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Durable Link to this BlogThursday, April 19, 2007

Joladarotti of Dharwad

Kamala Dongerkery (1909- 1995?) was a social worker, an artist and a writer. She was associated with Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and helped revive household arts like Kasuti and other embroidery works. In her autobiography "On the Wings of Time", she has given vivid description of Dharwad, her birth place and a town at that time. Here is her description of hand made jowar (sorghum, a type of corn) bread, staple food of the region.

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Dharwad would not be complete without mentioning the joladaroti (jowar bread),chunks of home-made butter, yenni badani kayee (stuffed brinjals), Keni–masaru (thick curds) and Babusingh's pedas (milk sweets). Nowhere else can you buy such delicious, light–brown chestnut-shaped pedas. Dusted with sugar like julebes they are a specialty of Dharwad.

I can still picture my grandmother by a glowing faggot fireside, flattening out jowar bread or roti in a wooden tray, with her palm and fingers forming a spatula. She pressed a ball of dough, the size of an orange, into the shape of a large, flat twelve-inch disc in an anapestic rhythm. Her fingers would be imprinted on the roti , forming ribs within the circumference, and then with both hands she would flop the disc into a shallow pan over the fire, wash her hands in a bowl of water over the roti with her right hand. By the time the water had evaporated the roti was half baked. She would then turn it in the pan forming it into a dome. Now it was nearly ready, but it had to be puffed so that it could be spilt into two layers. For this operation she would draw some embers out of the hearth and flop it again on the live coals, and lo! The roti would rise like a muffin, crisp and roasted. The hot rotis would then be passed on to us children in quick succession in quarters, halves, or one each at time, along with a chunk of snow-white, home-made butter. The stuffed brinjals went very well with the bread, and a bit of thick, creamy curd, interspersed now and again, would relieve us of the chewing exercise while giving a superb relish to the dish.

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On my 70th birthday, my son took me to "Kamat Hotel" to enjoy the famed Jowar Rotis. They were so good!

See Also:
• Workers Making Hand-flattened Jowar Roti
• Dharwad - Gateway of Learning

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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