Preparation / Directions:
This is one of the widely known snacks of Karnataka, perhaps also popular in other parts of South India. It is fairly easy to prepare, but needs some initial patience and effort. A trial on a week-end is suggested. KODU means Horn (like that of a cow) and BALE means Bangle, the best one is made by grand-mother.
Ingredients: Rice flour (slightly coarse, gives more crispy touch), red chile powder, Jeera (cumin seeds), Hing (asafetida), grated coconut, dried and crushed curry leaves, TilyeLLu or white sesame seeds),butter, salt to taste. Oil to fry. Proportion is for 500 gms of rice flour, put in a handful of each of the other ingredients (except chile powder, ooh, just a table spoon of that would do).
Preparation: Mix the rice flour, red chile powder, salt, butter (one quarter piece of the commercially available pack), and all the above ingredients in the dry form. Knead with hand to ensure that butter gets uniformly mixed in the dry flour. At this stage some people prefer to put 1 or 2 red chiles in hot oil, take out after 1 minute, cool, powdered by hand and mix with the dry flour. This gives a traditional flavor to KODUBALE. Also, freshly grated coconut gives a much better taste than the dry coconut powder available in stores. If using fresh coconut, save the coconut water, to mix the dough. This enhances the taste.
Frying procedure : The proper method is not to mix water to the flour all at once, but to sprinkle, enough to make a handful of wet dough at a time, finish that and proceed again. So, mix water to a portion of the dough (preferably at the center), mix it to a semi-wet paste (not as wet as a chappathi/bread dough - remember - rice flour does not have the stickiness of wheat and stays together more loosely, held by ingredients). Take a lemon sized ball and start rolling on a cutting board. The consistency should be sufficient to roll, but not too wet/soggy. If the water is less, the rolled rod breaks. If this happens, add a little water (coconut water if you have). Remember, do not put too much pressure on the semi-wet dough, but gently roll to form a smooth natural rod, rolling sideways to get an even thickness of about the small finger on your hand. When the rolled rod becomes 4 inches long, slowly turn around the ends, join them to form a circle (like a bangle). The correct consistency is that at the points of bending, small cracks may appear, but the roll will not break. Carefully hold it at the circumference and slide it along Wok-edge into hot oil. Use medium flame to heat the Wok(BaNale or Kadayi). Sunflower oil is preferable to others since it does not have any odor of its own. Back home, the popular medium is unrefined groundnut oil (coconut oil is popular in S. Canara district).
Put in 5 to 6 Kodubale at a time and deep fry slowly till brown. Use the back of stainless steel spoon or a wooden rod to lift them thro' the center hole. To test consistency, break one after cooling; it must be crispy with crumbs at the center. If the butter is too much, the KODUBALE breaks into pieces after getting into the hot oil. If the water is too much, the KODUBALE becomes smooth and soft. Lack of butter makes it pretty hard, which, many people do like. Adjust your proportion, Khara (chile powder) etc by tasting one, then proceed with the further batches. It can be kept in bottles for 15 days to a month and eaten at tea time (all the time - for kids :-), as experienced people will tell you). The right thing to have on a rainy day; if it is a little on the hotter side (taste-wise) it will go very well with beer.
If you have a tough time/run out on your patience, beat the lemon sized balls into flat round pieces like mini poppudums and fry. If you have decided to do this, add roasted groundnut seeds and Purikadale (bhoonja chana) to bring a distinct taste. This is also called Nippattu in Kannada (I know the Telugu people have a name for this, but can't remember).
Courtesy: K. Raghunanda