Ole Rukhwat: Indian hand rolled or twisted pasta

Just when I was writing the post for the dry rukhwat, I browsed through my old photographs on facebook. I have an album with photographs of my experiments with handmade pasta. These handmade pasta often referred to as Valvat in few homes and few others call them as Gavhale. Traditionally they are a part of rukhwat and called as ole rukhwat, ole literally means wet. Valvat or gavhale are classified as ole rukhwat more because they are edible and of course perishable. I recall my visit to Italy. I was amazed with the array of shapes and colours of pasta the country has. Little did I realise that the same tradition was followed for ages traditionally in my own family! I have a visit to India planned very soon. I look forward to organise a workshop with the two women in my family to learn more about these age old traditions of pasta. Let me know if anyone is interested in joining in. The two ladies in my family owe the credit to have motivated me to venture out more in traditional food. They deserve introduction 🙂

My mother and mother-in-law busy rolling and twisting pasta.
My mother and mother-in-law busy rolling and twisting pasta.

My mother-in-law makes sure she has a stock of valvat at home. When time is the constraint, Valvat prepared all in advance and stocked in the pantry helps make a quick kheer for Puja or some festive occasions. These make a great resource, when it comes to prepare a quick upma or a savoury rice preparation. Every visit to India, I have my pack of valvat set aside to travel back with me by my mother-in-law. The stock helps me throughout the year.

Khiri/Valvat/Gavhale my mother-in-law makes every year and packs some for me.
Khiri/Valvat/Gavhale my mother-in-law makes every year and packs some for me. These she made last year.

When it comes to weddings there is an excitement in the family to prepare these valvat. The valvat prepared specially for wedding are called as kheeri. The bride’s trousseau must have a set of these kheeri twisted and rolled in different forms.  At times, the women folk explore their creativity with different food colours added to the dough. Dextrous fingers twist the dough into various shapes and symbols which they normally see around them or are in the environment. Combs and other tools like sticks are used to get other types ready for the bride’s new family. As a part of the rukhwat, the hand rolled pasta are placed in containers of five, seven or eleven, always in odd number theme and at least five. The number five has association with many Hindu concepts. Hindu calender has five parts hence is called Panchang; Dieties are offered a Prasad of five called as Panchamrut , we know five definite products of cow, namely milk, cream, ghee, yogurt and gomutra  and even Panchmahabhut namely jal, vaayu, agni, aakash and prithvi which are of great importance in Hindu culture. Quite interesting to research indeed. The odd numbers are definitely symbolic and considered “shubh” meaning auspicious. The kheeri are cooked into a dessert on the wedding day and served to the groom before he visits the Maruti temple. It is also served to the groom’s family when they have their meal post the wedding. This ritual is called as vihinichi pangat. My mother enjoys making these as well and has made some especially for this post on the blog. This post would not have been possible without my mother’s efforts and my mother-in-law’s information.  These hand rolled pasta are made with flour (either with whole wheat or plain flour). Valvat/gavhalya made using 4:1 ratio of semolina and wheat flour/maida dough is made using milk. The dough is then rolled with fingers, making this is the most enjoyable part of creating the rukhwat. Here is a picture method I tried in my kitchen for the simplest pasta:

The dough is smoothed and rolled between the palms
The dough is smoothed and rolled between the palms
The dough is pulled at one end to get a narrow thread
The dough is pulled at one end to get a narrow thread
As the thread is pulled, it is twisted and cut
As the thread is pulled, it is twisted and cut

Here are ten different shapes rolled and twisted by my mother:

Valvat spread numbered
My mother made these beautiful valvat overnight, just for the post!

Here is an introduction to the different shapes: 1 Pearl shaped called as sabudana 2  Sadhe Valvat 3 Clove shaped called as Lavanga 4 Cardamom shaped called as Veldode 5  Tubes called as Suralya 6 Shell shaped shankha 7 Fanolya shaped like leaves and scored with a comb 8 Melon seeds shaped tarbujachya beeya 9 Twisted pasta called as Maltya 10  Flower shaped called as phula 11 Plated pasta which is my mother’s favourite, veni. There are a few of interesting stories about a couple of these valvat. Suralya, the tube shaped pasta are made during the wedding preparations with the wish ” Suralit pane paar padu det” that their is no hindrance in the auspicious occasion. These pasta are made on a stick. Maltya are used to give as a vaan for oti bharne of the vihin(groom’s mother) and the bride, which is a ritual where the bride’s family gift the women folks with traditional marital symbols like a blouse piece, coconut, rice, fruits, green bangles and times a saree. Now these are a few shapes that my mother made for the post. There are many more shapes which both the ladies make regularly. Both our ajjis'(mine and my husband’s) loves making them and think this is the best bulwark against ennui! I look forward to learn these from our precious ladies in the house this summer. Do let me know if you are interested in joining in.


3 thoughts on “Ole Rukhwat: Indian hand rolled or twisted pasta

  1. Oh my! What patience and dedication it must take, and what a skill to master, to be able to make so many different shapes! I loved reading about the background and tradition of hand rolled pasta in this post.

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