This is a recipe that requires a few simple ingredients, a fair bit of time and patience – I imagine many family problems are set to rights during sidu-making afternoons – and a whopping great ‘Shil’ stone to grind the spices. Electric grinders just don’t cut it apparently.
It is delicious piping hot, drenched in ghee and dipped in the homemade apple chutney but really came into its own later in the evening when we used it to mop up the sauce from the Rara Chicken and Paneer.
This is the type of cooking (my favourite) which is passed down through families and is made instinctively so it really isn’t in the spirit of things to provide very precise quantities, but it goes something like this:
Because the Sidu dough is yeast-based, it has to be prepared a couple of hours before you need it. To 2kg of plain flour add 2 teaspoons of dried yeast and enough warm water to make a soft dough. Knead well for about 10 minutes then leave, covered, to double in size for a couple of hours in a warm place.
The stuffing ingredients are all given a good workout on the ‘Shil’: Chaman estimated one half kg of poppy seeds, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 10-20 green chillies, salt, fresh coriander and mint to taste (Shil=grinding stone).
The gentle art of Sidu-making:
When the dough is ready, break off small balls, dip them in flour and roll out to the thickness of a 5 rupee coin. Then spread 1 tablespoon of the poppy seed paste over the centre of the dough circle, leaving about 1 cm at the edge. Fold the dough in half fold the edge back over on itself then pinch the edges to firmly seal. The Sidu are then placed in a steamer and cooked for 10-15 minutes.
Sidu can be eaten in the place of bread or on it’s own with Kullu Valley apple chutney – I haven’t yet tried this at home but the Thakur version is made up of tomato, onion, apple, mint, fresh coriander and green chillies. And for this Chaman does allow an electric grinder to be used!