Naagarachauthi and Naagarapanchami are 2 special days in the Sravana month that the Snake God is worshiped. Naagarapanchami is also a special day for brothers and sisters. It is our version of the ‘Raksha Bandhan’, where the sister brushes her brother’s back with a flower dipped in milk, gives him gifts and prays for his wellbeing. I am not sure why this tradition came about, but this is the story I found online-
There is also a tradition of not frying anything on this day, which is why the special dishes that are made are steamed not fried.
‘Kuchida Kadabu'( Steamed Kadabu) and Nucchina Unde are two delicacies that are a must for Naagapanchami in our house every year.
Ingredients for ‘Kuchida Kadabu’-
- Flour made from Rice that has been washed and dried- 2 Cups( Easily available in stores as Idiayappam flour)
- Water- 2 1/2 cups
- Salt- 1/4 Tsp
- Oil/Ghee- 1 Tbsp
- A few banana leaves or Turmeric leaves- Banana leaves are also readily available in US stores in the frozen section. Use of these is optional, but I recommend it both to enhance flavor and to prevent the dumplings from cracking.
For the ‘Hoorna’ or stuffing-
- Fresh coconut Grated- 1 cup
- Jaggery- 3/4 Cup( powdered)
- Poppy seeds- 1 Tbsp
- Cardamom powder- 1/8 Tsp
First make the stuffing. Roast the poppy seeds till they start popping. Add the grated coconut and jaggery powder. Keep stirring till the jaggery melts completely and is well integrated with the coconut. Add the cardamom powder and mix well. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
Boil the 2 1/2 cups of water with the salt and about half the oil. When the water starts bubbling, add the rice flour in parts to prevent lumps. When all the flour is used up and looks cooked, turn off the heat. Cover and leave for a couple of minutes. Take a tennis ball size on dough and add a few drops of oil. Knead very well on a board, till the dough is very smooth and does not crack when rolled. Repeat with the remaining dough. Keep the dough covered at all times, so that it does not dry out.
Cut the Banana leaves into 5 inches X 5 inches squares and wipe them clean. Take a lemon size piece of dough. Roll the dough over the banana leaf into a 3 inch diameter circle. Put some of the stuffing on the center. Fold over the banana leaf so that a small semicircular dumpling is formed. Secure the banana leaf with a tiny stick or a stapler. Be careful to remove these before serving.
Make several of these Kadabu’s or Dumplings and steam them like idlis for about 15 minutes. Remove from the Banana leaf and serve hot.