Nature does have its own ways to help you cope...there are all those luscious fruits that line the shelves of your grocer.....the juice stalls that are constanly busy this time of the year....mangoes from different parts of India - some sweet, some with a hint of tanginess....that is the silver lining behind the cloud.
Summer is also the season when most of the seasonal produce is preserved in different forms for use during the rest of the year. Pickles, vathals and vadams are made and stored and enjoyed all round the year.
There's two ways to putting a vadam on your plate.....
1. Go to a store. Find your favourite vadam. Bring it back home. Fry in oil and that's it.
2. Wake up at an ungodly hour.....the said hour for me was 5.45....not so ungodly for many, but hey, I like my beauty sleep. Hurry up and make the vadams before that little girl wakes up and comes in and demands that anything that's not 2 years old should be relegated to the outer bounds of your attention. Make vadam. Dry it in the sun for days until it is ready for use and then fry them in oil.
No prizes for guessing which method Iam going to talk about here.
Yeah, yeah...call me crazy...but there's just something about all that hot sun that made me want to try this out from scratch. This is my first attempt at making vadams. It takes up quite a bit of your time...so make sure you do this when you're sure there aren't going to be any interruptions.
Alright, let's put on our aprons....and start making vadams.
What you need:
Raw rice - 1 cup
Parboiled rice - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Green chilli - 2 or to taste (remember, we just want a hint of spiciness here...not a super spicy vadam that would require its own side dish)
Black sesame seeds - 1 tsp, soaked in water for ten minutes
You also need an ela vadam stand and vadam plates.
Grind the rice to a smooth paste adding just as little water as needed. Add salt and leave it covered overnight. Next morning, grind the green chillies to a smooth paste. Add a little bit of the rice batter to the chillies while grinding so that it blends in smoothly and then mix it in with the rest of the batter. Drain the sesame seeds of water and add to the batter. Check for salt and add more if needed. The batter should not be very runny. It should be of pourable consistency.Heat some water in an idli cooker. Grease the vadam plates. Pour a small amount of batter on the plate and spread it into a circle. It should not be spread too thick or too thin. If you spread it too thick, the vadam does not turn out well when fried and if it is too thin, you won't be able to take it off the plate without tearing it.Stack the plates on the vadam stand and steam in the idli cooker for 3-4 minutes.When the vadam is cooked, it changes colour and becomes shiny.
Remove the plates from the cooker. Let it cool for a few seconds....and then ease one end of the vadam out with a knife.
Pull out the vadam carefully without tearing it and transfer it to a plastic sheet.
Follow these steps until all the batter is used up. You should have about 35 vadams if you follow this recipe.If you have the luxury of some open space with lots of sunshine, dry the vadams there. If not, don't worry...these vadams dry quite well even under the fan. It should dry completely in one or two days, depending on the intensity of sunlight.
Once dried, fry them in hot oil and serve with rice.