Sunday Special! Sheviyo Ani Kunkdachi Kadi (Stringhoppers/Rice Noodles & Chicken Curry)

This is probably the billionth time that I am writing the word 'favourite'. How else do I describe Sheviyo - Mangalore's very own steamed rice noodle? Called as Stringhoppers in English, it's closest cousin is the Keralite Noolputtu/Idiyappam which according to me are slightly thinner noodles - more like a hybrid between the cooked vermicelli & the Sheviyo. The Keralite version of this delicacy is made by using rice powder and the process of creating these delicate strands of flour requires a handy, portable cylindrical machine similar to the chakli maker. Batter is poured into it and a handle is wound to compress the batter which comes out of a fine slotted steel disc placed at the bottom of the cylinder. The Noolputtu is then steamed in a steamer and served hot with a dash of grated coconut. Yum! (Did I tell you I totally LOVE Mallu food as much as I love Mangy food? - I have loads of great Mallu friends and I have been tasting their food since my college days).


Sheviyo is made by reversing this process. Instead of rice flour, rice grains are soaked & ground to a thick paste which is then formed into lumps and steamed till done. These lumps are then quickly passed through a larger apparatus called the 'Shevgo' in Konkani. If you are wondering where to buy the Shevgo, well, it's available in a few 'Mangalore Stores' outlets in Mumbai. I picked up mine for about Rs.800 a couple of years ago & it was well worth the investment even though I use it just a couple of times a year - as it needs an extra person for steering the wheel :-) For those of you who live outside India and cannot carry one abroad, I suggest you pick up the chakli maker which has 5-6 steel discs with different kinds of shapes suitable to make chaklis and sevai & other Indian dry snacks. The slotted disc will be handy to make the Sheviyo provided you add unsteamed batter & then steam it like the Noolputtu (DO NOT make the mistake of stuffing steamed batter into a tiny chakli maker - it will get stuck forever like glue - this is a tried & tested attempt that flopped which compelled me to make the wise investment of buying the Shevgo :-)

The Chakli Maker

The Shevgo requires two people to maneuver. One who puts the freshly steamed lumps of dough into the cylinder (almost like a copper lota) with fine slots at the bottom and the other person who helps compress the dough by turning a handle - tough job I must say, but it's fun too as Sheviyo making time always helps strike up a great camaraderie between these two people even if they are the worst of enemies :-) The Sheviyo which begin to form into noodles and get squeezed out of the cylinder are quickly collected in a dish. Authentically, in Mangalore instead of a dish halved strips of the Banana tree stem are used which helps to retain the long strands of Sheviyo without having to break them. Fun isn't it? I wonder who thought of this great practice, either ways, we must give credit to the great minds who knew to make use of everything from their gardens. What seems amazing & mind boggling for us tissue paper users was common practice in those golden days.

The Mangalorean Shevgo



While the most popular way of eating the Sheviyo is with a chicken/mutton gravy (which are usually of a thinner consistency than regular gravies), one can enjoy them dipped in Sweet Coconut Roce (coconut milk flavoured with cardamom & palm jaggery (surai god)). Leftover Sheviyo is re-steamed the next day and converted into a savoury upma by tempering it with mustard, kadipatta etc. So you see, Mangalorean 'Poli' (steamed/fried rice items like sannas, appams, panpolo(neer dosa), bakri, mutli etc) are versatile as there are many ways to eat one dish - sweet, savoury or plain - take your pick!


Sheviyo

Recipe Source: My mum
Makes 8-10 'ghos' (portion of sheviyo derived from each compress)
Serves 6-8 people

You Need:
Method:
1. Soak rice for a minimum 2-3hours and grind it to a fine paste with as little water as possible - adding 1-2 tbsp of water only if you are using a mixer grinder that refuses to co-operate. Try to retain as thick a batter as possible (it should not be runny)
2. Make 4-5 portions of this thick batter and place them onto a cloth/bairas
3. Place a Tondor (steamer) with sufficient water on full flame and bring it to a boil. Place the cloth with the portions of batter into the steaming vessel and steam for 15-20minutes when the dough looks transparent
4. Prepare the 'Shevgo' by greasing the weight & compress cylinder with some cooking oil.
5. Open the steamer & remove one ball/portion of steamed dough & place into the cylinder. The weight needs to be positioned to hover right above the cylinder & the handles of the Shevgo need to be turned to release the weight rolling down into place. Press tightly to release Sheviyo, collect them immediately from below & roll back the handles of the Shevgo to repeat this process
6. Place Sheviyo on a Kurpon (disc woven out of reed) to cool off.
7. Serve Sheviyo with Chicken/Mutton curry or with coconut sweet roce (recipe to follow)


Chicken Curry
Recipe Source: My mum-in-law
Serves 6
You Need:
Method:
1. Dry roast the ingredients (dry chillies, coriander, pepper, mustard, jeera, onions, garlic) one by one on a hot tawa. Powder the dry ingredients (minus the onions & garlic) first if you are using a mixer grinder and then add the onions, garlic, grated coconut, tamarind & garam masala. Grind to a fine paste using a little water
2. Boil the chicken with 1 onion sliced (toss it in the pan with the chicken, no need to fry it first & all that jazz) and salt and a little water if required. Cook until chicken is done.
3. Add the ground masala to the chicken & bring it to a boil.
4. Heat a small pan, add ghee and when its smoking hot toss in the 1/2 sliced onion, reduce the flame to avoid burning. This is the Fon/Tadka/Tempering - Add this to the chicken gravy and serve hot!

Notes:
1. If you don't have both the varieties of the chillies just use the Byadge variety or even Kashmiri chillies will do (although the final dish may not taste 100% authentic Mangalorean). To tone down the spice remove the seeds from the chillies. If you are serving this dish to kids you may want to use not more than 6-7 deseeded Byadge chillies - this is what I do these days!



Labels: , , , , ,