Most people who know me will tell you that I have a soft spot for desserts. I'm not big on snacking though, always steering clear of deep-fried snacks that are a quintessential part of quick meals most Indians favour during that never-ending gap between lunch and dinner. In most parts of India that would be tea time but not always in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where coffee usually reigns supreme. While I usually give coffee time snacks a miss, there's the odd exception. The Kodu bale is part of that list of exceptions.
It's almost a ritual, almost every time I'm walking through the streets of Malleshwaram (a neighbourhood in Bengaluru where slices of old Bangalore live on), I make a series of customary stops at my favourite stores and eateries. The latest addition to this area is a clutch of dramatic street art installations that might remind you of the Lodhi Art District in Delhi. These 12 new murals are spread out over 1.7 km and are part of Malleshwaram Hogana! (Let's head to Malleshwaram). After spending an early morning exploring these murals I stopped at Raghavendra Condiments for my kodubale fix. Nostalgia is a big part of your favourite eats, each time I bite into a kodubale, I am transported back to my childhood where this was a popular snack at my aunt's house in Malleshwaram.
Kodu translates to horn and 'bale' to bangle in Kannada. This bangle shaped snack is made with rice flour and chickpea flour. There are also versions with maida but most old-timers swear by the original recipe (see recipe) that does not contain maida. There's also a version with curd and rice flour (mosaru kodubale - mosaru is curd in Kannada) that is softer and not as crunchy as the ring-shaped kodubale. The other distinct element in the classic kodubale is the masala paste that is blended with flour. This paste features flavourful ingredients like dried red chillies and grated coconut.
The kodubale is similar to kadboli or kadaboli a savoury snack from Maharashtra that also incorporates moong and urad dal aside from rice and chickpea flour. Kodubale is not just a popular everyday snack, it's also made in many homes in Karnataka on festive occasions like Janmashtami and Deepavali. You can try making the kodubale at home with this recipe. The key is getting the shape right. If it is too thin, they can end up being hard and if they are thick, they can get undercooked and become soggy.
Easy Kodu Bale Recipe | Easy Soth Indian Team Time Snack Recipe:
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup fine rava
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup roasted gram flour
- 1/2 tsp ajwain
- 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds.
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 2 tbsp hot oil / 2 tbsp clarified butter
- oil for deep frying
For Masala paste:
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 -4 whole dried Kashmiri red chilli or Bydagi chilli
- 1 spring curry leaves (optional)
- 1/4 cup water (or as required)
1. In a mixing bowl take rice flour, rava and roasted gram flour. Add ajwain, black sesame seeds and salt. Combine well.
2. Pour 2 tbsp of hot oil or clarified butter and mix well.
3. Prepare the masala by combining coconut, curry leaves, cumin seeds and red chilli.
4. Blend to smooth paste adding water as required. Transfer the prepared masala paste over the flour.
5. Knead to a smooth and soft dough. Start rolling the dough using your palms.
6. Bring the edges together and join them to make a ring. You can use a little water to seal the ends together.
7. Deep fry the kodubale in hot oil in batches till they turn golden brown and crisp on medium flame.
8. And drain off onto a kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
9. Store in an airtight container once it's cooled completely.
Make sure that the dough is not too soft, it runs the risk of turning soggy. Some home cooks use warm oil to the flour (while kneading). This lends a crispy texture to the kodubale. The flavour paste is a key element. Adding curry leaves is an optional step but enriches the flavour. Also, avoid using chilli powder, try and stick with dried red chillies. Of course, you can also order kodubale on multiple online platforms before you try making it at home.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.