Bajil means rice flakes in Tulu (Tamil: Aval, Telugu: Atukulu, Hindi: Poha). On days when we wake up at a time too late for breakfast but too early for lunch, we rattle our brains to think of an appropriate dish to cook – something that is light, easy and quick to prepare, that would sustain us for an hour or two and let us have our lunch at our usual timing. It was during one such occasion that I learnt about this Mangalorean delicacy from my husband. Having spent part of his student life in Mangalore, he had grown to love its culture and cuisine.
Now for the quick fix with rice flakes:
- Take about 2 cups of the thin variety of rice flakes.
- Sprinkle only a very small quantity of water on the rice flakes (to soften them) lest they will become soggy.
- Add about 1-2 tbsp of powdered jaggery.
- Add 3 tbsp of freshly grated coconut.
For the tempering:
- Add 1 tsp of refined oil to a shallow pan and heat it.
- Once ready, add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Follow with the addition of 1 tsp of blackgram dhal, 1 chopped green chili and a few curry leaves.
- Now add the tempering to the rice flakes and mix all ingredients.
Breakfast is ready in a jiffy. Isn’t simple?
The hot and sweet combo of this dish was a welcome change to the stereotypical exclusively sweet or hot foods that we regularly ate. I just could not stop with one helping and reached out for more. It is true that a dish does not require a long list of ingredients or elaborate cooking to taste good. Bajil is indeed a perfect quick fix for breakfast.
This dish is usually served as an accompaniment with chickpeas gravy and together they are called as Kadle Bajil. Since we came up with the idea of making bajil suddenly, we had to forgo the chickpeas part of it. But if you have a prior plan of doing it, you could soak some chickpeas overnight, pressure cook with required amount of salt and make gravy by adding few other veggies-this traditional way of eating it calls for the preparation of two dishes. If you deviate a little from the normal way and put the cooked chickpeas (after draining the water) directly to the rice flakes mixture, you get a wholesome one dish meal.
If any of you has tasted this dish before, feel free to share your opinions and tips.