Ottu shavige/semige tops my list of favorite foods. It takes some real effort to make these noodles, but at the end, it all seems worth it. The process of making these noodles is elaborate and does take some time and patience to get the noodles right. These noodles can be made using regular white rice or Kerala matta rice/red parboiled rice or is commonly referred to as “kuchalakki” in Kannada. I like it better when it is made using the Kerala matta rice because the noodles turn out softer and tastier as compared to using regular white rice.
Kerala matta rice cooks slower than regular white rice. In order to soak this rice, I use water close to boiling temperature and let it sit overnight. Soaked rice enlarges and looks almost like cooked rice but is definitely harder than cooked rice. If using white rice, soak in water at room temperature.
While grinding the soaked rice to make the paste, it is important to use as little water as possible but the resultant paste should be smooth. If using a blender/mixer to do the grinding, it takes some patience to get this right without getting the blender hot.
Traditionally, these noodles are made using a large three-legged shavige press with a rotating handle. Due to the lack of availability of such a press here, I used a small stainless steel kitchen press. As long as the dough to be pressed is hot, the noodles come out without much effort.
Ottu Shavige | Homemade Indian Rice Noodles Recipe
Preparation time: 1 hour 15 minutes + soaking time
Cooking time: 45 minutes
3/4 cup Kerala matta red rice or white rice, uncooked
5 cups boiling water
Salt to taste
Wash the matta rice thoroughly and soak it overnight in boiling water. If using white rice, soak in water at room temperature.
Rinse the soaked rice and blend to a smooth paste using as little water as possible. Add salt and mix well. Spread this paste on a plate and steam in a steamer/cooker on high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue steaming for another 35 minutes. I used a pressure cooker without the weight to do the steaming. Make sure that the steamer/cooker has sufficient water* to be able to steam for that long. If in doubt, turn off heat, add water and then continue steaming.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer or a knife to see if it comes clean and the paste is cooked well. Scoop a part of this hot cooked mixture into the cavity of the press and press the noodles onto a plate. Serve hot or at room temperature with sweetened coconut milk** or some mango pickle.
* If the steamer dries up, the paste also dries up making it hard to press the noodles. The resultant noodles become dry and brittle.
** Sweetened coconut milk is coconut milk sweetened using jaggery and flavored with cardamom powder