Soft, moist and yummy is how I remember Bilavalege – a steamed roti of sorts with tomato gojju, a spicy, tangy, sweet sauce. It was one of my favorites at Auntie’s kitchen. Even after 25 years, the warmth and her immaculate kitchen remain unchanged! She was really happy to show me how she made them.
To a steel tumbler (cup) of hot water, she added another tumbler of flour and let it cook on low heat for 2 minutes in a beautiful brass pot. Then blended it well with a wooden ladle before shaping handfuls of the dough into balls and flattening it into little discs.
Then she proceeded to roll out the dough disc on a plastic sheet, as the dough is sticky, before cooking it on a hot griddle
It used to be Mamatha’s house for me. Back then, Mamatha and me would take turns visiting each other’s houses to just chat or study together. Visiting also entailed a warm welcome and warm homemade food at both the houses. That was the beauty of going to a friend’s house, especially of a different culture, you got to eat something really different and delicious!!! Besides, every kitchen in India has a flavor of its own, own spice blends and flavorings that have been passed down in the family from one generation to another.
At Auntie Trejavathi’s kitchen, I was introduced to so many different kinds of food & different flavors. So going to her house was always a treat. The kitchen was always spic and span with everything beautifully organized and arranged. We would sit on the marble kitchen floor, while she served the food to us and everyone else, before eating herself.
The gojjus, saarus ( lentil based sauce) and the rice dishes (eggplant, peppers, mango) were super delicious and super spicy, even though she would tone down the spice level for me. I enjoyed her green pepper rice, Obbatu( jaggery stuffed wraps), Mulangi Sambhar (radish & dal), Mango rice and bilavalege – steamed roti.
As usual, I couldn’t leave without eating, so I got to eat the Bilavalege -steamed roti that I had watched her make with a side of French bean- coconut, seasoned with black mustard seeds and Obbatu as well! It was a nice visit, as we talked a lot – she about Mamatha and her grand daughters and me about my sons as we pulled up pictures on the phones & ipad. Back then, it used to be about classes, exams & grades.
As I was leaving, I said “Barteene Auntie” ( I will be back)……. another way of saying goodbye!!!
1 Cup Wheat/Rice Flour
1 Cup Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1. Boil the water in a saucepan or pot, add salt.
2. Place a wooden spoon in the pot and then add the wheat/rice flour.
3. Do not stir.
4. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
5. Turn off heat and stir quickly using the wooden spoon to make a lump free soft dough.
6. Knead the dough while its hot.
7. Apply a little oil to your hands, as the dough is sticky
8. Take a handful of dough and shape it into round ball then flatten it into a disc
7. Roll the round disc (on a plastic sheet/parchment paper) till they are about 6 to 8 inches in diameter
9. Cook the round disc (roti) on both sides ( about a 75 – 90 seconds on each side) – Medium heat
10. You can have it with a dip/roasted veggies of your choice