Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saarsotlu/Otthu shavige/Rice sevai

Rathna mummy, our grandma, prepared this recipe regularly. A freshly made and spiced rice noodle, the process is quite laborious but exciting to know.

First, she would boil a cup of water and add 1 cup of rice flour (biyyampindi/akki hittu) to it and mix to a lump. As it cooled, the mix was made into oval-shaped balls and steam cooked for around 10 mins. Once it cooled, each ball was put through the ‘saarsotlu peeta’ or a machine, which is of knee-height and is pressed from the top rolling out thin rice noodles below. These fresh noodles are the saarsotlu or otthu shaavige as Rathna mummy called them, and rice sevai as they are known today. These fresh noodles were then spiced, sweetened to different flavors and relished. Who said noodles belong to the Chinese alone? Our grandma made them too.

Coming to today, neither do we own a saarsotlu peeta nor do have the time and patience. However, the rice sevai packs are available just like the two-minute noodle packs in most of the Indian stores. Though they don’t have the aura of the freshly made ones, they taste great and are a quick breakfast/snack option. Here is one of the original ways in which Rathna mummy used to spice the saarsotlu:

Preparation time: 5-10 mins

Serves: 2


Rice sevai pack 200 g

Lemon 1
Refined cooking oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Black gram 1 tsp
Bengal gram 1 tsp
Green chillies 2
Curry leaves 4-5
Fresh and chopped coriander 2 tsp
Grated ginger 1 tsp
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste
Fresh and grated coconut for garnish.


The instructions on the rice sevai pack mention that hot water should be poured over a bowl of rice sevai. We however prefer doing it the opposite way, for one, we can’t handle hot water and secondly, the rice sevai soaks better and turns softer.

Heat water in a cooking pot/vessel. When the water reaches boiling point, turn off the heat and add the rice sevai. Leave for around five mins for the sevai to turn soft and cooked.

Drain off all the water and set aside the dry and soft rice sevai.

Heat oil in a pan and add green chillies, a tsp of grated ginger, mustard seeds and as they pop, cumin seeds, black gram, Bengal gram, curry leaves, coriander and a pinch each of turmeric and asafoetida. (Rathna mummy never added peanuts, as she felt the peanuts left their flavor over the sevai’s. We continue not to use them for the same reason.)

Add to the rice sevai, the above seasoning, salt to taste and mix well to spice the sevai evenly.

Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with fresh coconut just before serving.

Saarsotlu or rice sevai is an instant recipe and has to be had hot and soon. With lemon and coconut, it is not a good option for tiffin boxes and is ideally had as an evening snack or early morning breakfast.

Thanks to Rathna mummy, this is how we originally enjoyed the saarsotlu or otthu shaavige, hope you like it too.


Anonymous said...

As kids, my brother and I would take turns pressing the machine and see who would press, the fastest. It was like a whole day event, preparing shavige on one side, jaggery mix, tangy coconut chutney and payasam on the other.
Miss those days

Pratnee said...

:) Nostalgia and food is probably something that really keeps us connecetd with our family, friends and roots. It is exciting to read about your adventures with the peeta, can imagine the great fun you must have had.

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