Nethichamili (Neichen) Muddalu ~ Rice Flour Laddu
In this A-Z Challenge, Journey Through Telangana Cuisine, my ‘N’ was finalized long ago when I made the initial list, months ago. The recipe was easy, pictures were clicked, edited and this was one of the easiest letters to work with until I landed on this video. In the video these muddalu are called nemchenu muddalu and I call these neichen muddalu. Then began my hardship to figure out the right name for the muddalu. After talking to my mother and cousins, I was even more confused and confused them as well, on the original name of these muddalu. Couple of days ago, after calling a handful of people I concluded it is nethichamili muddalu. Nethi is neyyi/ghee, chamili according to one of my aunts is pindi/flour and muddalu are balls. Isn’t it strange how over a period time, nethichamili muddalu became neichen muddalu and the name makes no sense when translated.
Nethichamili muddalu are laddu prepared with freshly ground roasted rice and powdered sugar using neyyi (ghee) as a binder. This is one of the prasadams for saddula bathukamma. Bathukamma is a festival celebrate by women in Telangana for 9 days before Dasara. You could say this is our version of Navratri. It starts on amavasya (no moon day) and ends on the 9th day which is saddula bathukamma. Depending on the Telugu calendar, saddula bathukamma is celebrated a day or 2 before Dasara.
I feel this is one festival where women really enjoy the festival without spending hours in the kitchen preparing tons of food for the family and entertaining them all day. Variety of vegetarian food; pulihora, daddojanam and few more items are prepared in the morning and is offered to Goddess Gauri. Bathukkamma is arranged on a wide plate with layers of colorful flowers. In the evening all the girls and women dress up beautifully, gather at one place in their neighborhood, place bathukamma in the middle and dance/play around it singing bathukamma songs. Later, bathukamma is immersed in water; pond, lake, river or a reservoir. After the bahtukamma is immersed in water, prasadam is distributed. This prasadam varies from region to region and in Karimnagar district it is five varieties of powders or muddalu prepared with lentils and rice. one of them is nethichamili muddalu and the other is pesaru pappu (moong dal) muddalu, which is prepared similar to today’s muddalu where rice is replace with moong dal.
This is one evening when all the female folk is on the streets celebrating bathukamma and men are at home or indoors. This is one of my favorite festivals and it is a visual treat to see beautifully dressed women in one place with colorful bathukammas. The sight is even more colorful in villages and towns where it is celebrate with lot more enthusiasm. Here are some pictures of bathukamma and can read more about it on wiki & here.
Here are a few produce, spices and dishes with ‘N’.
Nimmakaya – Lime
Nuvvulu – Sesame Seeds
Neyyi – Ghee ~ Clarified Butter
Nimmakaya pappu chaaru, nimmakaya pachadi, nimmakaya pulihora, nimmakaya karam, noogaya pachadi/thokku also called soogi pachadi/thokku (sesame mango pickle), nuvvula annam
Nuvvulu – Sesame seeds are used extensively in our kitchens. It is used in almost all the noorina pachadlu (chutneys), in pickles, vegetable masala & stuffed curries, added in snacks as in chegodi and in many more traditional snacks that have a long shelf life.
Yields: 22 – 24, depending on the size
- 2 cups Rice, roasted and ground to flour (yielded about 2 ¼ cup flour)
- 1 ¾ cup Sugar, powdered (powder was about 2 ½ cups)
- ½ – ¾ tsp. Cardamom Seeds, powdered
- ¾ – 1 cup Ghee (I used less than 1 cup)
- Dry roast rice until lightly toasted and light brown. Let the rice cool.
- Grind the rice in a spice grinder to make a coarse-fine powder.
- Grind sugar and cardamom to powder.
- Mix all the powders in a bowl. Taste the powder and add more sugar if necessary.
- Add melted ghee and mix.
- Take some powder mixture in hand and shape into small ball. Make rest of the laddus in a similar way. If unable to shape the laddu, add more ghee. Ghee is the binding agent to shape the laddu.
- Store in an airtight container.
- First 4 steps can be prepared ahead of time. This rice+sugar+cardamom mixture can be store in the fridge for at least 6 months. When ready to prepare laddu, melt ghee, mix it with laddu mixture and shape into laddu.
So far in this A-Z Journey Through Telangana Cuisine,
A for Attu Tunukala Koora
B for Biyyapattlu
C for Chegodi
D for Dondakaya Barada
E for Ellipaya Karam
F for Fenugreek (Menthi) Aaku Pesaru Pappu Koora
G for Garela Pulusu
H for Hyacinth Beans (Anapakaya) Annam
I for Iguru, Goru Chikkudukaya Iguru
J for Jonna Rotte
K for Kudumulu
L for Laddu
M for Makka Gudaalu