Monday, May 3, 2010

Ganji Saaru (Porridge Soup!!)

My mom always calls her mom (ie, my grandmom) whenever we visit her. Reason being, my grandmom can spend time with her children, grand children, great grand children & also we all can relish her cooking (my mom too!). Though my granny is 75+ years old, her zeal for cooking is what I admire in her. She learns & also at the same time shares a lot of dishes. Infact, we both keep exchanging recipes & I do get appreciation from her for my cooking. During these days, my mom hardly cooks as my grandmom would take care of cooking.

So sometimes, I plead my mom to cook as I would want to eat mom-cooked food too. I would have listed few trademark dishes of my mom & would always relish them whenever I visit her, however short my visit is.This ganji saaru is one such dish from my mom & we both sisters used to fight for this rasam. Once in a bluemoon this would be cooked & we would lick our plates clean on that day.

Ganji(Water drained from cooked rice) is needed to prepare this. My mom normally uses white rice(sona masuri rice) & I always do it with brown rice(Kerala rice or Rosematta rice could be used too). Ganji saaru is a very simple & humble dish that cannot disappoint anyone. Enjoy !!

Ganji preparation:

For white rice:
Rice: 1 cup
Water: 3 to 3.5 cups (adjust according to the rice)
For brown rice or rosematta rice:
Rice: 1 cup
Water: 4 cups

Wash the rice 2-3 times thoroughly in running water. Soak the brown rice (if using) for 30-45mins. No need to do it for white rice. Add water & cook on a low-medium heat until the rice is well cooked & not mushy. Press the rice grain in between your thumb & first finger. If rice gets mashed easily, it is an indication that rice is cooked. Even after the rice is completely cooked, there will be water as more water is added while cooking rice.Drain the water & keep aside. This water or ganji as we call in Kannada is the basic ingredient for the rasam/ssaru. Keep the rice on a low heat for another 1-2mins so that the moisture in the rice is gone. Now, you have rice ready to be consumed with ganji saaru!

Ingredients for ganji saaru:
Ganji/Water drained from rice: 1 cup (refer above to know how to obtain ganji)
Water: 1/2 cup
Ghee/Clarified butter/Oil: 1 tsp
Red chilli: 2 nos (broken)
Curry leaves: 1 string
Asafoetida: a pinch
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice: 2 tsp
Coriander leaves: 1 tsp (finely chopped)

  • Add salt, water to ganji & heat it again (no need for a rolling boil).
  • Prepare the tempering. Add ghee/oil to a small pan. When ghee/oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn brown, add curry leaves, broken red chillli, asafoetida. Pour this tempering to the ganji. Add lemon juice, coriander leaves & mix well.
  • Serve it hot with piping hot rice & pickle or stir-fry.
  • The basic ganji preparation is very similar to the cooking of pasta. However, donot add too much water while cooking rice as the ganji/water drained from cooked rice needs to be thick. If your rice to water ratio is 1:2, make it 1:3 for getting nice ganji. My rice to water proportion is 1:2.5, hence while preparing ganji I make it 1:3.5!
  • The flavor of this rasam/soup could be make garlicy by adding garlic while tempering. If you decide to add garlic, skip asafoetida.
Thanks a lot for the good response on my last post. The correct answer is MALABAR SPINACH(Basella alba). Most of you guys have guessed it right !!!

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