In some ways, the Maharashtrian in me thinks of akki roti as a thalipeeth, except that the former is made of rice flour. I’m not too wide of the mark, if you consider the addition of onions and the patting method used to flatten the bread. When we were children, Amma would make us akki rotis as an after-school snack and serve them with chutney pudi. I recall enjoying the chewiness of this bread that came from the ‘new rice’ flour more than the brittle toastiness of the thalipeeth’s multigrain flours – suitable, perhaps, for a more adult palate. I discovered, much later, that while most parts of Karnataka make akki roti by adding either onions or greens to the rice flour, Coorg makes a bhakri-like akki roti. This version – plain and also roasted on a naked flame to char the edges – is served with delicious pandi (pork) curry, made beforehand to allow it to mature. Another difference in the two types of akki roti: the Coorgi one is made from a mix of cooked rice and rice flour, while the other version only contains rice flour.
The recipe I am about to share makes a great breakfast, served with fresh coconut chutney and dollops of homemade, freshly churned unsalted butter.
- 180 gm rice flour
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dill or fresh green coriander leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, bruised
- 1 green chilli, made into a coarse paste in a mortar and pestle
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped or half a small cucumber, peeled and grated (skip this if using dill)
- 60 ml water (more or less, as required)
- 45 ml vegetable oil
- A pinch of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients (except the oil) in a large mixing bowl and knead to achieve a soft dough, using as much water as required. You will need less if you use onions or cucumbers and a little more if you use just the greens.
- Divide the dough into four balls.
- Grease an iron griddle or tava with a few drops of oil. Place one ball in the centre of the tava and flatten, using your fingers, to about a quarter-inch thickness. Place the tava on medium heat and cook on both sides, until brown spots appear.
- To make the remaining akki roti, place a sheet of thick plastic or cling wrap on a work surface and grease it lightly with a few drops of oil. Use this surface to pat the rest of the akki roti and transfer to the waiting tava. Alternatively, you could use a moist square of muslin to pat the akki roti on; this makes it easier to transport them to the tava without burning. Serve hot with chutneys.
Excerpted with permission from Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen, Saee Koranne-Khandekar, Hachette India.