Khotto or hittu is nothing but the idly batter steamed in jack leaves basket. Since I was brought up in Bangalore, it was only when I happened to visit my Granny’s place in Parkala, (a village near Manipal) that I was able to relish it. Actually there are those who don’t like Idlis but love khotto. The pleasant aroma of the jack leaves makes them smoother in general than Idlis. It is also called panna idly.
Khotto is prepared for almost all the Konkani festivals. Even without occasion it is a typical breakfast dish. For morning preparations, we prepare the jack basket previous night itself since it is rather time consuming to get this in time for breakfast. Actually, very few people take the trouble to make the jack basket since it is readily available in the market. An additional convenience is the fact there are hardly any vessels to clean and only leaves to dispose off. It is called Kadabu in Kannada and they also prepare it during festivals only.
What you need to haveBlack gram Dal – 250 grams (1 – cup )
Rice rava – 500grams (Raw rice) (2 – cups)
Jack leaves – 4 leaves (to make one basket)
How do you make bags out of leaves:
1. Place 4 jack leaves of the same size as shown in the image below. It can even be two equal size leaves in opposite directions.
4 jack leaves
2. Join the two leaves by small pieces of sticks of either the dry curry leaf string as shown in the image below.We normally use the slit sticks of the bamboo basket in which we get fruits or the strings of the coconut tree. These days the strings are sold in shops.
2 leaves joined and third kept aside
Base of the jack basket
3. Fold the corners by overlapping the edge of one leaf over the other in such a way that there is no gap. Now pin a piece of stick there. The reason to fix the corners tight is that there should not be any leakage of the batter and mess the cooker
Folding the corners of the Jack basket
4. Now just pin the sticks to the top of the basket to complete it as shown in the image.
Ready jack basket
What you do with what you have
1. Soak blackgram Dal in water for about 2 hours. Wash the rice rava and drain the water.
2. Grind the dal in the grinder/mixer adding water in steps. But do not make it too watery.
3. Pour dal batter in a vessel and add drained rice rava to it. Add required quantity of salt and set aside overnight for fermentation.
4. Next morning mix the batter well and pour into the jack baskets.
Pouring dough in the jack baskets
5. Steam the baskets with dough in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes as you would do with Idlis.
Khotto being steamed in the steamer
6. Tear the leaves in such a way as to ease the Khotto out of the leaves while maintaining its shape.
Serve hot with chutney and/or sambar.
What they look like: