Monday, September 24, 2007

Marrow - petha family

I, like many Indian school children growing up in the '70s, was addicted to Enid Blyton's books. She had the ability to make the most everyday food sound delicious - tomatoes fresh from the garden, e.g. But I was always puzzled by her references to marrow jam, since the only marrow I was familiar with was bone marrow. It was only years later that I realised she was referring to the petha family of veggies. By and large I'm not a huge fan of this variety of vegetables, finding them too tasteless for my liking. But I do love petha halwa, and petha huli ( sambar). Yesterday I discovered that my one and a half year old also likes petha. We had petha huli for dinner and little miss happily fished out piece after piece of the veggie from the spicy huli and gobbled it up, screaming when her portion was finished.

Dumrothe (Petha Halwa) was served at my sister's wedding feast, many years ago. All the guests relished it, including me, and sadly none was left by the time my parents were free to sit down for their meal. I have tried with varying success to make it at home, mostly because it takes a lot of patience, which is one condiment in short supply at our house.

1 petha, medium size, grated finely
1 cup ghee ( clarified butter, recipe on one of my blogs)
1 tsp saffron strands
Half as many cups sugar as of grated petha
Cardamon - 4-5 pods with the seeds removed and crushed into fine powder
1/2 cup pistachio halves

Tie the grated petha into a muslin cloth and hang over a sink or place in a colander with a heavy weight placed on top, to ensure that all the water drains out.
Once the petha is almost dry, put it into a non-stick wok on medium heat and roast, stirring occasionally until it is almost dry.
Add the ghee and the saffron strands, and stir to mix, frying for about 3-4 minutes.
Then add the sugar slowly, stirring to mix.
Once all the sugar is melted and the halwa has taken on a pale yellow colour, remove from heat and stir in the cardamom powder.
Garnish with pistachio halves before serving.

Petha Huli
1 cup arhar dal, well cooked
1 lime sized ball of tamarind, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for half hour
1 lime-sized ball of jaggery ( or brown sugar if Jaggery is not available)
1 petha, cut into 2 inch long and 1 inch wide segments and boiled until well done
Salt to taste
2 cups water
1 handful fresh grated coconut
1-2 tbsp Huli Pudi ( recipe given below)
Tempering ( voggarane)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 dried red chillies

Squeeze the tamarind juice into the hot water, and strain into a deep steel utensil or saucepan.
Add the cooked lentils and boil for a few minutes to get rid of the 'raw' smell of the tamarind juice.
Meanwhile, blend the fresh coconut along with the Huli Pudi and half cup of water to make a smooth paste.
Add the paste to the lentil-tamarind mix and add the cooked petha, jaggery and salt.
Boil together for 4-5 minutes so the ingredients blend well together.
Add the tempering and serve hot.

Petha huli goes well with rotis and rice.

Huli Pudi Recipe
1 handful coriander seeds
I handful dried red chillies
Half handful chana dal
Half handful urad dal
2 tbsp dessicated ground coconut
1 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark
Pinch asafoetida ( heeng)
1 handful dried curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric

Fry the coriander seeds and red chillies together in a wok with one drop of oil, un til the red chillied turn shiny. Keep aside to cool.
Fry the chana dal and urad dal ( add urad after chana is half done) with a drop of oil, until they turn crunchy and light brown. Then add the coconut, cinnamon, asafoetida and curry leaves and fry until the coconut turns slightly brown and gives off a nice, toasty aroma.
Keep aside to cool.
In a dry grinder, powder the coriander seeds and the red chillies together into a fine powder. Add the rest of the fried ingredients and powder until you get a dark brown-gold powder. Then add the turmeric, which helps the keeping power of the powder.
Remove, mix with a spoon and store in a tightly closed clean container.
This powder can keep for up to a month in a dark cupboard, and longer in cold weather.


bindiya said...

i like this too, and i think combining with dal would be great,good recipe

Asha said...

How beautiful combining all three Petha recipes in one.I love the Pudi recipe too. Thank you girl!:))

bee said...

you have a nice blog here. have added you to our blogroll.

bird's eye view said...

Thanks, Bindiya, asha and bee.

Radhika said...


Is this Priya Narendra from LSR, Economics(Hons), Batch of 1990?

If so, then, whew, girl..when did you urn into his amazing foodie????

bird's eye view said...

Yes, Radhika, this is the same. Are you radhika narayanswami?

I turned into a foodie after i got married and we were in bschool - cooking was my way to destress!