Congee / Kanji for body and soul
Last one week I was down with cough, cold and fever thanks to unpredictable Bangalore weather! Blame it on global warming but the fact is down the years Bangalore weather has become unruly. We get four seasons in the same day nowadays! It’s autumn in the morning, summer in the noon, spring in the early evening and winter at night! To add more drama into it, temperature inside home and outside is quiet different. It’s been 10 years in Bangalore and I can experience the weather being worsening year by year thanks to global warming, local warming, tree slaughtering and vehicle pollution, effects of concrete jungle.
Well, so I was down with fever, cough, and cold and was in bed rest for most of the week. We always feel that we should laze around doing nothing but when we end up in bed rest cause of sickness, we hate being on bed.
The combination of cough, cold and fever made my craving for food less. During these days I relished only one food which proved to be the miracle food for my body and soul! Soothing and easy for stomach definitely – it’s the very south Indian Conjee/kanji! The popular poor man’s food!
Kanji is a poor man’s food of south especially Tamil nadu and kerala! Kanji is rice porridge, which is easy to cook with most minimal requirement and can be eaten even with green chilly as accompaniment. In kerala, Kanji is made with typical red rice. In Tamil nadu it’s made of the white rice. Nevertheless the preparation is an awesome, wonderful food especially when we are sick and in bed like I was this one week!
How to prepare Kanji:
Kanji does not require any miracle recipe. One need not ransack the kitchen for various masala. It’s a frugal meal with limited requirements to cook.
Take the required quantity of rice. Clean it. Add water in the proportion of 5:1 i.e., 5 measures of water for every one measure of rice. Cook them in a steam cooker. You don’t have to worry if the rice would be over cooked coz it doesn’t matter. I typically keep it for 5 whistles and then switch off the stove. After 5 minutes you can open the stove and pour the content in a bowl. Optionally, you can add shredded coconut a spoonful while serving. I typically like it this way.
Side dishes: Kanji is a simple dish that can go along with almost everything. Pickles, roasted chilies, onions, papads, and dal curry well almost everything goes with it. My favorites are pickles and papads diced, roasted and with sprinkled with chilly powder and salt added.