palm. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Heat a cast iron skillet and place the plantain leaf or foil with the flattened dough in it on the skillet.
Open, remove the pathiri and place it directly on the skillet. As it crisps up on each side, flip it over.
Serve with any meat curry with lots of gravy or with muringa ela curry.