Back to mudde. Of late it had become fashionable to be eating Mudde because of health reasons. In my family, Papa always has Mudde once a day. Me and honey are rather too lazy to be making Mudde everyday. It is something we reserve for special occasions, an occasional indulgence indeed. Not that it takes too much of time or effort, just that for the two of us it is rather a hassle.
Mudde also reminds of a soul long resting in peace now. Bhootaiah.... He was a legend in my home town. His name is rather weird. Bhoota means ghost in Kannada... He was a farm hand on grandpa's fields. Back then it was customary for landowners to feed their farm hands. Generally they would be fed Mudde and some sort of curry, each mudde would be as big as my head. By any measure, one person could not have had more than one, may be one and a half. Bhootaiah's was the only exception. His normal standard was two muddes, may be another half, if the hostess is kind enough!! He was again an exception on the fields as well, for his strength and hard work. He was always the first one to report early in the morning and the last to lay down his tool at the end of the day. May his soul rest in peace. Those days indeed bring me back so many memories which are not so pleasant... the grinding poverty, the way these farm hands slogged long hours for a pittance, because they did not have any better alternative. Then during droughts, they would not even get to eat well because there is no work on the farms. These agriculture labour lived right on the edge of survival not too far from starvation and death. One improvement that i see in my home town in recent years is the improvement in the living condition of these folks. They are paid better these days. They are paid in cash, not kind. They have ration cards -the targeted public distribution system entitlement document, that assures them of cheap food grains. There are no more beggar kids standing at the doors beseeching for food... they cries still echo in my ears 'Amma, tayi ....' I assume they are doing better these days. They must be having better opportunities. Being rootless labours, they migrate to lines of work that pays better rather quickly. It is a relief, that way I do not have to feel guilty every time I drive down to my home town, not feel guitly about my own better condition (not that I am rich but that today i have a laptop and an internet connection makes me privilaged according to statistics) not feel guilty that I am indulging in wasteful expenses even when my own people are suffering. Now I can be bit less guilty being in my own world where it is OK to be 'in my yard, with my dog, kids and family' (not that i have a yard or a dog or kids! just liked the expression from Kiron Desai)I only hope and pray that however inefficient this trickle down is, will continue and give hope to the hopeless... As the Sanskrit sloka say
Lead me to the truth from falsehood,
from darkness to light,
from death to life
peace , peace to all....
Humble food, yet so powerful.
Now back to Ragi mudde. It is not difficult to make one, but got to give it a try a couple of times before getting it right. This time around I got the measurements right. So this recipe is as perfect as i can make it!!
you will need,
Ragi flour 1.5 cups +1 tbsp
Water 2.25 cups +1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Ghee 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (I use 1 tbsp, like it fragrant)
- Take 2.25 cups of water in a thick bottomed pot, turn on the heat.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water with 1 tbsp ragi flour. Mix well to make a thin paste. Pour it into the water into the pot. Mix well.
- Throw in the salt and ghee. Stir and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- Now slowly add the remaining ragi flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir vigorously, till all the flour is used up.
- Mix well to make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
- Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- To roll them into balls, take a cup of cold water and keep it at hand.
- Take a small plate and moisten it with a few drops of water.
- Ladle a fourth of the cooked Mudde onto the plate.
- Using your fingers pat the dough into a ball, frequently dipping your fingers into the bowl of cold water so as to not scald your fingers.
- The mixture will be very hot and make sure not to scald yoruself.
- Serve it with a hot curry and a dollop of ghee.