It was getting dark. We were all weary after traveling such a long distance. We felt insecure after the previous night’s nightmare, when a thief had broken into our hotel room. The thief was almost caught by my brother. However, he had come prepared with a well oiled body, and slipped out of my brother’s clutches and scrambled down the coconut tree outside the window and escaped, even as my sister and I watched paralyzed at the sight, and my young son slept blissfully unaware of happenings! Our Goa trip which was planned for a week, culminated after a mere two days of fun and frolic at the beaches. After losing our house keys and some cash in the mid night encounter none of us wanted to stick to our original plans. We could leave the tourist’s paradise only well after noon, after completing all the police formalities.
My husband and brother-in-law decided to break our journey at Hubli since we did not want to drive all night. My sister, myself and the kids strongly protested against staying at a hotel AGAIN! Finally we decided to land on my father’s cousin who happened to live in Dharvad.
Our hostess welcomed us - the shocked lot - with a warm smile, extending to us the much needed refuge and security. At that unearthly hour, she prepared jolada rottis which were so soft, warm and comforting and served them with pulikachal.
Jolada roti (Jowar flat bread) and pulikachal (tamarind ground nut relish) – an unconventional combination was ambrosia to us at that hour. Later when I learnt to make jolada rottis myself, my family still preferred to eat it with pulikachal, in spite of the badanekai playa (brinjal curry) and the kadalekai chutney pudi (spicy peanut chutney powder), which is typically had with this dish.
Jola flour (Jowar or Sorghum Flour) – 1 cup
1. Boil 1 ½ cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add the flour to the boiling water, stirring vigorously at the same time.
3. When the flour is cooked and gathers into a mass, switch off the flame and cover with a lid.
4. After a few minutes remove the lid and knead the mass into a smooth dough.
5. Divide it into medium size balls and roll them out with a rolling pin.
6. Heat a tava and place a roti on the hot tava.
7. When the roti starts to puff up here and there, turn it over to the other side.
8. Press the roti with a wet cloth so that the whole rotti puffs up.
9. Roll all the rottis and cook them side by side, to avoid drying up of the rottis.
Enjoy the soft and warm rottis with a blob of butter, badanekai palya and chutney pudi.
If you want to pack these rotis for a travel , carry a bottle of pulikachal along, for a lip smacking meal.
This is a simple version of the same pulikachal which is used in the preparation of puliogre or tamarind rice.
Tamarind – the size of a tennis ball
Jaggery - measuring up to the same volume as tamarind
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt – 3 tsps
Sesme oil – 5 tbsps
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Black gram dal – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal – 1 tsp
Ground nuts – 4 tbsps
Red chillies – 20
Curry leaves – a few
DRY ROAST AND GRIND:
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – ½ tsp
1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract a thick juice from it. (avoid adding too much water as it will take a long time to cook)
2. Dissolve jaggery in a little warm water, filter it into the tamarind juice.
3. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds.
4. When it splutters add the dals and fry till they become golden in colour.
5. Add the ground nuts and fry till they crack.
6. Add the red chillies broken into small pieces.
7. When they become crisp add curry leaves and fry.
8. Add turmeric powder.
9. Now add the tamarind and jaggery juice to the seasoning.
10. Add salt and cook till it thickens stirring now and then.
11. When the pulikachal is thick like jelly and the oil separates, switch off the flame and blend in the roasted and ground fenugreek and asafoetida powder.
This makes a very good spread for bread. It goes well with almost any and every dish. It has a long shelf life if stored in a dry air tight jar. My pulikachal never lasts more than two days because of my family’s attacks on the dish at every meal time !