Halasina hannu fruit is used to prepare this hittu or dumpling. It is one of my favorites amongst all the Mangalorean delicacies.
As children, we always looked forward to our lady folks preparing this. It used to be a celebration for us as kids. As we did not really know how they prepared it, we thought it involved a huge process. May be like they were literally manufacturing this stuff to be served hot. LOL!!!!! How funny was this thought!!!!!
Then, there were no gas stoves or even if it was there, they used the traditional choolahs or WOLE (ಒಲೆ) in Kannada, made of clay where the firewood was used as the fuel for cooking.
Anyways atleast now we know & understand that it is not manufactured but prepared with their very own hands, carefully, with all their love.
To prepare this hittu (ಹಿಟ್ಟು) , they use the leaves of teak wood tree, called as sagwan leaves. The leaves are washed & dried & then used in the preparation. This type of usage is found in coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in state of Karnataka in India. The leaf has a very tasteful aroma & color once it is steamed. That adds the color, aroma & taste to the delicacy.
Jackfruit - 1 medium bowl, peeled & sliced to thin strands
Raw Rice - 3 medium cups
Pepper Corns - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 1/2 cup, scraped, depending on the taste of the jackfruit (very sweet or less)
Salt to taste
Cardamom - 2
Sagwan Leaves - 7-8
Coconut - 1/2
Soak rice in water for 2-3 hours. Wash the rice & drain the water. Grind the jackfruit & rice along with peppercorns to not so smooth texture. Which means medium texture. Not very smooth, not so coarse. Then add jaggery & cardamom & grind further for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile wash & dry the sagwan leaves.
Remove the batter from the grinder.
Add salt & small cut pieces of coconut.
Mix well to the consistency of dosa(pancake) batter. Now pour the batter on the leaves one by one.
Pour & spread with the help of the back of a spoon.
Once the batter is spread evenly, seal the spread by covering it from all four sides. Keep a steamer ready to cook these dumplings.
Dry a big banana leaf to get rid of its stiffness by just swiping the leaf over the fire.
Place the leaf on the base of the steamer above the water compartment.
And arrange these sealed spreads in a steamer.
Steam cook for an hour on high flame. Just keep a check to see if it is cooked. To check just peirce a pack with the help of a fork. When it is cooked you would see the sealed pack has turned pink. The color of the leaf turns pink.
Once done let it cool & then relish.
P.S. Variation: Do not have to worry if sagwan leaves are not available. The batter can be spread on banana leaves instead. And for people who do not like to chew on the coconut while eating your hiitu or the dumpling , can add grated coconut instead.
There is another variation to this preparation.
Not the preparation as such, but the way you eat it. Because my hubby does not like eating the steamed hittu or the steamed dumpling all by itself. But he loves it when I fry it for him, in a little oil. That tastes yumm tooooooo. You slice the dumplings & then shallow fry it in a pan.
For either of these ways you eat it, you just eat it all by itself without any side dish.