Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kakki's Metkut- A family recipe ( spiced lentil powder)

My father is a meticulous man. He would come from work, relax a bit, help me with homework, when I was around to do it. He would then help my mom out in the kitchen, while she cooked, he would lay the table, his style. The dinner plates would be rinsed, so would the bowls (vaati) and glasses. He would then place the bowls and invert the dinner plate over it. 
When we sat down, we would begin our meal with steaming white rice drizzled generously with ghee/ toop and metkut, the spice powder. I would insist on my dad mixing my portion. He always, always made it so tasty. Magic touch? I do believe so. 

But , there was more to it than just the mixing part. The making the spice mix part. While there was always the ready made option, my mom had this mix that her mother-in-law made. 
My father's mother was lovingly called Kakki. She was a fantastic cook. I am of the opinion that relatives visited us only so they could eat what she made. Yes, she was that good. My mom often tells me, Kakki's puranpolis were 'the best'. Hands down, the best, ever.

Her 'amti masala' or Goda masala as it is called, is a special blend and is also spectacular. And then there is this Metkut. Dazzles up plain ol' white rice. 
It is a staple at my table now. My 7 year old loves it. He also loves the variation, 'ola (ओलं) metkut', which is the spice powder mixed in a tart-sweet, tamarind paste/juice and jaggery mix and tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies.

maharashtrian metkut

Kakki's measurement ( Kakki used vati (वाटी), the typical steel bowl used everyday, but feel free to use your standard measurement cups if you like). I have used the typical 'vati' as a measure because the other spices are with reference to this measurement.
ETA: To clarify, a vati  (vatya, being plural) is also called a katori

2 vatya / katoris Chanadal
3 Dry Red chillies
2 Sunth (Dried whole Ginger) pieces
3 Halkunde (Dried whole Turmeric)
1/2 vati Dhane / Coriander seeds
1/2 vati Rice
1/2 vati Wheat
1/2 vati Udid dal
3/4 vati Jeere /Cumin seeds
1/2 Spoon Methi / Fenugreek seeds
2 spoons Hing / Asafetida

Roast each item separately
Roast chana dal, Sunth, halkund first.
Grind the ingredients except Hing ( as this is already in the powdered form). Add hing last.
Cool the mix and grind it to a fine powder.

I used my coffee mill to grind this, my 2c, use a mortar-pestle to pound the whole turmeric and ginger pieces.

Metkut recipe
Store in an airtight container and use as required.

Ola metkut / ओलं  मेतकुट

Take 2-3 tbsp. Metkut powder in a  bowl
Use 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp (or 1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate, Tamicon) and add double the amount of jaggery powder to the metkut.
Add salt to taste.
Taste and check the balance of tart to sweet and make adjustments as per your choice.
Heat a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds.
As the mustard pops, add a dry red chili, halved and 2-3 curry leaves.
Take it off the heat and pour over the metkut, mix well.
Serve with steaming white rice and a add a generous drizzle of (preferably, home made) ghee.

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