Short Cut Kajjaya

We love our Kajjaya. But it is really a labor of love. It takes for ever to get done. Soaking the rice, grinding it and then making the Kajjaya mixture and then deep frying, indeed it a time consuming and laborious process. This time I decided to see if I can some how make it a little easy for myself. I did experiment a bit and finally it looks like I did cut down on a couple of steps. If making Kajjayas in huge quantities traditional recipe is still the gold standard. But if you are making a smaller batch like me this time around, this will just be good enough.

Cooking is a science. Most of our traditional recipes have roots in Ayurveda. Our palates are accustomed to recipes which probably started off as a part of Ayurvedic life style. Making great Kajjaya is as rigorous as a science experiment. It is very unforgiving as well. A little less moisture the batter will simply disintegrate, a little more moisture the Kajjayas will turn up like beer battered rice flour!

The other day some one asked me why their Kajjayas disintegrated once the batter was dropped into the ghee. Well I did get the answer during my experiments. The deal is rice flour is naturally gluten free. So it is inherently difficult to get rice flour to bind. Typically we encounter this problem while preparing Akki Rotti also. To improve the cohesiveness of the Rotti what we do is cook the rotti dough briefly. Somehow, hot water and gently cooking it briefly makes our Rotti dough pliable, elastic and cohesive something like what gluten does to wheat flour.  So that was one challenge solved.

The other challenge was to make sure that the rice powder had enough moisture to 'cook' in the Jaggery syrup. So to solve this problem, here is what I did.

Rice flour (yes! the rice flour out of the bag)  1/2 cup
Jaggery grated just shy of 1/2 cup
Hot water 2-3 tbsp (or more depending on the rice flour)
A combination of Ghee and sub flower oil for deep frying

  • Place the rice flour in the food processor. Pour the hot water over the rice flour and process it for a few seconds till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. The rice flour is ready when it comes together when pressed in our fist. If it does not, add spoon fulls of hot water and process till it achieves the desired status.
  • For the syrup, combine Jaggery with a tablespoon of hot water and cook till it reaches the softball stage. 
  • Dump the rice flour and stir vigorously. Toss in crushed cardamon seeds. The mixture will be fairly runny at this point.  Remove from heat but keep it covered. Once cool, the mixture will become slightly thick, sort of fudgy. It can easily be pinched into lemon sized balls and patted into small circles.
  • Heat ghee and sunflower oil in a  Kadai. 
  • Pinch lime sized dough and roll it into small balls between your palms. Place the rolled ball on a piece of wax paper and flatten it out into small circular discs. 
  • Once the ghee is hot enough, gently lower the flattened disc. Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown in colour.
  • Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

kavitha said...

Loved it...Kannada cuisine simple and healthy