Akki rotti, a rice-based pancake that serves as a breakfast item is unique to my home state of Karnataka. Back home, we prepare two kinds of ‘rotti’ using rice flour. Both taste distinctly different from each other but are delicious in their own way. The first one we usually refer to that one by default as akki rotti or masala rotti. The other one that you see here is what we refer to as ukkarisida rotti or more commonly, bili rotti. Some classic pairings for this dish include badanekayi ennegayi (eggplant curry) or special types of chutney but the most popular is avarekalu usli (avarekalu: hyacinth beans; usli: a dry side dish). A match made in heaven!
4 cups rice flour
6 cups water*
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste (~ 2 tsp)
Additional rice flour for dusting
1. Take water in a thick bottom, slightly deep pot (preferably nonstick) and let it come to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, add the salt and oil.
2. From the 4 cups of rice flour, take out 1/2 cup of rice flour and mix it with a little water to form a paste and add it to the boiling water. This step is optional. You can skip ahead straight to the next step.
3. Now add the remaining rice flour to the boiling water in one go, immediately lower the heat and simmer for about 5 min. Do NOT mix or disturb the rice flour at this time.
4. After the 5 min is up, with the help of a long wooden spoon, mix the rice flour vigorously into the water so that it comes together in a mixture. It will be lumpy at this stage but don’t worry about it.
5. Switch off the heat and let the mixture stand for 10 min. Keep the pot covered during this duration.
6. Let the mixture cool slightly. Now with slightly wet palms, knead the warm dough well for 5-10 min until it is smooth. The kneading is best done with your hands but take care not to scald your fingers and palms with dough that is too hot.
7. Pinch off a lime sized ball, knead well for a minute and roll it into a circular rotti with a rolling pin, dusting it with rice flour as necessary. You roll them out and cook them one by one or do it in batches. With this rotti, the edges do tend to go a little crinkly (unlike chapatis/rotis) so don’t get rattled if it doesn’t turn out perfectly round.
8. Heat a flat tawa/pan (preferably cast iron). You can either cook the rotti on the tawa on both sides until brown spots appear or else you can follow this method.
Put the rotti on the tawa, and let it cook for a minute (until it is just barely cooked). Now flip it on the other side and cook it well until you see brown spots on the surface. Now place the rotti on a direct flame (on the undercooked side) until the rotti puffs up like a balloon.
9. Place the rottis in a hotbox. You can grease the rottis with a little ghee or butter if desired.
10. Serve the warm rottis along with pickle, chutney, badanekai ennegayi or avarekalu or batani (shelled peas) usli.
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