Vadacurry with Idli

BM #106: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

The first time I had vada curry is when our friend’s mom prepared it for us. It’s not a dish I grew up eating, but the first time I had it, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a complicated process to prepare these, but it’s a fairly easy one. First you have to soak Chana dal and then grind it fennel seeds and dried red chilies. It’s ground to a coarse paste and steamed as small vadas. The gravy for this is the common onion tomato base with the usual spices. The vada is then broken into smaller pieces and added to the onion tomato gravy.

The only difference I see in my friend’s mom’s recipe from the other ones in internet is that she keeps a little bit of vada batter aside and uses it to thicken the gravy later. In the other recipes I see coconut being used for this purpose. The smell and taste of fennel seeds here is absolutely divine. Mine doesn’t have that much fennel, so feel free to add a bit more ground fennel seeds to the gravy if preferred.

This is a typical breakfast/dinner dish and is usually served with soft thick dosas or idli. This was dinner getting packed as lunch next day for my husband:-).

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend’s mother

Ingredients:

For vada

  • 1 cup Chana dal
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • Salt as needed

For curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Soak the dal overnight or for at least 3 hours. Drain the water completely and pulse it in a blender with fennel seeds, chilies, chili powder and salt. It should be a coarse paste and not a smooth paste. Remove the ground paste to a bowl reserving about 2 tablespoons ( roughly a handful) of it back in the blender. The reserved batter will be blended with water to use for thickening the gravy later.
  2. Take a marble sized ball from the vada batter. Flatten it and place it on a steamer rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Steam for 12 minutes. Set aside.
  3. For the curry, heat a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onions till it’s pink. Add the ginger garlic paste and mix it in. Add the tomatoes and all the spice powders and salt. Mix everything well and let it cook until the tomatoes are really mushy and almost like a paste. You can add a little water whenever it looks dry or if the curry starts sticking to the pan.
  4. At this point, add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  5. Break each vada into smaller pieces, roughly 3-4 pieces per vada. Add the broken vada to the gravy. If the curry is dry, add more water. You are looking for a chili like consistency.
  6. To the reserved vada batter, add 1/4 cup water and grind to a very smooth paste. Add this to the gravy and bring it to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds if preferred. Taste test again and adjust seasonings if necessary. Take off the heat and serve with idli or dosa or even roti.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

Uthappam

It was casual meeting with some of my husband’s school friends. As always, I was dressed in a very old comfortable cotton dress. And I had to run some errands before going out, so my dress was totally crumpled. My husband dress was equally casual – an old t-shirt and a worn out knee length trousers.

The only thing was that my husband forgot that the  ‘casual meeting’ was happening at one of the biggest marriage halls in the city. They were meeting at a common friend’s wedding!

So, there we were – in one of the most posh weddings I have seen so far. Dazzling display of jewels and costly sarees all around. And we were dressed in rags!

I didn’t know anyone there, so my sole concentration was on food. The spread was amazing, taste was excellent and everything was made with pure ghee and butter. I made friends with an equally ‘lost looking’ girl, as I went along the buffet table. With a full stomach, I came back home.

After such a big feast, I couldn’t face a bowl of corn flakes the next morning. So had a mini feast of uthappams  with different toppings.

Ingredients:

  • Dosa batter
  • Oil
  • Toppings
  • Onion   , chopped
  • Tomato, chopped
  • Carrot , grated
  • Raisins, 5-10
  • Chilies, 1-2
  • Peas   , 4-5

Method:

  1. Keep the choice of toppings ready.
  2. Heat a pan/tawa. Add a spoon of oil and spread around the tawa.
  3. Take a ladle of dosa batter and spread it into a small round circle.
  4. Add the choice of toppings. Drizzle a tsp of oil around the uthappam.
  5. When bubbles appear and the bottom is slightly brown and the top portion is not ‘wet’ any more, flip over and cook the top side.
  6. When both the sides are cooked, serve hot with coconut/tomato chutney and sambar.
  7. I have made carrot and raisins uthappam, onion and green chilies uthappam, onion -tomato uthappam and onion tomato carrot peas uthappams here.

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Kuzhi Paniyaram

Kiddo spent the first one and a half years of his life teaching me baby language. I learnt ‘Goo goo’, ‘Gaa gaa’ and ‘Hee hee hee’ from him. Then I graduated to learn more difficult words like ‘Awwa Mee mee’, ‘Bhuga buga buga’, ‘tatanga’ and ‘Mammam mammam’.

By the time he was two, we were conversing easily in his language. He didn’t share the same enthusiasm in learning my language though. So googoo-s and gaga-s it was, for a long time.

I used to wonder whether the hours of reading to him was any useful or whether he was just a slow learner wrto languages. My doubt was clarified when we were shopping in the supermarket and he came across strawberries. They weren’t fresh, so I took him to another aisle.

Kiddo, who was two years old then, kept pointing frantically in the direction of strawberries and I kept ignoring the request. He finally blurred out ‘Stabedy Stabedy’. My surprise, my wonder and my happiness knew no bounds. So kiddo could talk, when he wanted to!

I had bugged my MIL to make these kuzhi paniyarams as a tea time snack this weekend. So when I took the camera out,  kiddo started scribbling frantically in his note pad and wanted that to be a part of the picture. The way he was scribbling, as if it is the most urgent thing in the world, reminded me of the way he was pointing at those strawberries when he was two.

Enjoy these paniyarams while I am enjoying the little happy moments of life :)

Train, rain, people and ponds!

Ingredients:

Special Utensils : Paniyaram Chatti

  • Dosa Batter           :        1 cup
  • Coconut grated   :        1/4 cup
  • Onion                      :         1 small, chopped fine (optional)
  • Ginger                     :         1/2″ piece, grated (optional)
  • Green Chilies       :         1 – 2, sliced
  • Oil, for deep frying
Tempering
  • Mustard seeds            :   1 tsp
  • Urad dal                        :   1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves                :   4-5
  • Oil                                     :  1 tsp

Method:

  1. Chop the onions, chilies. Grate ginger. Add this and the grated coconut to the dosa batter.
  2. Heat one tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Once it splutters, add it to the dosa batter and mix well until everything is combined.
  3. Heat oil in a paniyaram pan and add about two tablespoons of batter into each pit.
  4. Turn over with a skewer or fork and cook until golden.
  5. Take off the pan and drain on a kitchen towel. Continue making paniyarams with the rest of the batter.
  6. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

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Banana Pancakes

I can multitask.

I can cook and click.

I can cook, click and feed.

I can cook, click, feed and talk over the phone.

But I cannot cook, click, feed, talk over the phone AND fight at the same time.

So our breakfast this morning, whole wheat banana pancakes, is going back to the dining table where a hungry hubby and a grumpy kiddo are waiting anxiously.

Enjoy the virtual treat.

Adapted from : All recipes

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour     :         1/2 cup
  • Baking Powder            :         1 tsp
  • Sugar                               :         1 tbsp
  • Egg                                   :         1
  • Milk                                 :         1/2 cup
  • Banana                           :         1, mashed
  • Oil                                     :         1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Whisk.
  2. Combine mashed bananas, milk, egg and oil. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. The batter was slightly watery, so I added about 1 tbsp of flour to it.
  4. Heat a frying pan/tawa  and add 1/4 cup of the batter.
  5. When bubbles start appearing and the batter starts getting dry, flip over and cook.
  6. Top with caramelized bananas and serve hot.
  7. Makes 5 pancakes.

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