Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saat Kapache Ghavane

Kavita young and demure had just married Shailesh and come to live next doors to my Cousin Vijay’s place. When I’d visit Virar and if my SIL was at work this lady would take care of us in her absence. Lovingly she would help my SIL with all the extra work that came with visitors. She had quit her job and in this remote suburb there was not much of an employment opportunity available except as sales staff in shops. This was 10 yrs ago. Later after the birth of her daughter she was completely home bound, without support of family she managed everything herself. She then started a crèche with a few kids coming in for the day. As the trust built with people she started cooking for the kids at an extra cost and their Mom’s did not have to bring them in with food for the entire day, what a relief for those working Moms. Soon requests followed for dinners. She started cooking and distributing Poli –bhaaji.

Finally on 7th July 2009 she got her first big order for a housewarming party, she had to cook up a 20 item menu for 50 people. She did a fabulous job with a helper in tow. Today she has a shop at home from where customers pick up lunch packs of Poli/ Bhakri-bhaaji thru the window. On fasting days, Mondays, Thursday and Saturdays there is Sabudana Khichadi. Other snacks are sold thru out the year too along with the Modaks on Chaturthis and Vinayakis.  Alu Vadis and Kothimbir vadi steamed rolls are available that you can take home slice up, fry and enjoy.

This woman works so hard and supports the family in every way. So here is what we are joining hands at.

This Diwali, Annaparabrahma launches Diwali Faral hampers and we are accepting bulk orders in joint venture with Kavita and her team of home cooks. The team is trained on recipes from Annaparabrahma. The quality is monitored by me, personally. The packaging will be done by my creative cousins. Shailesh, Kavita's husband will help with large scale deliveries and the supplies etc. Watch out for more on this blog in the days to come...

I have always wanted to write about this woman of substance on this blog. So here is a recipe she shares with us…

Saat Kapache Ghavane

This recipe gets its name from the technique used for layering, seven times the ghavane with the coconut filling. Kavita learnt this recipe from her Aai. It is a traditional recipe from Malvan made to welcome a guest at home. Malvan is abundant in paddy and coconut so that is what is available easily to a homecook when a surprise visitor needs a special treat.

The skill of the cook is in folding the layers without tearing the ghavane as they are turned over, certainly not for a novice cook. Selecting the rice for the ghavane to cooking them right is where experience plays an important role.

The griddle used here is a very traditional one called Kahili in Koli


For the Ghavane
1 cup Medium aged rice
Salt to taste
3-4 cups Water

For the coconut filling
½ cup Jaggery
1 Fresh grated coconut
¼  teaspoon nutmeg and cardamom powder

Begin with the Coconut stuffing preparation. This coconut jaggery mix is called Chun is Malvani. In a wok mix in the fresh grated coconut and jaggery, heat it. Keep stirring till it leaves the sides of the wok. It should have the consistency that can be sprinkled on the ghavane. Remove from heat and mix nutmeg and cardamom powder for fragrance.

Making the Ghavane batter. Wash well and soak the medium aged rice in enough water for atleast an hour. We choose medium aged rice as we need a medium sticky rice batter which when cooked will give crisp on the outside and soft on the inside crepes.

After one hour of soaking discard the water. Now put the soaked rice in a blender. Add equal amount of water. Grind to a fine paste. Finally add water to get a watery batter. It should be thinner than dosa batter. The final batter should be about 1litre. Add salt to taste and let is sit for 1 more hour.

Now take a well-seasoned griddle, as I mentioned above we use the Kahili here, oil it well. Heat on high. Pour the thin watery batter into the griddle. Start from outside and move inwards. The first time you make a round crepe or ghavane. Cover and cook for a minute. Remove the cover. Do not brown it. Sprinkle the Chun or the coconut jaggery mix for the stuffing on half the side of the ghavana and turn over.

Now here is where an experienced hand exhibits the skill, leave the folded and stuffed ghavana on the griddle. In the half empty griddle pour batter to get a half moon ghavana. Let it cook for a min. Then sprinkle some more Chun. Now the first folded whole ghavana is turned over on to the new halfmoon ghavana. Now you should have half space empty on the griddle. You are done with three layers. Similarly repeat the steps for 4 more such layers of ghavana and Chun. Ensure you pour just enough batter to get thin crepes and carefully turnover without tearing them. When you are done with the seventh  layer of ghavana fill with Chun and turn over.  Put off the heat. Remove carefully the layered Ghavane onto a serving dish by inserting a spatula under the last layer and holding lightly on top with your palm down so the layers do not topple or tear.

While the ghavane are still warm cut through the layers with a sharp knife into wedges.  Press lightly to make the layers stick as they cool.

A single Saat kapache ghavane serves 3 people generously.

Kavita insisted on making a simple ghavana to go with a chutney and savory Matikichi usal. She said a visitor would be served the entired dish and since it is sweet to offset the sweetness would be a single plain ghavana with the savory. Those are stories from the past, it is known visitors were fed in the manner even when puranpolis were made or a gula cha sheera was made. They would be fed with the dessert in the main and only a small portion of the regular meal to complete the celebration. That is the culture to treat the visitor as God, Atithi Devo Bhava!

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