Oduputtu by Shalini Nanda
Cooked in a shallow, 9″ – 10″ wide earthenware pan known as a “wodu” or “odu”, oduputtu is made from an unfermented rice batter, seasoned with salt. Sometimes a little fenugreek seed is ground along with the rice. So far, so simple. What really makes it unique, however, is the seasoning that is applied to the pan. No oil is used, but before the batter is poured, the pan is rubbed with a lump of resin, known as “banda” (bun-dah). This is the hardened exudate of the Indian Copal tree, Vateria indica. It releases a delicate fragrance but very little smoke.The resin vaporizes quickly, leaving barely discernible traces on the crisp base of the oduputtu, which takes on a subtle, elusive, fragrance that may as well be in the scented air.
Rice pancakes with a fancy air about them.
- 1 cup raw rice, soaked for 2 – 3 hours
- 2 tbsp soft, cooked rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- A small lump of “banda”
Grind the soaked raw rice and the cooked rice together to a smooth batter and add the salt. Add water as needed to make a batter with a consistency a little thinner than single cream.
Heat the pan* on a low, steady flame until it is evenly heated. Keep the heat on medium-low. Grasp one side of the pan with a piece of cloth and rub the banda firmly onto the heated pan, working in a circular motion. Breathe in that delicate scent.
Quickly pour in about 1/3 cup of batter, tipping the pan as you pour to coat the inside, leaving a margin of a few inches around the edge. Wait until the surface bubbles disappear and the batter looks just set. Place a lid over the pan. Remove the lid after a couple of minutes.
When the edges start to turn golden brown and lift away from the pan, slide a knife around the edges and lift the oduputtu out.The puttu is cooked when the base is crisp and insides soft and white.
In my grandmother’s home , these were most often eaten with butter and honey as a teatime snack, or, quite on the other end of things, with a sheep’s head curry, as part of a more substantial meal.
Makes 8 – 10 pieces.