Kurdai-Gavhacha Cheek-Gavhachya Saalacha Upma for RCI June: Maharashtrian Cuisine!
Translating that title in English is rather difficult so read on…
No Maharshtrian feast is complete without accompaniments such as Papad and Kurdai.
In fact summer is the time the business of making Papads, Kurdais etc..flourishes in many households here.
Kurdai is a delicious snack akin to papads, but made from Wheat. These are usually made during the summer time,sun dried and stored in every household, just like papads and fried whenever required.You need lots of patience and time to make these pearly white, noodle like Kurdais.
Sun-dried Kurdai Deep Fried Kurdai
We usually get these made from someone (usually housewives who run household business making Papads, Masalas and Pickles)- lack of time and laziness being the main reasons.
To make Kurdai, Wheat is soaked in water for three days and then finely ground. The milky white extract (it is called as Gavhacha Cheek- Gahu means Wheat and cheek means extract) is separated from the wheat skin.
This milky white extract is then cooked with water to make a soft stiff dough called Ukad, which is inturn passed through a press(Thin Sev press) to get the kurdais. These are then dried and stocked.
The cooked soft dough used to make Kurdai is very tasty by itself- It makes for a delicious, healthy and filling snack. We call it Gavhacha Cheek. I am very fond of this Cheek and even if I don’t make Kurdais at home, I make this Cheek as an evening snack once in a while.The left over Wheat skin (Gavhacha saal; saal means skin) is used for making a scrumptious spicy Upma.
Recipes like these are becoming almost extinct, just like sparrows. Very few households now make these authentic Maharshtrian dishes.
This is my humble attempt to keep the traditional offbeat recipes alive.
_________________________________________________________ Gavhacha Cheek recipe
Servings :~ 4-5 _____________________________________________________
5-6 Cups Whole wheat (the older the better)
½ tsp Cumene powder
¼ tsp Asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
1. Soak Wheat in water for 3 days changing the water everyday.
2. After 3 days finely grind the wheat till all the wheat grains are properly crushed and the milky extract separates out.
3. Take some water (about 3-4 cups) in a large vessel and add the crushed wheat to it. Remove the wheat skin with your hands and squeeze tightly so that the milky extract remains in the water and the skin is separated. Repeat this procedure one more time with fresh water –put the skin in another lot of freah water (3-4cups) and squeeze out the extract with your hands.
4. Take a thin fresh clean cotton cloth and filter the extract through it. Use your hand to press the liquid through the cloth.
5. Don’t throw the Wheat skin. Keep it aside.
6. Keep the Milky extract (Cheek) covered overnight.
7. A layer of thin yellowish watery liquid can be seen on the dense White Cheek which is settled at the bottom.Discard the supernatant water and measure the lower dense Cheek using a cup. (You may need a spoon to remove the white cheek since it is quite dense.
8. Boil equal amount of water in a pan and add little salt, cumene powder and Asafoetida.
9. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the Cheek to it with one hand and stir with a wooden spatula with your other hand, taking care that no lumps are formed.
10. Cook till the milky white cheek becomes translucent. Cover and cook for a few minutes more stirring in between.
11. Serve hot.
12. This can also be served by adding a little sugar and milk on top, but I prefer it as it is.
_________________________________________________________ Gavhachya Salacha Upma recipe
Servings: ~ 3-4 _____________________________________________________
Use the leftover Wheat skin from the Gavhacha Cheek to make this slightly sour and spicy Upma.
Heat oil in a pan. Do the tadka (mustard seeds, cumene seeds, curry leaves, green chillies-in that order). Add some chopped onion and fry till translucent. Add the leftover wheat skin and cook covered for few minutes. Stir this Upma nicely and add little fresh grated coconut. Mix well and let some moisture evaporate.
Garnish with coriander leaves and lime juice (optional). The Upma is already slightly sour so addition of lime juice depends on how sour you like it.
You can also wrap it in a soft Roti and serve as a Frankie.