Godi Huggi, or De-husked Wheat Kheer, is in the list of Indian desserts since time immemorial. It is probably the oldest dessert served, with a minimum of change in taste.
During any marriage in the village, long folded carpets, Durries, and blankets would be laid down alongside the wall of the passage of the village homes. Guests would sit along, and food would be served in Patravalis, (plates made out of dry intertwined leaves of pipal shaped leaves.) Similarly there would be a bowl made of the dried leaves, but unfortunately it had a very precarious hold, and would wobble, toppling over most of the time the moment sambar would be poured into it. Godi Huggi was the first delicacy to be served. So all you had to do, was just dip the base of the bowl in the Huggi, and press it to your plate, and it stayed firm! Then the sambar would be poured into it. In fact, the person who served it reminded you to stick your bowl before poring into it, in case you forgot to do it!!
It was the best thing I had ever tasted in my life… Today, with all the addition of dry fruits and flavoring powders cannot bring in the taste of the one we ate in the village. It mingled with the aroma of the dried leaves, and sometimes it was not surprising if you got a dry twig or two from the broken Patravali bit!! At times the sambar would seep out to the bowl into the kheer, and believe it or not, that too tasted so delicious…Kheer with a hint of Sambar!
The de-husking of the wheat took place a few days before the marriage. The Wheat was washed and dried in shade, often in the cellar of the house. Then in the afternoons, all the neighboring ladies would gather, and the Wheat would be pounded with wooden “Musal”… A long wooden log used specially for de husking. There was a copious flow of Songs, gossip, laughter. Long discussions, expert opinions given on the quality of the Wheat, to the type of Jaggery that was to be used for the Kheer on the day of the marriage…. Comparisons made with the previous marriages, and how to improvise on the mistakes.
On the day of the marriage, the gigantic brass vessels in which the Huggi would be cooked were just awesome to our children’s eyes. We would look at it longingly. The beautiful aroma of the Jaggery, Cardamom, and the wooden smoke was just intoxicating! Today, even if there are no such paraphernalia used to make the Kheer, and the taste not so like the ones served in village marriages, it’s still one of the tastiest dessert in all it’s simplicity……
Probably, it’s because the analogous labor of love is one factor that has remained constant throughout the ages..
1/2 kg de husked whole Wheat.
1/2 kg Jaggery. (More or less according to choice)
2 fistfuls raw Rice.
Cardamom powder, Nutmeg powder, Cashews, and Raisins, according to taste.
1/4 cup roasted ground Khus-Khus, 1/4 cup Dry roasted Coconut, and 1/4 cup fresh grated Coconut.
Clean, wash, and soak Wheat in Water the earlier night. Refrigerate. Next day add 2 fistfuls of raw Rice, more water if needed, and pressure cook for 5 whistles and 45 minutes on extreme sim. (This time it may release the pressure once or twice, it’s ok.)
After the pressure is released, tip into a thick bottomed brass vessel and churn thoroughly with wooden Chaas churner.
Add 1/2 liter of boiling Water, Jaggery, (retain some if you like less sweet),and boil for 1 hour taking care not to let it burn/ stick at the bottom.
Once the whole mixture coagulates into smooth consistency, add the Cardamom, Nutmeg powders, cut Cashews, and Raisins. Then add the Khus-Khus, and both the Coconuts.
Cook for another 10 minutes, and serve with Ghee at room temperature.
-By Roma Patil