Thursday, June 19, 2014

With malice towards one and all.......

Let me start this post with a simple food quiz to check familiarity/awareness?
Dahibara/Dahiwada- familiar?
Alu dam- familiar?
Ghuguni/Patiala Matar/Matra- familiar?
 Most of you would I am sure have got a yes for the first three. Now for the clincher,
Dahiwada+ Alu dam+ Ghuguni all served as a snack combo- familiar?
How many Non-Odias got a yes to the last one? If you happen to be one then you are definitely in the minority. And I can safely assume that either you have good Odia friends and have been subjected to Odia hospitality or have travelled to Odisha more specifically to Cuttack where this used to the most popular snack. I say used to be because today it is no longer just a snack. It has replaced every possible meal. People start and end their day with this combo. You are never too full for ADDB(Alu dam dahi bara). For some strange reason the ghuguni gets underplayed. Maybe that makes the name a mouthful. So before, after, in between meals. When you are hungry and also after you are stuffed.

People from Cuttack are crazy about their ADDB(with all due respect I must add that I am using the shortened version for mere convenience). I know of people( and neither of them shall be named here) who pre-order a couple of plates( to friends/family members of course) while they are on their way to Cuttack. It needs to be their first meal (Maa ke hathon wala khana can wait a bit- Maa having lived long enough in Cuttack will definitely not mind).

And don't you dare dismiss this off as mere street food. The brand name plays a big part here. There are clear camps- the ones who like the  'Raghu' brand of ADDB and there are others who prefer brand ' Bhagi'. These are individuals who have been making and selling ADDB for generations. They enjoy semi-god like status and have facebook pages dedicated to them. Each camp defends their brand very strongly. Reminds me of the East Bengal- Mohan Bagan warring groups one came across in Kolkata- yes, the same level of passion and enthusiasm. And NEVER ever attempt passing one brand for the other( the loyalists are quick to identify the brand even visually when sent as a photograph- I can vouch for this). ADDB is carried from Cuttack to various parts of the country and across continents( this is no exaggeration). The die-hards insist that it is not the same as eating the ones made at home.

As for me I started with a lot of scepticism- dahi bara with alu dam( why not with the regular imli chutney as the rest of the country enjoys it). Let me quickly clarify that I did like all three and used to eat them separately with other accompaniments. So dahibara with imli chutney, alu dam with paratha/ puri and ghuguni again with paratha or puri or roti. I did not seen any sense in mixing all of them into this hotchpotch. When served I would politely eat it but never really did enjoy the taste. And then slowly over the years I grew to like it(maybe it is an acquired taste- you acquire it when you marry somebody from Cuttack). And now I am a complete convert. Though I am still not brand loyal( forgive me Raghu/Bhagi) but yes a trip to Cuttack does not seem complete without a plate of ADDB. Usually happens to be my first meal( but that must just be a coincidence).

I have also been making it quite regularly at home and have been introducing a lot of our friends to the combination. And today I strongly feel(okay you Cuttack people you can sneer) it is only a matter of time before ADDB gains popularity and starts selling as street food across the country. I would be happy to have played a small part in its journey.

Dahibara Aludam

Preparation time: 1 hour( soaking time 5/6 hours), Serves: 6 adults( or 2 Cuttakis)


For the Dahibara

White Urad Daa1: 1 cup, soak for 2/3 hours
Ginger: 1 tsp, finely chopped
Green chillies- finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

For the Alu Dam
Baby potatoes: 300 grams
Whole Jeera(Cumin)- 1 tsp
Dhania( Corriander) powder: 1.5 tsp
Jeera(Cumin) powder- 1 tsp
Tomato- 2( grated)
Salt to taste
Garam Masala- a pinch
Oil- 2 tbsps

For the Ghuguni
Ghuguni Matar- 1 cup( also goes by the name Patiala matar or Matra)
Jeera/Cumin- 1 tsp
Dhania/coriander- 1 tsp
Ginger- 1 inch, ground to a paste
Garlic- 5 pods, ground to a paste
Salt to taste
Tomatoes- 2
Oil- 1 tbsp.
For the garnish
Onion- 1 , finely chopped
Green chillies- 2/3, finely chopped
Chilli powder- to taste
Roasted cumin powder- to taste
Cuttack mixture- 2 tsp per serve


This requires you to make all the three parts separately and then assemble them together like a chaat.

  • Grind the soaked Urad daal with a little bit of water to a fine paste. Add the salt, ginger and chillies and mix well.
  • Heat some oil and drop the Urad batter into it like small balls( If you are a pro and can manage them with a hole in between- good show. I can't). Once the baras are done drop them into hot water and let them rest there for a while- about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the baras, squeeze them between your palms and keep them on a plate.
  • Mix the dahi with some water, salt, chilli powder and roasted and ground cumin and red chilli powder. Pour over the baras. Please note that this is of a much thinner consistency than the  North Indian version.

  • Boil the potatoes and remove the skin.
  • Heat the oil and add the whole jeera to it. Once the Jeera browns add the boiled potatoes and fry them for a bit. Add the salt. Make a paste by mixing the Jeera and Dhania powder with a little bit of water and add. Next add the tomatoes and approximately about 2 cups of water. Finally add the garam masala
  • Boil the ghuguni and keep aside
  • Heat the oil and fry all the masala. Add the boiled ghuguni.
  • Adjust the water.
To assemble
  • Layer the bowl or plate with some dahibara, then add the alu dam and ghuguni. Garnish with onion, green chillies, chilli powder, roasted jeera powder and mixture.
  • Serve immediately
  • Dig in
Take a bow at having mastered this elaborate dish. Make sure to thank Raghu, Bhagi and all the people from Cuttack.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

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