Thursday, 25 August 2016




          My father had one of the finest sets of gourmet taste buds for ‘pamper’ food. So did one of his widowed elder sisters, Susheela (whom we called Chuchakka). He would ask her, “Chucha, let’s have some dhaadu today” or “Let’s have some appala guli with lunch”. Chuchakka would be only too glad to oblige.

It was a sight to see my father smear a raw Mirsange Appolu (chili papad) with coconut oil and burrow his fingers in hot rice to hide it for softening; before he took a bite. The very sight would bring saliva to one’s mouth. Dhaadu, a dish which I haven’t seen anyone else make, would make me run to the table. I would grab a small plate, fill it with a little heap of dhaadu, make a depression in the middle with my finger, pour in coconut oil, mix it up and relish the finger-biting dish.


The memory of this wonderful snack, which I so enjoyed nearly three decades ago awakened today. Then and there, I decided to recreate the dish to share this recipe with you. While licking dhaadu soaked in coconut oil, the first thing you note is that you can feel only the blandness of ragi as it touches your tongue. As you roll it in your mouth for 5 to 10 seconds, the electrifying taste just explodes pleasantly on your palate and you feel like smiling.

Dhaadu comes from the Konkani word, ‘dhaddachĂ©’, meaning ‘to pound’. In the recipe, I have taken the liberty of using mild, dry Kashmiri chilies in place of dry hot red chilies and of using a food processor to powder the roasted ingredients with excellent results. However, I would advise extreme chili lovers to go in for dry hot red chilies and to pound the mixture using mortar and pestle the way our older generations did in their time. While buying ragi (finger millet), take care to get clean, stoneless, first quality produce.


     1)    Ragi / finger millet / eleusine coracana (Nanchano in Konkani and Muthari in Malayalam) – 200 gm.
     2)    Dry Kashmiri chilies – 20 gm.
     3)    Salt – 6 gm. (1 teaspoon)
     4)    Asafoetida powder – 1 gm. (¼ teaspoon)

To make:

          Wash and drain the ragi. Put all the ingredients into a non-stick pan (if you use a cast-iron wok, you will need to pour in a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil).

Set the pan on high heat and stir continuously. Once the mixture heats up, turn down the heat and stir frequently. Let the mixture roast slowly for 10 minutes. Now switch off the heat. As soon as the ingredients are cool enough, transfer to a dry food processor and grind to fine powder. Your delicious dhaadu is ready.


          Take up a plate with a tablespoonful of fresh grated coconut. Tip in a couple of teaspoonfuls of dhaadu. Mix nicely with your fingers. Taste and add more dhaadu to suit your palate.



     1)    If you are a chili lover like I am, just omit the grated coconut. Pour in some coconut oil, mix up and enjoy. You will lick your fingers for sure.

     2)    Mix dhaadu in coconut oil and use it as a dipping chutney for idlis, appos and dosas in place of mulakapodi or tambali puddi. Make dhaadu spicier with more chili and salt when taking as a dipping chutney for an idli lunch parcel.

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