by R Ramachandran
This food item has a significance in Badaga community. A special occasion when only this is prepared as a special item is the BAETA BITHA or the HATCHIKAY HORAY which falls on the previous day of SAKKALATHI Habba.
BATTHA ( or samai) is fried to the extent it bursts open- splutter (BATTHA HURUPUDU). This is put in the ORALU and KUMMIfied (KUMMOODU) with ONAKKE [a solid wooden pole with iron rings at the ends] to separate the husk. Then this is gathered in a MORA (a bamboo basket - winnow), see photo, and cleaned so that the seperated husk is blown away-winnowing (KAERODHU).
The cleaned BATHA is soaked in water for a few hours for softening. Mixed with a dash of salt, jagerry or sugar and the famous [BADDHU BITTHU] HATCHIKAY is ready to be served with or without milk.
Note: This is first ‘offered’ to SOMI (God) and DEEVIGAY (Lamp) by the family head who then tastes it first in the HORAY GANGUVA ( a large traditional Badaga brass plate shown below)
To make Hacchikai, first we have to make ‘Baathi akki’ from the batha. Nowadays we rarely get batha, but some houses still store batha for use for new mothers (post-natal) to prepare ganji. Some vendors from Mysore, etc also sell new batha in hatties .
Take the cleaned Batta (4-5kgs) in a vessel with enough water (water should just cover the grains). Bring to boil for not more than 5 minutes; otherwise the batha will become soggy. Strain immediately and dry in the sun. When dry, pound in an ‘oralu’ or give it to grinding or pounding machines to split the grains. Baathi akki is ready. Can be stored to prepare Hacchikai anytime.
Baathi akki - 2 cups.
Cool boiled water – 2-3 cups.
Grated coconut – 1-2 cups.
Sugar and salt (a pinch) to taste.
Soak the Baathi akki in cool boiled water for 1 – 2 hours. (Hot water will make it soggy). Strain excess water. Add sugar, salt and coconut and mix. Hacchikai ready!
Baathi akki – 2 cups
Water – 6-7 cups
Jaggery-1cup (or as sweet you want it)
Salt – a pinch.
Ghee as required.
Take Baathi akki in a cooker along with water, add salt. Cook as you cook rice, till very soft. In another pan boil the jaggery along with little water and strain. Add the jaggery to the cooked baathi akki and cook over a low flame till it thickens. Add ghee and serve hot.
You can also add a little cardamom powder, and fried cashews and resins for garnishing.