Metkut – a rice accompaniment

Rice, a staple food in most Indian homes, is easy to cook and nutritious in the bargain. In its plain vanilla form, it is usually eaten mixed with daal, curries, gravies, curds or buttermilk. But there are times when you are in a hurry to have a hot cooked snack and either don’t have any time for elaborate preparations or don’t have the raw materials at home. In which case Metkut Bhaat can be a life saver.
In Marathi households the clever but harried home-maker often keeps a stock of Metkut at hand. Made of daals and rice, this subtly flavored sunlight yellow powder can be stored, and lasts for months. Mixed with it, rice tastes yummy, and is one of my favorite comfort foods, especially on cold winter mornings. Kids love it too, and tuck into it with gusto!  

(Pronunciation: Metkut- 1st ‘t’ soft as in Taiwan; 2nd t as in tea; Bhaat- ‘a’ as in ravioli; ‘t’ soft as in Taiwan)

Let us see how it is made.
1 cup chana dal
½ cup urad dal
½ cup rice
1 tsp saunth (dried ginger powder)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida

Roast chana dal on a low flame. When it begins to redden, add urad dal. When that takes on a beige color, add rice. Continue the gentle roasting till the mix is crisp to taste and can be crunched easily between your teeth. Just before turning off the flame, add haldi and stir the mixture a few times. Let the mix cool.
Put the roasted mix and the remaining spices in a grinder. Grind till fine-sooji or rice-flour texture is obtained. While grinding, ensure that the mix does not form lumps due to any steam generated. Pour the resulting powder into a large plate or newspaper and let cool. Store in an airtight container. Stays good for 6 months to a year. However it is better to consume it in a few months as the spices may lose their flavor after that.

How to eat Metkut bhaat

  • Take a bowl of hot well cooked rice which is sticky and where a little liquid still remains. Add a few spoonfuls of metkut to it.
  • Add a dollop of ghee and salt to taste.
  • Mix the rice and metkut well with your fingers, the way you would with dal or curds.
  • Attack!

 You can add a dash of lime pickles to the above if so inclined.

-Some people add fennel powder or other spices to it too. On the whole less spices is better in this case.  
-You do get this stuff in stores in Maharashtra, but it just does not have the same taste as the one made at home as per the above recipe. 

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