And my Mom cooks the best Ootti, and she cooks a lot when she does because, if our neighbour comes to know that my mom cooked OOTTI and was not shared at least a bowl, hell would have had hath no fury than the neigbour denied of my mom's Ootti.
I have cooked the same dish many times by now, with cell phone in one hand, spatula in another.It was almost as if my Mom remote cooked them. And thats how I learnt most of the recipes. And I am passionate about cooking, not gourmet cooking per se but simple Home meals. I prefer 5 Stars hotels for Gourmet Food and don't even wanna try cooking them, or maybe I do. Someday, when I retire, maybe.
Now for the Ootti.
A small onion or half a big onion cut into thing slivers, not chopped both ways but chopped finely in top down fashion.
A small finger of ginger, crushed.
Teaspoon of whole JeeraFew bay Leaves,
A few dried red chillis,
OK Peas, not peanuts not chick peas but Peas. tell the bania that you want white Mattar( green also serves). The peas should have been soaked overnight. 4 hours also might do depending upon the Pea's quality :-)
1) See if you can get green garlic leaves. These are not actually garlic leaves, but the barcode in Foodbazaar( of Bigbazaar) says its garlic leaves. It looks like spring onions but thinner and not hollow. Spring onion is hollow while this herb is not. Its a long leaf, looks like grass but longer and soft and very nice smelling. It is the Manipuri substitute of Spice. Gives instant flavor to any dish, when fried along with the onions. If you are lucky you might get it in Food Bazaar, otherwise just the onions will do.
Cook the pre-soaked peas in a pressure cooker. Peas to water ratio should be 1:2. Give about 2 whistles and let cool. After the cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and see if the peas are cooked. This is very crucial. The peas cannot be over cooked or undercooked. Take out a few peas in a spoon and crush with your find. The peas should give away without any pressure, yet it shouldn't crumble or break-down easily.
Let it boil, for some time.
Add salt to taste.
Now, in the boiling peas, add the cooking soda.
Measurement? Ahh!!! ok, slightly more than half the amount of salt you have put.
Don't forget to lower the heat when you put the Soda, because there will be lots of bubble formation and might spill out like boiling milk. Don't worry, it normal.
Let it boil in low flame.
In the other burner, heat a pan( preferably concave bottom and non stick).
Heat two table spoon of oil,
Add the BayLeaves(2 or 3).
Add the Jeera.
Add the Chilli, and turn them.
When chilli becomes dark brown( takes less than a minute to burn, don't burn).. remove the chillis and add to the Boiling mattar.
Add the onions to the oil. Fry till golden brown.(Had you got the green garlic leaves, you could have added it along with the onions after cutting them one inch long)
Add the Ginger.
Pick up this whole tadka and pour into the boiling Mattar.
Cook for a minute and its done.
Serves well with Rice, but even better with Manipuri Khichdi..