Sunday, January 11, 2015

Medhu Vadai with onions and green chilies

Since we only had a few people going on our ski trip, I wanted to make Masala Dosais for dinner one night.  Masala dosais are difficult to make for a big crowd, because you have to make dosais one or two at a time and there tends to be a queue of people waiting for their dosai.

I also wanted to make vadais to go with the dosais.  The biggest fan of South Indian food in our group is my friend, Sanjay.  Sanjay is Maharashtrian, but grew up in Hyderabad, and loves South Indian food.  So anytime I invite him, I try and make something from Tamil Nadu for him.  I was debating between making medhu vadais and masala vadais.  So I asked him and  he promptly chose medhu vadais.  Since I normally serve my medhu vadais with rasam, I decided to switch it up a little bit.  I made them with onions and green chilies, and served it with sambar and coconut chutney instead.

Medhu Vada

I made the sambar and dosai batter at home.  I also made the vadais at home and warmed them up in the oven before serving them.  I made the masala for the dosai and the chutney up in the mountains.  I think it turned out to be a great meal!  The little bit of batter I had left, we made into uttappams the next day

Here is what you need:

(to make about 24 - 25 vadais)

  • 2 cups whole urad dal without skin
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. jeera
  • 2 tsp. whole black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 green chilies, chopped
  • few curry leaves, chopped
  • oil for deep frying



Here is how I made it:

  1. Wash and soak the urad dal for a couple of hours.
  2. Grind to a smooth paste without adding too much water.  I probably add a quarter cup of water to make the batter.  Since you are adding onions, make it really thick, because the onions tend to release some water.
  3. Heat oil for deep-frying.  Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium so that the vadais cook evenly.
  4. Add the salt, jeera, pepper, onions, green chilies, and curry leaves.  Mix well.
  5. Keep a bowl of water next to you. 
  6. I use a sandwich- size ziplog bag to shape the vadais. Wet your hand as well as the ziploc bag.
  7. Take some batter (about the size of a big lime) in you hand and put it on the Ziploc bag. 
  8. Shape it like a donut with a hole in the middle.
  9. Drop this gently into the hot oil.  You can fry a few vadais at a time.  Turn the vadais over gently a couple of times till they turn golden brown.
  10. Drain them on some paper towels.

Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cooking from another blog: Quinoa Dhokla

I love quinoa.  That would explain why I have so much of it in my pantry.  I make quinoa salad, quinoa dosa, quinoa idli, add it to soups, salads etc.  I also keep buying it without realizing that I have several unopened packets in my pantry.

So, when I saw this post for quinoa dhokla, I was really excited to try it out.  I don’t know Ruchi, but my husband’s cousin knows her well and I have been following her recipes for a while.

I also love dhoklas.  My first introduction to dhokla was when I was a kid.  You have to understand that growing up in Chennai in the 70's and 80's, you really are not exposed to other cuisines.  My dad was stationed in Ahmedabad for a few years.  We used to visit him for summer vacations.  His friends would invite us for dinner.

My dad was pretty set in his ways.  He did not like anything other than South Indian cuisine – that too cooked by my mom.  If we went to a wedding, my mom would have to make food for him at home because he did not like to eat food prepared by bare-chested men in dirty dhotis. 

He also did not like sweet and salty flavors mixed together.  Most Gujrati food has both sweet and salty flavors blended together and he just could not eat it.  So for the longest time, he would refuse dinner invitations because he wouldn’t eat the food, but finally, my mom put her foot down and we got to taste some amazing food!  I tasted dhoklas, dal vadas, theplas, and a huge variety of pickles on these trips.

This recipe for quinoa dhokla was perfect.  I have made it a couple of times now, once for a party, and everyone loved it! Thanks Ruchi – for a great recipe!  The only change I made to the recipe was to reduce the amount of sugar (I am my daddy’s daughter after all), and I also did not add any citric acid – because I did not have any.  I also added hing and cumin seeds to my seasoning.

Here is the link to the originalrecipe.  I have reproduced it here for easy reference.

Here is what you need:

  • ½ cup moong dal
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 -3 green chilies
  • ½” piece ginger
  • ½ cup sour yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of sugar
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. Eno fruit salt
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 – 3 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. hing
  • 2 -3 green chilies, slit
  • few curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • juice of one lemon/lime

Here is how I made it:

  1. Soak the moong dal and quinoa together for a couple of hours.  Drain.
  2. Grind this along with the green chilies, ginger, and yogurt to a smooth paste, adding some water if necessary.  Don’t make this batter too watery.  It should be the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Add salt, sugar, and turmeric.
  4. Just before you are ready to steam it, add Eno and mix well. 
  5. Spray your dhokla plates with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter onto the dhokla plates and steam in a pressure cooker/vessel for about 15 minutes.
  7. To prepare the seasoning, heat oil in a small pan.  Add mustard and cumin seeds.
  8. When mustard seeds sputter, add hing, green chilies and curry leaves.
  9. When the green chilies are slightly seared, add ¼ cup of water (carefully – so that it doesn’t splatter), add the sugar.  When it is warmed, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
  10. Pour this over the dhoklas.  Let the seasoning soak in and then cut the dhokla into pieces.

Serve with spicy chutney of your choice.

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