Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Medu Vadai or Ulundhu Vadai

Two days ago, we celebrated my best friend Nitu's birthday at my home. I had promised her to give a surprise party 3 years ago which I kept postponing due to the teaching job that I'm engaged with. Well, normally, I just give her a treat or hangout at our favorite restaurant but this time after a series of entreat from her, I consented to cook her favorite dishes with a condition which she unwillingly agreed. She must help me at the kitchen and wash up the dirty dishes after the birthday bash. We invited our close friends, decorated the house using hand-made origami and served varieties of delicacies with recipe written on a golden slip of paper which was enveloped with a red ribbon. In exchange, our friends should also be swapping with us their family recipes which they had tried and tested in their own kitchen.Today I'll be posting medu vadai that can be served either for breakfast  or as an evening  snack or at any Indian occasion. The secret of making perfect crispy outer layer and soft inside vadai lies in good grinding of urad dal which should only be soaked in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Lets have look at the ingredients needed for making this vadai.


Urad dal or ulundhu : 1cup
Raw rice : 3 tbsp
Green chillies : 4
Big Onion : 1
Curry leaves : a sprig
Asofetida : 1/2 tsp
Salt : as needed
Oil : for deep frying

Method :

1. Soak urad dal and rice in sufficient amount of water for 10 to 15 minutes only.

2. Drain off the excess water and start grinding them in a blender or grinder. You may add little water from time to time if you face the difficulty to grind well. You should grind them into smooth and fluffy thick paste. Do not add a lot of water as your vadai will absorb oil and turn soggy too. Be careful in adding water and only sprinkle with some water during the grinding difficulty. All the green chillies can be added while grinding.

3.Finely chop the onions and curry leaves. Add them to the thick vadai mixture with salt as much needed and asofetida powder. Always add salt at the end and before frying.

4. Using a plastic or zip lock bag, take a small ball of the paste, flatten it lightly on the surface you are working on and by using your index finger shape a hole in the center. 

5. Pour sufficient oil for deep frying in a wide pan. Keep the flame on medium high. Transfer the shaped vadai into the oil. You may fry three vadais at the same time depending on the size of the pan you are using.

6. Serve the vadai with coconut chutney.

Medu Vadai


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Potato and Moong Dal Gotsu - a side dish for thosai, idly or idiyappam

My father's mother or my appatha used to make this side dish back in India. After getting married, my mother learned this cuisine from her as she was an expert in preparing Gotsu of any variety . This particular dish is always a great hit in our dining table when it is served with  ghee coated hot plain thosai. This dish has a mild spiciness with creamy texture contributed by the potatoes and roasted moong dal, which could be enjoyed by people who are extremely health conscious . Yellow split moong dal is a type of lentil rich in protein, low in fat and high in fiber  which is a boon for those with digestion problem. That's why it can be prepared as a side dish for thosai, idly or even idiyappam at dinner time. I'm sharing this South Indian recipe which might not be an acquainted dish as it is a special creation of my appatha.

Potato and Moong Dal Gotsu

Ingredients :

Big onion : 2
Potatoes : 2
Medium sized brinjal : 1
Curry leaves : a sprig

To grind :

Dry roasted yellow split moong dal : 4 tbsp
Dry red chillies : 6
Fennel seeds : 1tsp
Cumin seeds : 1tsp 
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
salt : as needed

To temper :

Gingerly oil or any vegetable oil : 1tbsp
Mustard : 3/4 tsp
Urad dal :  1 tsp

Method :

1. First, peel the skin of the potatoes and cut them into small cubicle wedges. Then, dice the brinjal into small cubes and onions are cut length wise. Soak the cut potatoes and brinjal in a sufficient salt added water in order to prevent discoloration.

2. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of oil. Keep the flame on medium heat. Add mustard seeds to the oil and let it crackle to release the sulphur in it. After that, add urad dal and wait till it lightly browns and immediately add onions along with 1/2 tsp of salt to ooze out the liquid and further cook the onions till transparent. At this stage, you can also add potatoes, brinjal and curry leaves. Cook them till they are tender.

3. You may need to grind all the ingredients stated above "To grind" section with little water into a smooth paste. The blended paste can be added and keep frying till the raw smell of the dry red chillies disappear.

4. Lastly, add 4 cups - 5 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes or until it starts thickening.The consistency of this gotsu must be semi gravy and not too watery or thick.

5. The gotsu is ready to be served with thosai. This side dish may not be palatable with rice. Try this new yet delicious creation of my appatha and delight everyone at your home.



Spicy Tasty Tomato Biryani

I have tested and tried various recipes of Tomato Rice or Tomato Biryani but today the delectable food was made from scratch. I was getting rid of old stocks of vegetables which only left with some carrots, cauliflowers and thindoras. I somehow managed to clean my refrigerator and at the same time created my own tomato biryani at a very short period of time. It was a hearty food accompanied by a simple cucumber and onion raita. My mom complimented for its delicious taste.Now, with a cup of piping hot tea settled next to my computer with several shots of photos taken to share with viewers my coincident triumph. Lets not waste the time and straight way move on to the ingredients and method of preparing the Tomato Biryani or Rice. 
Tomato Biryani

Ingredients :

Basmati rice(used India Gate brand) : 1 rice cooker cup
Onion : 1 big
Tomatoes : 2 and 1/2
Green chillies : 2
Grated carrot : 1/2 piece

To Grind: (grind into a smooth paste using little water)

Ginger : 1 inch
Garlic : 4 cloves
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp

Masala Powders:   

Chilli powder : 1 tsp
Coriander powder : 1tsp
Garam masala powder : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp

To Temper:

Ghee : 1 tbsp
Cinnamon : 2 inches stick
Cloves : 2
Cardamon : 1
Shahi Jeera or Black cumin : 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf : 1

Method :

1. First wash the basmati rice and soak in  a sufficient water for at least 20 minutes. 

2.  Chop the onion length wise, dice the tomatoes into small cubes, grate 1/2 piece of carrot and slit the green chillies. Mix all the masala powders with 1 tbsp water and ground ginger, garlic and cumin paste.

3. Add 1 tbsp ghee to the hot pan and start frying all the tempering ingredients mentioned above.

4. Next, fry the onion by adding 1 tsp of salt until it oozes some of its liquid and become slightly transparent.

 5. Then gradually, add in the diced tomatoes and cook till they are mashed.

6. At this stage, you can also incorporate all the blended masala powders and ginger garlic paste. You need  to fry until the raw smell disappears.

7. Lastly, drain off the excess water from the soaked rice. Add rice to the rice cooker pot with fried masala and grated carrot. You may need to add 1 cup of water measured using the rice cooker cup which I used to measure the rice.

 8. The end result was a lip smacking Tomato Biryani or Rice made in jiffy. You can even garnish the rice with a small bunch of coriander leaves chopped finely but since they were out of stock in my fridge, I didn't use them. I pair the dish with raita made of one cucumber chopped roughly, 1 large onion cut length wise and 2 finely chopped green chillies mixed with a cup of thick curd.

Tomato Biryani

Do give a try and I promise this humble dish will not let you down.