Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian

Salt Cheedai / Uppu Cheedai – Deep Fried Savory Balls

Seedai / Cheedai is made during Gokulashtami as a Naivedyam to Lord Krishna. Apart from festival celebrations, it is associated with a lot of fond memories for me. It is one of my favorite savory items. Hard yet crunchy, peppery along with the taste of cumin seed and a hint of hing and coconut. Well worth the effort. Amma often makes it at home. Since it is time consuming to shape the cheedai into balls, she always makes it when all of us are available to help. Even grandma used to join. But today I made this all by myself and it was not tough at all to make cheedai with two cups of rice flour. I could manage time very well by simultaneously frying as well as rolling the dough.

Although cheedai is easy to make, it is also slightly tricky because if you do not do things the right way, the chances are more that you will not get it right or something might go seriously wrong, for example, cheedai bursting inside the hot oil and causing oil splash. For this reason, one needs to be really careful while attempting to make this.

Ingredients:
Raw rice flour – 1 cup
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black peppercorns – 6-8
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 2 tsp
Asafetida powder – 1/4 tsp
Oil (for frying) – 300-400 ml
Salt as needed
Water as needed

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins (7 mins per batch)
Yield 300 gm Cheedai

Method:
Dry roast the raw rice flour until the raw smell of the rice goes away and you get a nice roasted aroma.
Remove from fire and sieve to ensure that the powder is fine and no lumps are present.
Dry roast the urad dal until the dal turns pink. Remove from fire and pulse in a mixer to a fine powder.
Sieve the urad dal flour twice to ensure that you take only the fine powder and you discard the coarse powders.
Grind the grated coconut along with the jeera and black peppercorns to make a coarse paste. You may add small quantities of water.
Mix a tablespoon of sieved, finely powdered urad dal flour along with the sieved rice flour. Add the ground coconut, cumin, and pepper paste into the flours, add sesame seeds, asafetida powder, salt, and butter. Use your fingers to mix the flour and powders well.
Add small quantities of water to make a dough. The dough should be soft and firm but not loose.
Take a small portion of the dough, place this dough on your left hand and use the long three fingers on the right hand to roll the dough into tiny marble-sized balls. Place them on a paper. It is recommended that you allow this to dry a bit before you deep fry them.
Heat oil in an iron kadai.
Once the oil is hot, gently and carefully drop a batch of the marble-sized dough balls into the oil. Retain the fire in medium in the beginning for at least 2 mins. You will notice a lot of bubbles during this time. When the bubbles reduce, lower the fire and stir occasionally until the balls change color to golden brown. Use a strainer ladle to remove the cheedai from the oil. Place on an absorbent paper to absorb excess oil.
Store in an air tight container once it cools down.

Notes:
1. Sieve the flour at least twice to ensure that the rice flour and urad dal flour used is finely powdered. This will ensure there are no accidental oil splashes while frying the cheedai.
2. Although it is recommended that the rolled cheedai balls should dry off a bit before they are deep fried, you need not roll the entire dough into balls and then start the frying process. You may roll enough for 2-3 batches, start frying batch by batch and as you are frying, you may roll new batches of cheedai.
3. Use a thick bottomed iron kadai for frying to ensure uniform heating.
4. While deep frying, maintain the flame first in medium and then in low stirring occasionally.
5. Following the proportions and instructions properly is key to getting this right.

Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Tiffin, Vegan

Ada Dosa with Drumstick Leaves

Ada dosaAda dosa is a popular traditional morning breakfast or evening tiffin in Kerala Iyer households. It is a thick dosa made of coarsely ground parboiled rice and lentils. It is a balanced food consisting both carbs and protein and after having a couple of adais, your stomach feels very full for at least 3 hours. Adai is a family favorite and we make two variations. One is with rice and multiple dals and the other one with rice and chana dal and drumstick leaves/methi leaves mixed in the batter. This is a very good way of including greens in your diet. Earlier I had shared a soft and instant dosa with drumstick leaves made of raw rice. Check it out here.

Moringa leavesIngredients:
Parboiled rice/idly rice – 2 cups
Chana dal – 1/4 cup
Shallots/asafetida(hing) – a handful of shallots or 1/2 tsp hing
Dry red chilies – 6-8
Water – just enough to grind to medium consistency
Salt to taste

Drumstick leaves – 1 cup tightly packed
OR
Methi leaves – 1 cup washed and chopped

For Dosa:
Sesame oil/groundnut oil – 1 tsp per adai

Preparation time:
Soaking: 3-4 hours
Grinding: 10 mins
Cooking time: 3 mins/dosa

Method:
Wash and soak the rice, chana dal, and dry red chillies together for 3-4 hours. Grind the soaked ingredients along with handful of shallots (or 1/2 tsp asafetida) coarsely. Since only coarse grinding is necessary, you may use a mixer to grind in batches. Add necessary amounts of water to grind the batter to a medium consistency. Do not make it too loose. Add salt and drumstick leaves/chopped methi leaves to the batter. Mix well.

Batter consistency should be thicker than the dosa batter. Ada dosai batter does not require fermentation.

Heat an iron griddle. Use a cotton cloth to grease the griddle with sesame oil.

Ada dosaWhen the griddle is hot, spread a ladleful of batter and spread around to make a thick dosa. My grandmother never used to a ladle to spread adai. She would use her hand to spread the batter around.

Drizzle oil around the adai batter and in the middle. Do not economize on oil. Since this is a thick dosa, a good amount of oil is needed so that the batter gets cooked properly. Cook in medium heat.

When the sides start getting brown, turn over and cook the other side. Cook until both sides turn crisp.

Remove from tava and serve hot. Since this is a spicy dosa, it does not need chutney. It is traditionally served with unsalted white butter or jaggery.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Side Dishes

Onion Tomato Subzi

When you have to make roti subzi for just one person, what subzi do you make? Here is a simple one with very few ingredients that you can prepare in 5-7 minutes.

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Ingredients:
Onion (medium) – 1
Tomato (medium) – 1
Garlic – 1 pod (optional)
Hing/asafetida – a pinch
Turmeric – a pinch
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp (optional)
Coriander leaves – 1-2 (optional)

Method:
Peel the garlic and onion. Chop garlic, onion, and tomato into small pieces. Pour oil into an iron wok. Crackle mustard seeds. Add chopped garlic. When they turn brown, add chopped onion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, and hing powder. Add chopped tomato. Saute for 2 more minutes. Add salt and turn off. Add grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves if preferred. Serve with roti.

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Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Sprouted Mung Bean Dosa (Pesarattu) and Coconut Chutney

A nutritious kick start for the day leaves you feeling good the entire day. Pesarattu or sprouted mung bean dosa is an Andhra native. I had never tried this dosa though I had seen it on restaurant menus. My sister-in-law, a girl born and brought up in Karnataka, was recovering from a bad bout of fever for which she was on antibiotics and steroids. When I asked her what special care she took to regain good health, she told me about the mung dosa she makes. Usually pesarattu is made of soaked mung bean. She makes it with sprouted mung and adds peanuts too while grinding the batter. I tried her version of pesarattu today and I loved it. So here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
For grinding:
Mung bean (green gram/cheru payar) – 2 cups
Raw rice – 1/2 cup
Onion (medium size) – 1 (optional)
Ginger – 1/2 inch
Coriander leaves – 5-7 stalks
Hing – 1/2 tsp
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Green chilies – 3-4
Salt – as needed
Water – as needed

For cooking:
Oil – 1 tbsp

Method:
Ingredients

Wash and soak the mung bean in water for 8 hours or overnight. After 8 hours, drain the water and keep the wet mung beans in the same vessel for the next 24 hours. You will see sprouts coming out within 12 hours. You can keep it longer (24 hours) to get longer sprouts.

Soak raw rice in water for 3-4 hours. Grind sprouted mung bean and soaked raw rice along with onion, ginger, coriander leaves, hing, jeera, green chillies, and salt to make a fine paste. Add sufficient water to the batter. Do not make it too loose. This is an instant dosa batter and does not need fermentation.

making pesarattuHeat a griddle and spread a ladle full of batter on the griddle. Maintain medium heat. Drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil on the spread batter/dosa. When the sides of the dosa start turning brown (less than a minute), gently flip over the dosa using a spatula. Cook for less than a minute. Flip over to check if the dosa has become golden brown. Serve with chutney/sambar or milaga podi/gun powder. If you prefer a topping for this dosa, after you spread the dosa, you can sprinkle finely chopped onion and coriander or even cheese. Gently spread and press the onion and coriander pieces to the dosa using a spatula. Be careful when you flip the dosa over so that these pieces do not fall off. If you are adding cheese, add shredded cheese to the dosa only after it is full cooked, just before you take it off the griddle.

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You can refrigerate this dosa batter for 3-4 days.

I made coconut chutney spiced with green chilies and ginger to go along with this dosa.

Ingredients:

Grated coconut – 1/2 of a medium-sized coconut
Green chilies – 3
Ginger – 1/4 inch
Coriander leaves – 5-6 stalks
Water – as needed
Salt – as needed

Method:
green coconut chutneyWash the green chilies, coriander leaves, and ginger. Be careful about the amount of ginger you use. Ginger can make the chutney fiery. I am not a ginger fan. So I usually use just enough to get a hint of ginger. If you like to use more ginger, use less of green chilies. Grind all the ingredients using sufficient water. I did not do a tadka for this chutney, but if you prefer a tadka, you can heat mustard seeds and urad dal in some oil. When the mustard seeds splutter and the urad dal turns red, add curry leaves to the oil and mix well with the chutney.

mung dosa served with green coconut chutney

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Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin

Killu Kondattam (Rice Crisp Fries)

Coming up with good translations of traditional South Indian dishes is a huge challenge for me. The closest I can think of is Sun Dried Rice Crisp Fries. But that’s such a long name!

Killu vadaam served with curd rice

Kondattams (or Vadaam as some call it – the Va is pronounced briefly and the daaam is slightly longer) are made from gooey mixtures prepared by grinding rice (or some other grains) along with spices and passing the dough through a seva nazhi (a kind of press or extruder). These are then sun dried and fried before use. Some of them are made from cut vegetables boiled in salt water and then sun dried. Both versions taste very good and have long shelf life.

The other day the rice I made got overcooked and had too much kanji which refused to budge even after several attempts at draining it out. Newly harvested rice most often pose this problem. So I decided to make killu kondattam out of this rice. Add some chilly powder, salt, and asafetida to the overcooked rice and grind into a smooth paste in the mixer and that’s your dough for the killu kondattams. I am unable to come up with a proportion for this. It’s really is a matter of your taste.

Killu kondattam, as the name suggests, are made by scooping up a small portion of the dough in your hand and letting small round dollops of dough fall through on to a cotton cloth or a thick and clean plastic sheet.

Dollops left to dry in the sun

This is then sun dried until it hardens and there is no moisture left. These stay good for years and can be fried as and when required. Excellent accompaniment for rice, especially flavored rices such as tomato rice, lemon rice, or curd rice. Kondattam comes handy when you are too lazy to make a side dish (subzi accompaniment for rice). They are crispy and yummy. Try it out. You just cant stop at one.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, Side Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

Green Tomato Pickle

Green tomatoes, fenugreek, and chilly powder?

ingredients
They combine to create something that will leave you drooling and smacking your lips!

Green Tomato pickle

My friend Anjana brought this green tomato pickle to office. Thus began the green tomato movement. Now I am a green tomato pickle propagator!

I leave it to my friend to explain how this can be made in the best possible way. Watch this space. She will be sharing her secret recipe.

Green Tomato Pickle Recipe
The green tomato pickle is a personal favorite. To call it a pickle is actually a mistake, considering that I eat it like a chutney (which is in unimaginably huge quantities).

This is a versatile pickle / chutney. It can be had with idli/dosa, chapati, parathas, upma, rice, and even bread. Two slices of bread with a slice of cheese and this pickle in between must be tried at least once.

It’s actually really simple and hardly takes any time. As a random and irregular cook, I am very bad with the proportions. But my mother, who is a non-random and measured person (pun intended), has helped with the proportions and the method here. She makes the tastiest green tomato pickle that I have ever had.

Roasted FenugreekIngredients:
Green raw tomatoes – 250 gm
Roasted fenugreek seeds powdered (uluva, venthayam, methi) – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder (spicy variety) – 3/4-1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (kayam, hing) – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sesame Oil (nallenna, til oil)- 1 tbsp

Method:
grind fenugreekDry roast the methi seeds in a pan and powder it. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let it crackle. Add a little asafoetida. To this, add the chopped raw tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, and let it cook. After about five minutes, when the tomatoes cook (show signs of peeling), add the red chilly powder, roasted methi powder, and the remaining asafoetida.

After about 10 more minutes of cooking, its ready to eat. Tastes best when rested for a couple of hours because it takes some time for the flavors to blend and soak in.

Most pickles that are made during the yearly mango or gooseberry season are shelved in a cool, dry, dark place and untouched for months before they taste their best and are ready for consumption. But some pickles (especially the ones made during Malayali weddings and special occasions are made just the day before). This is one of those ready-to-eat kinds. It does not have a very long shelf life – lasts a week at the most. Hope you like it!

– Contributed by Anjana Nagabhushana

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Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Indian, Kerala Recipes, Vegan

Kerala Style Chammanthi Podi (Dry Coconut Chutney)

Spicy, roasted coconut chutney powder that tastes great with rice. Contains no oil. This is different from the chutney powder that is eaten with idli and dosa.

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Ingredients:
Urad dal (without skin) – 300 gm
Raw rice* – 2 tsp
Coconut (greated) – 1 medium-sized coconut
Asafetida (powder/chunks) – 1 tsp
Dry red chilies – 20 (adjust to taste)
Tamarind – a lemon-sized ball
Black peppercorns* – 1 tsp
Salt – As required

* In case any of these ingredients are unavailable, check the alternate ingredients section for other options.

Alternatives:
Peppercorns and rice are optional. Those who do not prefer pepper can use red chilies alone.

Preparation Time: 10min.
Cooking Time: 40min.

Method:

Heat up a pan (preferably iron). Add the urad dal and raw rice. Dry roast these two ingredients until golden brown. Constant stirring is required. Add the red chilies, black peppercorns, and the asafetida powder towards the end. If you are using asafetida chunks, you may need to add it around 5 minutes beforehand. Turn off the fire when the urad dal and rice turn golden brown. Remove the ingredients from the pan and spread on a plate to cool the ingredients.

Place the pan on fire again and roast the grated coconut until golden brown. This is to remove all moisture content and improve the shelf life of the podi. Turn off the fire and empty the roasted coconut on to the plate along with the other ingredients. Put the tamarind into the pan while the pan is still hot. Do not light the fire. This will help to remove the moisture content in the tamarind.

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After the ingredients have cooled, grind the roasted ingredients well along with salt. Empty the ingredients onto a plate and let it cool. Taste and adjust the salt and chilly if required. Make sure that you roast the red chilies before you add it to the podi. Store the podi in a dry bottle.

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List of accompaniments:
Enhances the taste of rice. This is like a dry pickle. Its granular texture adds punch to your lunch. This podi has a shelf life of around a month and is a good gift for those special loved ones.

Trivia:
Constant stirring is required while you are roasting the ingredients. You cannot afford to answer phone calls/doorbells while you are at it 🙂

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