A special food we resort to during summers is an ancient traditional breakfast called "Pazheya saada kanji". Especially when we have elders at home who are rich in traditional wisdom , you can never escape this kanji (gruel)."Pazheya saada kanji" literally means gruel of leftover rice. A simple and humble breakfast which is often ridiculed as a poor man’s life style food. A wonderful healthy food which is a power house of vitamins.
In olden days and even now, farmers and laborers who did lot of physical work ate this rice which gave them sustained energy with all natural nutritional supplements. It is so soothing for the intestines especially during the summers and acts as a coolant for your body.
This is an easy to make breakfast, especially when the summer heat turns your kitchen into an oven. All you have to do is cook extra rice, add water when cool and allow it to ferment overnight ( not in fridge). Generally we use a stone vessel called 'kal chatty' to store the rice. Next day morning the rice gets fermented by the healthy bacteria(not all bacteria are bad) and this fermented rice is then mashed well with the fermented water and with addons likebuttermilk, salt or asafoetida and the resultant kanji(gruel) tastes yummy. You can even add finely chopped shallots(baby onions), ginger and top with one or two ice cubes.
Come summer, I and my husband narrate 'pazheya saada' stories to our children.
During my summer vacations at my grandparents home. Our Paati(grand mom) used to cook extra rice at night so that the next day her 10 grandchildren could have this for breakfast. It is a practice in semi orthodox homes that without having the bath nobody could eat freshly cooked brunch(offered as bhog to god) and we cousins got up late and had our bath late, so paati decided to make this pazheya saadam for all of us. The fermented water would be drained to a different vessel and our aunt would then mix the rice, curds and salt. The resultant curd rice would be distributed to all the ten of us. We would all get a vadu manga( baby mangoes brined) which we would place in a small plate. Our perimma( my mom’s older sister) would then place a morsel of Pazheya saadam on our palm. Each of us would take a bite of mango piece and then gobble the rice. This practice of offering morsels on palm was called ‘Kaila podruthu(tamil) or Kai tutthu(kannada). It was so much fun to eat the food this way and it helped forge a bond between all of us. All of us would gobble the morsel and compete to stretch our palms. This daily breakfast practice has nestled in the crevice of our heart so strongly that whenever we cousins meet together we ask our mami , mom or aunt to offer us food like this. Such sweet memories.
My husband too recalls to our children how his grand mom would store the food in a kalchatti and he would come after his playtime in the afternoon and drink the water after mixing this with buttermilk and salt . He says to my children that this is a super energizer which no Gatorade(sport drink) can match and is excellent to reduce your body heat.
Another positive point about this breakfast is that the trillions of bacteria will produce lot of B complex vitamins , Vit K and B12 which is a good source for vegetarians. These healthy and friendly Bacteria help extract calories from what we eat, help store calories for later use and provide energy and nutrients for the production of new bacteria to continue this work. So eating this paaniwala chawal/ fermented rice/ pazheya saadam is a great energizer and coolant.
An ancient breakfast and a wonderful healty food which is now sadly ignored in modern times but I have introduced this to my children to beat the hyderabadi summer heat.
So along with tender coconut water, panna, khus juice, barley lemonade, chaas this is another coolant we resort to.