‘Oota’ in Telugu refers to the orange coloured, bit sour, spicy liquid which is called as ‘Oota neelu’ or ‘Souse’ (if that’s the right word) in English. Many of us should be aware of those huge ceramic jars that used to be in a safer place in a kitchen or store rooms. I’ve seen my grandma stirring it once in a while. This preparation was always like a celebration in our house. My grandma takes pride in sharing this with her daughters and closed ones whoever visited.
We were exposed to various veggies that exclusively grew on mountains as we were residing near a hill station. When tender bamboo was also used as one of the veggies I would laugh out as I was reading on how bamboo was used for making paper in my textbook ☺. As a teen I always used to think why take so much pain in preparing this!!??? Well, I did! But then, when I started cooking without this ingredient in those authentic dishes is when I knew the answer.
Various veggies were marinated/pickled in this that too without any artificial preservatives, great isn’t it! I have tried my best in listing out the veggies with possible pictures and the preparation of oota . I think it is important to pass this to our next generation as well☺. So for this sake I felt documenting was vital ☺.
Now, that I have spoken toooo much , I think its usage should also be mentioned for those of you who doesn’t know.
It is used in preparing thokku (mahali kizhangu), one of the garnishing ingredients in paniyaram, accompaniment for upma, kichadhi, poha, kandhipaapu kudumu podi, idly upma, nooka upma, pappu rotta, sago upma, pindikooram, pindi annam, curd rice etc.
Marinated Mahali Kizhangu was given to nursing mothers along with ‘Pal annam’ i.e. rice with milk at nights. I don’t have a clue on why? But that’s still followed in our house ☺
I used to crave for this when sick as it was a cure for the bitterness in mouth due to illness due to fever etc .
Always use dry hands/utensils for longer shelf life. Also this is usually stored in ceramic/glass/plastic wares.
It is always advised to have in limits like the saying goes ‘alavukku minjinaal amirthamum nanju’ due to its spiciness. You can wash in running water before eating if you want to reduce the spiciness.
Well, some of you might not like its smell ( sorry 🙁 !! ) this post is dedicated to those like me who can have this as a perfume ( lol, on a funny note )!!
Tender Mahali kilangu – 500 g
Milk – 1 L
Salt – 1/8 cup
Chilli Powder – 1/8 cup
Mustard Seeds – 1/16 cup
Tumeric Powder – 2 tsp
Prepare the curd by fermenting the milk a day before the Oota preparation.
Soak the tender mahali kilangu in water for 4 hrs. Then wash them thoroughly, clean and scrap the skin of the vegetable. Soak them once again in rice water for another 2 hrs.
Meanwhile, take the fermented curd and remove all the cream. Whip them by diluting it with water to make buttermilk approximately to 2.5 liters according to your preference.
In a mixer grinder, grind the mustard seeds to a fine powder and sieve. Mix the mustard seeds powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt together. Add buttermilk to the mixture. Filter them with a sieve to remove any impurities or cream. Now your Oota water is ready!
You can cut the mahali kilangu into 1” pieces after 2 hrs of soaking and mix them with the Oota water.
- Stir the Oota for 20 days now and then to avoid curdling. You can preserve this Oota for a year.
- You can refer the pictures in the link for Oota Vegetables that can be used in the Oota water.
Remember: Always take separate Oota water for each vegetable.