“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” — Surat Al-Baqarah 2:185
Wishing all my readers a blessed Ramadan ahead… It is surreal that we have reached yet another of this blessed month, Alhamdulillah… I have been more active on my social media of late. Those who follow me on my Instagram handle would definitely know about it – if you aren’t following me, then please do! 🙂 I do follow a lot of pages and this year, even though I started off with a lot of plans to do many things including de-cluttering my excess baggage and doing a deep cleaning session at home, nothing happened. It actually made me feel so beaten up, till I realized that I never stressed myself over the month as such. I never prepped my meals, I would just go with the flow, like how I would do on my usual days. It is the most important that you make sure you spent the time that Allah has blessed you during this month, doing the best deeds you can do. That includes reading the Quran with or without translation – though the former is always recommended, reading Islamic history, listening to lectures, teaching the girls (which is on my agenda this time to revise the chapters I know by heart with them), and just being calm with matters in the house. It is always best to remember and tell ourselves that our reward is based on our intentions, so as long as you can keep them as clean as possible, InShaAllah, He will reward us aptly. 🙂
“Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” — Quran 16: 128
This time, I wanted to do a post that is so apt to this month. The pathiri post has been pending on the blog since long. There is a reason – I am no expert in pathiri. Many may make you seem it quite easy to make. In fact it is quite easy to make with no such complications. But there are a lot of nitty-gritty that we as Malabaris who love our nice pathiri look into. For example, we love to hand roll the pathiris. Doing it on a press is a big no-no. We don’t cut our pathiris into a round shape. It has to be a good decent looking round with not much cuts on the side. How can it be done? I will explain as the post goes… And, we don’t use a single drop of oil in it. Sacrilege! 😀
A pathiri is nothing but a thin flatbread made with soft rice flour in some parts of Malabar. When I say soft, I mean it. The powder has to be smooth flow. The rice flour that is used in the orottis are a little coarse and slightly sticky. But not for this pathiri, mind you. So always choose packs which say “Pathiri podi”. I use brands like Eastern or Amis, and most of the time bring small consignments from home.
Pathiri is an emotion for us. Maybe not for the current generation, but the elder generation, surely. I remember while back home, pathiri is a must for almost every day for breakfast. I would stand on the side watching the marathon of all my aunts in the kitchen as they make the big heap of pathiris. For Ramadan, it is an indispensable part of the daily meal. When we were younger, we used to have an Iftar party for all the bachelors at our home. I remember the big heaps of pathiris that umma would roll and make. She always blames her shoulder problems for the amount of pathiris that she has made during her young days. And I don’t blame her. Kneading pathris is an art. If it is doesn’t come out right, it won’t roll into a round, it will have broken edges and it won’t puff up. But you can still eat it.
I don’t want to keep writing a lot about it and boring you about it. Umma would always make with her intuition, as is all moms, who never go by the scale. Even while staying with her, I tried to get her to use cups so that I could learn, and blog about it, but she would push me down with a stare. 😉 Finally, back home, I asked a couple of my aunts and they told me that the quantity used is equal. How I do it now is a mixture of how I have seen umma doing it and what I have heard from the aunts I inquired from. It took me a long time to get rid of my inhibitions about making pathiri. I hate it when I get remarks like, “You don’t know how to make pathiri?” Darn… 😕
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We start off with sieving the rice flour once just to add air to it. Meanwhile, we boil equal amount of water with the required salt on the stove. Once it comes to a rolling boil, the flame is kept to minimum, the sifted rice flour is added and given a good mix. Keep it closed and let it cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. Switch off and leave it for another five minutes. Now comes the tough part. The hot dough is emptied onto a flat surface and we start to knead. The kneading should be done when the dough is hot, otherwise it will end up being clumpy and sticky. Keep kneading by wetting your hands occasionally till the dough stops sticking on your hand.
We usually don’t rest the dough. Immediately we make the balls from the dough and get them rolling as soon as possible. Once it is all rolled and stacked, we can either cook them as soon as possible, or cover them and keep it in the fridge till it is time to be had. They taste best when hot and fresh, so the latter is what we usually do. Umma says we can keep the raw pathiris in a clean, dry air tight container, stacked for a week or so, but I have never tried it.
I would have loved to take a video, but my schedule doesn’t permit it. I have been running like a crazy duck every single day, but Alhamdulillah it is better to be busy than to be idle at all times. However, I am sharing a mini video just to show how I roll the pathiris and how it will look once cooked on your flat pan. The rolling of the pathiris comes with a lot of practice, read torn and amoeba shaped ones! But gradually, it does come through. It is similar to rolling chapathis, however a pathiri dough needs more rice flour to roll them properly and needs to be dusted very well so that you don’t see burned specks on the pathiri when cooking it. It doesn’t look neat at all, really… 🙂
The above is rolling a pathiri using a roller…
This one is above cooking your pathiri, with some tips. I hope it is audible. Seriously, I give a big salute to those who make videos. Just getting these two compressed tested my patience!
Pathiri is usually served with a non-vegetarian curry. We pair it up with a varutharacha curry – it can be chicken, meat or fish. One of the combinations that umma loved to serve with (and we used to hate it!) was with this muringayila curry. How odd that while I type this, I am craving for that combination! Hehe… In fact, it goes with almost all Malabar style gravies that are shared on the blog. Some parts of Malabar have the pathiri dipped in sweetened coconut milk. It is a way we give it to small toddlers to eat theirs.
I will end this super long post with a story – at HD’s place, they don’t have this pathiri. They have the orotti or the tyre pathiri – I am hoping to try it during Ramadan and shoot it to post, InShaAllah… So when we got married, umma would make it whenever we were home for dinner. During one of our first Iftar parties at home, he was on the table and gawking at how the men were actually taking a full layer of pathiri into their plates. Yes, this is one thing that is never counted. You just eat as much as your tummy can take! As he was counting and picking for his plate, D came from behind, pulled up a heap, and just dropped into his plate. Since he was just “puyyapla” (groom) at that time, he couldn’t say anything. D just commented, “ആരെങ്കിലും പത്തിരി എണ്ണി തിന്നോ??” (who counts and eats pathiri??) 😀 Later that night, he was explaining to me how many pathiris each were taking, and I just remarked, “I hope you get why umma feels tired after making the pile. It is so much work, but it just flies off. In fact, it is never enough!” Now finally, he has learned the art of eating pathiri without counting. 😉
- 3 cups pathiri podi/ smooth rice flour + more for rolling
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 3 cups water
- Sift the rice flour and set aside.
- In a large bowl, bring the water to boil along with the salt.
- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce the flame to simmer. Add the sifted rice flour and give the mixture a good mix, till all the flour is moist.
- Stop mixing, close the lid and let it cook for five minutes. Switch off.
- After a couple of minutes, empty the mixture into a flat surfaced bowl. This makes it easy to knead. Scrap as much of the dough into the bowl.
- Pour some water into the dough bowl and keep on the side. This will be used for dipping your hand while kneading.
- Start kneading when the dough is still hot. I usually use dough hooks of my egg beater to bring the dough together till the dough is hot enough to touch.
- Dip your hands in water if you feel the dough is sticky. Keep kneading as much time till the dough becomes cooler. The final stage is that it will cease to stick to your hand. You will get a smooth dough, where you can leave indention with your finger.
- Divide the dough into balls. This quantity makes 12 large pathiris or around 18-20 smaller ones.
- On your rolling surface, sprinkle rice flour generously and roll flat and thin. The round has to be uniform for the pathiri to fluff up. Alternatively, you could use a press to flatten the dough by rubbing oil or brushing rice flour. You can stack up the rolled pathiris if not cooking immediately.
- Heat your pan for making the pathiris. Put the pathiri rolled side down - this is very important for proper fluffing.
- Allow to cook for a couple of minutes. You can rub the surface with your spatula to know. If it is rough, it is cooked. Flip the pathiri.
- Cook the other side for another couple of minutes You can gently rub your spatula to facilitate the pathiri to fluff up. Don't worry if it doesn't fluff completely. It would still be soft.
- Line your hot pot with a cotton cloth and place your pathiri in flipped direction. The cloth will allow steam to move out and won't make your pathiris soggy upon storage. You can use thick kitchen towel also.
- Continue till all are done. Once done, wrap the cloth over the top pathiri and close the lid of the pot. If using a kitchen towel, keep on top.
- Serve as per mentioned in the post. 🙂
I supposed this is the longest post in the blog. I am so tired that you may hardly see posts this Ramadan… 😉
May Allah bless us with the best during this holy month… Aameen Ya Rubb!