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What is common for all the Rice Recipes?

1. In all the Rice Recipes known as Oharais in South India, rice is the common factor. In some Oharais vegetables and fruits may be added. In some dāl may be added. But cooked rice will be present in all.

2. A powder, also called ‘podi’, is prepared for each Oharai. Some of the items like the coriander seeds and red chillies may be common for all the powders. But each powder is different and they are specially made for that particular Oharai. The powder can be prepared and stored for six months in airtight containers without refrigeration and for more time if kept in the fridge. For each Oharai the amount of powder to be added can be more or less, according to individual preferences. If you want it a little spicy you can add more powder and if you prefer it bland you can add less powder.

3. Asafoetida or ‘hing’ is added to all the powders because of its special quality to aid in digestion.

4. ‘Tālitthal’ or ‘seasoning’ means to season the dish with mustard seeds fried in oil. For this two spoonfulls of oil is taken in a pan and heated. After it is heated about 10 gm of mustard seeds are dropped in the oil. As the mustard seeds pop up and crackle, a couple of red chillies are added. Then a spoonful of bengal gram (split) and a spoonful of black gram (split) are added. (For some dishes half a spoonful of cumin is also added.) Then a pinch of asafoetida (hing) is added. Finally curry leaves are added. Later the cooked rice prepared for the Oharai is mixed with this. The ingredients used for Tālitthal add a nice flavour to the dish and they have special nutritional value.

5. For garnishing fresh grated coconut or copra, coriander leaves and curry leaves are used. They enrich the food with their nutritious value, improve the flavour, and also make the Oharais attractive.

6. Groundnuts and sometimes cashew nuts are roasted in oil and used for garnishing the Oharais and making them taste crisp.

7. Pāpad is fried in oil or roasted by exposing them directly to flame and served along with the Oharais. Usually a piece of Pâpad and a spoonful of Oharai are eaten together.