Summer vacations were great fun back when I was in school. Going to different kinds of camps was not an option, at least in the town I grew up in. There was no TV so main entertainment used to be either reading, painting or playing outside. Playing outside in hot sunny day was not an option because mom would call us back as soon as we stepped out. Pappa got me my own library card and I read couple of books per day. I would paint as much as I could.
Another thing that I remember was mom and her friends making papads, kurdai, potato wafers, sandage for the whole year. Those few days were most memorable as we would get to eat things that we would not get the whole year. All these batters, doughs are the most tasty things you could ever eat and then came half dried papads, kurdais and sandage were even more tastier.
The process to make these delicacies is usually very time consuming and labor intensive. Moms would do it years after years with their busy schedules. My mom stopped making most of it recently when me and my brother left homes for further studies.
I was chatting about all these things to my sister-in-law in my past India visit and how I miss it etc. She immediately soaked wheat to make this cheek just for me. As I said earlier it is labor intensive to make all these things. But I couldn't stop her. She is one enthusiastic girl I know. After 3 days of soaking, then grinding, straining and cooking slowly the cheek was ready to eat. Here she is, making the cheek -
In my recent visit to Whole Foods, I got wheat berries and immediately got it home. As you guessed, I made nice saturday morning breakfast out of it. Here is how --
1 c whole wheat berries
water as needed
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
salt per taste
Pick over and wash the wheat berries. Soak them in about 2-3 cups of water. Cover and set aside. Next day change the water. The berries will be plumper than the day before. Again change water on 3rd day.
On fourth day, drain and rinse soaked wheat. Add them to food processor bowl. Grind coarsely, adding little water at a time.
Now with large strainer, strain the whole thing squeezing as much starch as possible. Repeat the procedure until there in no starch left in the wheat. You can use as much water as you want to get the starch out of wheat. Throw away the remaining wheat bran. I put it in my compost bin.
Let the starchy liquid rest for at least 5-6 hours. Then slowly drain water from the starch. Throw away that drained water.
Now measure the starch that is at the bottom of the vessel. If you have 1 cup of starch, start boiling 1 cup of fresh water. Add poppy seeds and salt per taste.
Slowly pour the starch in boiling water stirring constantly.
On a low to medium flame start cooking and stirring constantly. In few minutes the whole mixture will start forming lumps. Keep on stirring.
In about 2-3 minutes whole thing will form a big lump and it will start becoming translucent. Keep stirring for couple more minutes and then cover it, lower the flame and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Mix it together the last time and serve with peanuts, oil and sesame seeds. It tastes better when its warm but I can eat it at any temperature!
It was a journey through memory lane for me and I hope it is for you too.
- My mom told me, instead of adding starch to boiling water, mix water to starch and mix well and start cooking together to avoid lumps.
- It tastes great with milk and bit sugar as well.
- Now a days you get the dried starch in packages in Pune/Mumbai. It makes life easier :)
- if you are planning to make kurdaya, use shev press with piping hot cheek to get nice and white kurdaya after drying in sun for at least 3-4 days.