Thursday, September 4, 2014

Akkitari upittu or Kadubu- steamed cream of rice dumplings

I happend to compose this post during the last week of July. But before I could complete it, I got so involved with the festival preparations, Purvi's school and other things, that hitting the "publish" button took a back seat. I was so consumed with other non-food related activities, that I did not realize the month of August pass by. As I am typing this post, I feel that September is in a hurry to whizz away well.

Now coming to where I had left off, The Akkitari Kadubu is a classic Kannada dish  that is almost like Upma. Only, it is twice cooked. First, the cream of rice is cooked with the tempering till it reaches the Upma consistency and then it is shaped in small balls and steam cooked for the second time.

The akki tari Upma and Kadubu tastes best if made with Avarekaalu or Hyacinth beans. If hyacinth beans are not available, then it can be substituted with equal amount of peas, pigeon peas or vegetables like carrot and french beans. 

This delicious mildly sweet and mildly spicy dish almost always takes me back to the village that I had visited as a little girl. I must have been eight or nine years old when we visited this quaint little village called EG halli (halli means village in Kannada). The purpose of our trip to this village was to see my paternal grand father's elder brother. I remember he was 90 plus years old and he was living in a rustic old mansion like house. Apart from that, I remember there were these teenage girls who used  travel to a town nearby to attend school. To me, that was an astonishing fact. Because, Prior to that, I had never heard of kids traveling to a different place just to attend school. Apart from this, one memory that has really stuck in my mind is the memory of the Akki tari kadubu that the lady of the house had made for us. The aroma of the avarekaalu (hyacinth bean) and clarified butter had sent my senses spinning. I think that was the moment when a upma hater like me turned into a Upma lover. Even after all these years, the scene of the Upittu being cooked on a rustic chulha (the brick and mortar stove) is still vivid in my mind. 

It's funny how you connect food with a particular time and place. Chances are, If it wasn't for this Akki tari KAdubu, I wouldn't have remembered this village or the rustic mansion or the grand old man who lived there. Do you have a food memory? IS there a dish from your childhood that takes you back to that time and place? Let me know in the comment section.

Akkitari upittu or Kadubu recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 20min
Serves- 4

Akki tari or Cream of rice- 120gm or 1 cup
Togari kaalu or pigeon peas- 1 cup, par boiled
Oil or ghee- 2tbsp
Mustrard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp, coarsely crushed
Bengal gram or chana dal- 1tsp
Black gram or Urad dal- 1tsp
Asafetida- a large pinch
Curry leaves- 8-10
Green chili- 1, finale chopped
Water- 2-1/2 cups
Freshly ground black pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Freshly grated Coconut- 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves- 3-4 tbsp

  • Dry roast the cream of rice till fragrant (don not let it turn brown) and set aside to cool.
  • Heat oil or ghee in thick bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds.
  • Once it sputters add the crushed cumin seeds, channa dal, urad dal and fry till the lentils are brown.
  • Add the asafetida, curry leaves and green chilies and fry till the curry leaves are crisp.
  • Add two and a half cups of water and allow the water to bring to a gentle boil. At this point, stir in the par boiled pigeon peas, coconut and the roasted cream of rice. Mix well and cook covered on low heat for 5-10mins or till the liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Add the coriander leaves and take off the heat.
  • Wet your hands in cold water and scoop out ping pong sized balls of the upittu and shape them into balls.
  • Arrange the balls in a greased pan and steam bake the upittu for 5-10 in a pressure cooker.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the dumplings to cool for five mins. Serve hot with ghee and chutney of your choice.


  1. You get such fresh green togarekaalu there. What we get here has a reddish tinge. Love the akkitari uppittu and I keep making it and yes, it tastes best with avarekaalu.

  2. i miss avarekalu and thogari kalu here so much Nandita the fresh beans have such a rustic and earthy appeal that one cant resist buying them. I m totally in love with these kadubus they remind me so much of nuchinunde

  3. Lovely clicks and the dumplings are so tempting

  4. Nostalgic! Love the colour and presentation!

  5. Even now he aroma and taste lingers in my mouth. I think the avarekai was organic, so it had the natural flavor. Those were the days !!! The place is close to madhugiri.

  6. What a unique dish! These dumplings looks and sound amazing. The kind of food I crave at the moment.




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