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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sanna ~ Mangalorean Idlis



Blogging comes across as a rewarding experience whenever I get a chance to try out a new recipe - a recipe that turns out great and  satisfies our palates beyond our expectations. A recipe that I have pretty slim chances of trying out personally, if not for blogging. My interest is piqued more when the recipe is an authentic, traditional one and the blogger appears to have a local knowledge about the recipe in a true sense unlike the cookbook authors. That's what happened when this month's Indian Cooking Challenge "Sanna" was announced. We got introduced to a new recipe which I am going to cherish forever.
The recipe came from Shireen's blog Ruchik Randhap , sannas being a speciality from Mangalore / Goan regions. Practically my whole life in India was spent in Karnataka but still I had never heard of "sanna". The reason being the differences between Bangalore and Mangalore / Konkani cuisines are as wide as chalk and cheese. Now I have heard about it, I am  wondering how to pronounce the name. :)

 

Now coming to what sannas are, they can be loosely translated as cousins of fluffy, soft idlis - another speciality of the south Indian region. Rice - urad dal mixture is ground and fermented like idlis albeit the sanna recipe uses yeast / toddy / arrack to ferment. And needs less time to get fermented when compared to idlis, given that it is warm outside or the batter is fermented in a warm place. And one more pronounced difference is that the sannas are steamed in ramekins called gindul and steamed in a special steamer called tondor. In absence of those, one can use any stainless steel / aluminium small cups and a steamer / pressure cooker. Idli stand should work too but I am guessing the shapes of idlis / sanna vary slightly. Preparing sanna is a breeze if you know how to make idlis. Even if you haven't, the detailed pictorial description below should give you a decent idea. It is not really hard as it sounds.
It was mentioned that the batter left overnight to ferment turns sour. Owing to the weather I have in my neighborhood, I can never get the batter ready for breakfast at 6 am in the morning. What I did was soaked the ingredients overnight, ground the batter around 7 am in my wet grinder and had the batter ready by 11 am so that I could have my sannas for lunch. The extras I refrigerated and again steamed them for few minutes next day morning for breakfast. They taste fresh and good as a new batch. Preparing them in advance for next day's breakfast sounds sensible.

Ingredients: (yield a dozen)
3/4 cup parboiled rice (I used idli rice.)
1/4 cup raw rice (I used extra long grain rice.)
2 Tbsp / a fistful skinned black gram (urad dal)
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar (for yeast solution )
2 - 3 Tbsp tepid water(for yeast solution)
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

Note: I have noticed that parboiled rice and idli rice are not one and the same though par boiled rice is called idli rice. Parboiled rice is slender, and beige / creamish colored while the idli rice pictured below is short and white. Correct me if I am wrong and those two rices are the boiled and unboiled versions of the same rice.

I was skeptical initially about the yeast and was worried about the smell it may impart to the dish. However after trying out the recipe which indeed yields true kind of fluffy, light, soft sannas, the light yeast odor was negligible. I was mostly worried about my husband's response as he is a great fan of idlis. To my surprise, he was the one who enjoyed them most saying that they were really good. We had them with chutney and sambhar.

Preparing the batter:
* Soak rices and urad dal separately for a minimum of three hours. 
Throw away the water used to soak and wash them once with fresh batch of water. 
(I soaked the ingredients together overnight. I usually soak all the ingredients together while preparing idli / dosa batters. It doesn't make a difference whether you soak/grind them separately or individually as long as the final battter is ground fine.)
* Grind dal and rice finely, adding water only as much as needed. The batter should be like a thick dosa batter and not runny. You can grind the dal and rices individually but I ground them together. Collect the batter into a container big enough to hold it when it ferments and more than doubles.

* Combine sugar and yeast to a bowl and add tepid water to itAllow it to stand for about 10 minutes. By the time, the yeast ferments and the solution turns frothy. Stir once to make sure that the yeast is dissolved.
* Stir and add the yeast mixture to the batter. Then add salt and sugar and mix well.



* Cover the batter and allow it to ferment undisturbed for a couple of hours in a warm place. ( I hardly had around 15 deg C temperature outside when I prepared the batter. I left the batter in my convection oven only leaving the light on. Please note that I did not turn on my oven. It took about 4 hours for the batter to ferment but what I gathered is that it takes only a couple of hours to ferment in warm climates.)
Just notice how the batter more than doubled after fermentation and so remember to use a big container.


Now the important tip. Don't try to stir the batter once it is fermented. If you try to do it, the sannas may turn out flat. This is how the fermented batter looks - light and fluffy.


* Pour enough water into a steamer or pressure cooker. Grease the ramekins  / small cups and spoon the batter, just filling them up to half. (I found just placing the cups on my idli plates easier for steaming.)



* Place them in a steamer and steam them on low for 15 - 20 minutes. Turn off the stove and remove them after about ten minutes.  
* Gently run a sharp spoon around the edges and unmold the sannas.

Shireen mentioned that the sannas are usually a part of festivities and they can be served along with sambhar / chutney just like idlis or with any vegetarian / non vegetarian curries or even with sweetened coconut milk. They can be dunked in evening coffee / tea or left overs can be used as a snack by deep frying them. Or sweeter or savory versions of sanna can be made too.


Phew, I didn't foresee this turning out to be such a long post. :)

Comments

5 comments:

Harini-Jaya Rupanagudi said...

You have done a great job in narrating the history, origins etc..I was out of patience and so skipped all of the details !
We also enjoyed these yeasted idlis.

Srivalli said...

However I feel its awesome that you did a sbs post..:) As you mentioned I was so much taken in by the fact that Shireen had shared so much on the local scene in her post and that's what I like the most and always want to try such dishes for ICC...so glad everybody loved how this dish has turned out..

Corporate to Kitchen said...

Your sannas have turned out perfect! Love their chubby spongy looks.

Nupur said...

The Sannas have just turned out obe Perfect !! I loved them too, dipping them in Chai and even Oveltene Milk ..

So glad to follow you, would love to see more Authentic recipes from you

Nivedhanams Sowmya said...

wow such a nicely written post.. loved reading it!!! you are surely a great writer... and these idlis are looking so picture perfect..
Sowmya
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