Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Microwave Aval Kozhakkattai

What you need:

Rice flakes - 1 cup (thick variety - I used matta rice flakes)
Water - 2 cups
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Broken urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli - 2, roughly broken into pieces
Peanuts - a little
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Grated fresh coconut - 1/4 cup
Asafoetida - a little

Powder the rice flakes in a blender to a coarse that of rava/semolina.
Take the oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, chilli, peanuts, curry leaves and asafoetida in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes on maximum power or until the mustard seeds pop.
Add water, powdered rice flakes, salt and grated coconut into the bowl. Stir well so that there are no lumps. Microwave for 8 minutes on high power or until the mixture is well cooked like upma and there is no water left.
Let it cool and then shape into ovals.
Steam for 2 minutes in a microwave idli plate.
Remove and serve hot with coconut chutney.

Am rushing this entry off to Easycrafts who is hosting this month's WBB - Microwave food

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chakka adai

Growing up, the meals we had during summer always revolved around chakka (jackfruit), muringakka (drumstick) and mangoes. If there was muringakka sambar one day, the next day it was muringakka molagoottal, then chakkakkuru (jackfruit seed) thoran, chakka molagushyam, chakka this, muringakka much so that my brother and I used to silently wish that those trees would somehow miraculously stop bearing any more fruit.
It's true that you don't realise the value of something when you have it in abundance. Now whenever I visit my parents I come back laden with the very same things that I once said I couldn't take any more of.......
Chakka adai is something I didn't dislike as a child, but neither was I overly enamoured by it. A recent visit to my parents' made me rediscover this dish and yeah, I did bring back some ripe jackfruit so that I could make this at home.

What you need:
Raw rice - 1 cup
Jackfruit - 6 slices (is that what it is called??? or is it just pieces???)
Salt - a pinch
Jaggery - a small piece (optional)

Wash and soak rice in plenty of water for 2 hours.
Drain and then grind along with all the other ingredients to a smooth batter of pourable consistency.
Heat a dosa pan. Pour a ladle of batter...spread it into a circle....pour a few drops of oil/ghee on it and cook for a minute/until the bottom turns golden brown. Flip over and cook for a minute.

Serve hot.
This dosa does not need any accompaniment...tastes great hot off the stove.

  • The jackfruit should be really, really ripe.
  • Increase, decrease or totally do away with the jaggery depending on the sweetness of the jackfruit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Experience in action

Look at those efficient hands spreading the batter deftly and in perfect circles......the dosas that he made were nothing less than a pure delight to savour.

Crisp and delicious!!!

These pics were taken during my father's Shastiabdapoorthy (60th b'day) a couple of months back. The caterer was really, really good....if any of you are looking for a caterer(Kerala Iyer food), I highly recommend Akshaya Caterers of Palakkad.

This is my final entry to Srivalli's Dosa Mela.

Happy Vishu

Our Vishu Sadya
Here's wishing you all a very happy Vishu....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Verum arisi adai

Minimum preparation and almost no fuss is exactly how I would describe my cooking style. I am not the kind to toil over the stove all day long and endure the "It-tastes-OK" type of comments
with a martyr-like smile.....If I have toiled in the kitchen and put something on the table, then you better be lavish with your words(read you better tell me it is GOOD!!!)
The dosas that Iam going to talk about today are just my kind of dish - need almost no prep....except for the grinding of fermenting, no soaking and grinding separately....infact, it uses just three ingredients.....yet, the end-product is guaranteed to satisfy.

What you need:

Parboiled rice - 1cup
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

Wash and soak the rice in plenty of water for 4 to 6 hours. Drain and grind to a smooth batter adding as much water as needed. The batter should be rava dosa batter.
Mix in the grated coconut and salt.
Heat a dosa pan....pour a ladleful of batter in a circle....even it out with the ladle...pour a few drops of oil over it if you'd like....cook for a few minutes, turn over, cook for a minute....and
serve hot with coconut chutney/tomato chutney/sambar. My personal favourite is mango thokku along with this.
There, does dosa making get any simpler than that???

  • You can use raw rice instead of parboiled, but the dosas are much softer when u use parboiled rice.
  • The coconut can be ground along with the batter but biting into little bits of grated coconut as you eat the dosa is what gives this a unique taste. I have also seen some people sprinkle the grated coconut over the dosa immediately after pouring the batter into the pan.
This dosa too goes to Srivalli's Dosa Mela.
Check out my other entries to the mela - tomato dosa ( no fermenting), vegetable dosa (no fermenting) and masala dosa (scroll halfway down the post to see the recipe)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Summer goodies #1 - Ela vadam

"Unbearably hot" is an understatement when it comes to describing Chennai summers. The bright sun blazing its way through the thick curtains in your bedroom lets you know in no uncertain terms that summer is here to stay whether you like it or not. When your sweat glands produce just about as much sweat as the water you consume plus some more, you know there's no escape. You have to brace yourself for the next few months and make the best of it.
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, 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 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.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chickpeas vada

Parippu vada is a popular tea-time snack in Kerala.....and can be found in most small local restaurants in the evening. During my hostel days, I have washed down several of these with cups of severely watered down tea. My recipe for parippu vada can be found here.

What I have here is a variation that I tried....and the results of which we enjoyed.
What you need:
Chickpeas - 1 cup, soaked in water for 6-8 hrs
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Carrot - 1, grated
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped fine
curry leaves - a few, chopped
Green chilli - 2 or 3, minced
Asafoetida - a little
Salt - to taste
Oil - for deep frying

Grind the chick peas without adding any water to a coarse paste.If there are some whole chickpeas even after grinding, it's perfectly fine.
Add all the other ingredients to this and mix well. Alternately, you can also add the other ingredients into the blender and turn it once so it is well mixed.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Shape the chickpea batter into small balls, flatten them between your palms and drop a few of these gently into the oil.
Fry until the vada turns crisp and golden brown....make sure you turn it over a couple of times so that both the sides get cooked well. Also take care to see that you don't overheat the oil 'coz then the inside doesn't get cooked thoroughly.
Remove....drain excess oil using a paper towel and serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney.

A closer look.......

Check out this and other amazing entries to Waiter There's Something in my Soup at Jeanne's round-up.