It is amazing how certain foods are so strongly tied to memories; memories that are decades old, braced to childhood, to growing up, to the warmth and comfort of relishing mom’s cooked food and sometimes, also to sorely missing all of those! You get the picture. This, Nucchinunde (nucch-in-unde), to me falls in that memory-stirring category of foods.
When the queen of blogosphere, dear Asha of Foodies Hope announced RCI for this month as Karnataka, ideas were flying in my head, one dish at a time from that category. When my Mother-In-Law made these heavenly delicious dumplings over the weekend, I really didn’t have to think beyond. This is the kind of food that you are not likely to find at restaurants. Some of these genera of dishes are even lost from one generation to the other. Here is my lowly attempt to get you the true taste of Kannada homes!
Nucchinunde is best enjoyed drizzled with ghee and dipped in “majjige-huli” aka “mor kozhambu”. You could eat these by themselves or as a side dish with a typical South Indian meal. Me? I eat them for breakfast! J
And I hope you enjoy the little Kannada tutorial along with these, authentic bonne bouche from Karnataka!
- 2 cups Tuvar dal/Yellow Lentils (Thogari Bele)
- ½ cup Fresh/frozen coconut (Thengina Turi)
- ¼ cup chopped Cilantro (Kothamri Soppu)
- 6 -8 Dry Red Chilies (or to taste) (Vana Menasinakai)
- ¼ tsp Asafetida (Hingu)
- 1 inch piece of fresh Ginger (Shunti)
- 1 cup finely chopped Onion (optional) (Eerulli)
- ½ cup fresh/frozen Green Peas (optional) (Hasi Batani)
- Salt to taste (Uppu)
- Steamer (Idly mold + pressure cooker preferable)
- Wash tuvar dal in 2 or 3 changes of water and soak for about 4 hours
- Drain the soaked dal and grind about 75% of it to a coarse consistency, without adding water (or use as minimal as possible)
- Grind the remaining 25% dal with coconut, ginger and red chilies
- Transfer to a working bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine
- Make dumplings of this batter by moulding the batter in your fist to shape – as in the picture
- Place the dumplings in the idly mold if using (2 dumplings per slot). If using steamer, place the dumplings in the vessel in a single row
- Steam cook for about 20 minutes until done
- Eat them hot, drizzled with ghee
Update: My MIL read the post and had a few updates to the recipe. She suggests using a couple of green chilies along with dry red clilies. Secondly, you could use about 1/4 cup of chana dal (split chickpeas) along with tuvar dal. Lastly, she indicated that ginger is opional, so leave it if out if you so wish. For a completely different flavor, you could use fresh fenugreek leaves sautéed in some oil until it is wilted, in place of onions and green peas.