Nachani Sevai / Shevai (Sun Dried) Usli ...... A Famous South Indian Monsoon Delicacy that can be prepared in a Jiffy ......
Sun dried Shevai / Sevai is something easily available in Southern Indian Stores. In Olden days my Mother usually prepared these and dried them out for a few days during summer season and stocked up for later use during monsoon. However, with changing times and life pattern these are readily available now in stores all round the year. Initially our ancestors prepared these and stored them for using during monsoon when venturing out in heavy rains became difficult. Also the large families that existing then where the number of members were more made it difficult for the ladies of the house to feed the children in case of emergencies and during such times these came in handy. So was it if unexpected guest came in large numbers then also it would be difficult for them to cover up with existing items. Wheat / Rice / Nachani Shevai (Sevai) were prepared in large along with other items that were prepared early morning and put out in sunlight to dry them well. Preparing these items was a huge task and many a times many housewives pooled in together and prepared them helping each other in the huge task. They enjoyed preparing these as it gave them the liberty to enjoy themselves by exchanging healthy gossips while working at the same time. Though I do know to prepare these having grown up watching my mom at work, I do not prepare them as living in metro cities does not always give you access to sunlight. Maybe in future if I come across a better option I may prepare the same and post. As of now I purchase them from Mangalore stores in our Vicinity.
Just soak about 300 gms of Nachani Sevai (sun dried) in plenty of water for 20-30 minutes. The water level should be above the shevai level clearly soaking the sevai fully. Keep a check on the sevai once the soaking preriod crosses 15 minutes. They will turn soft. Do not let them turn soggy or else they will turn into a mass of lump when cooked. Usually 20 minutes is all it takes, but then it also depends upon the product, as some may take up a little bit more time. But for definete it will not cross 30 minutes. Once they are soft drain of the water and put it in a colander and rinse well. Leave it aside by placing a large vessel underneath that holds the colander in a slant position allowing all excess water to drain off. It may take somewhere about 10-15 minutes in all. Now the sevai is ready to be seasoned and cooked.
Heat a large thick bottomed kadai with about 2 tablespoons of oil (any edible oil will do). Once the oil is hot enough, lower the heat to medium and add some cashewnuts and fry till slightly colour changes, remove and keep it aside to garnish later on. In the same oil add in 1 tsp of urad dal, when the colour changes slightly add in 1 tsp of Mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter add 5-6 green chillies slit lengthwise and 10-12 fresh curry leaves. Fry for a minute and then add in 1 tsp of hing / asafoetida powder and fry for another minute.
Now add in the drained Nachani Sevai into the kadai, when ensuring that the heat is kept on low. Add in salt to taste and gently with a long handle flat spatula mix all the ingredients in a gentle circular motion. See to it that the seasoning and the salt has mixed and blended in well with the sevai. Now cover with a tight lid and allow to cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Uncover the kadai, and mix well all the ingredients well again. Cover again and let cook on its own steam for another few minutes. Now uncover and add in 3 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut, the fried cashewnuts and mix well. Let cook for another minute and its ready. Serve hot Nachani Sevai for breakfast or tiffin as a snack and enjoy this delicious dish with family and friends.
** Note : The same can also be prepared with freshly made nachani sevai, in which case soaking does not get involved and the seasoning is done directly once the sevai is pressed out fresh. The recipe for fresh nachani sevai will be followed soon, so keep a watch on this blog for lots of more recipes.