Friday, March 30, 2012

A power packed summer breakfast from the past

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.

                                      Fermented rice gruel ( mixed with mint chutney)

(fermented curd rice seasoned and garnished  with an addon sundried and fried curd chilli)


  1. Ohhhhhh Nooooooo.

    With full respect to your views, in my book, pazhedu is YUK with a capital Y U & K :)

    Evidence for the seriousness of its Yukkiness is that in the olden days the paattimaas rarely had it. It was mostly fed to the children who were in swarms and considered slightly inferior members of homo sapiens by the amazons !!

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yessssssssss, LOL :):)

    For me it's YUM, but seriously it is very beneficial and proven to be good for weight loss too and a sooper coolant.

  3. This reminded me so much of those days when life was simpler, relationships were warmer and food was healthier. Thanks Asha!

    1. same pinch for sharing same thoughts. I too like simple and uncomplicated life.

  4. VERY TRUE os true .. Reminds me all the stuff we use to eat and drink in village , and they were so healthy .. I dont remeebr the names now ..

    thank you sharing


  5. I totally agree with you. I often make this sadam and relish it with the same memories described by you. it is indeed a super food.

  6. Made a good reading .Eating time was also fun time in those days. Now everyone eats in front of tv or books in hand :(

  7. thanks 4 yr consoling words ashaji..and sorry for late reply.just returned to sharjah..will stay connected:) tc

  8. echusme ello lady..enga poiteenga?? aal addressay kaanum?

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  10. This is divine, the rice of yesteryears, which could withstand the soak, the curd of cows, from the shed.. thick and full of cream!

    The Monsanto distributed rice may not withstand the soak, nor the artificial, milk -curd taste as good.:-)

  11. Hi Asha,

    great post. I'm glad you mentioned the B12 ... Pazhiya saadam kanji is an important probiotic fermented food. I believe it contributes not only to beneficial gut flora, but also promotes longevity.

    However, I noticed that the sort of rice we use these days makes the kanji pretty thin. Probably the fat old Kerala rice, or Ponni rice is better for the Kanji.