Kabab Vadai

This idea was conceived after a lot of thought to avoid deep frying coz Ad kept insisting that she cannot use so much of oil and let it go a waste. She   wondered if vadais can be baked but it would not have really tasted like vadai. Also she was looking at masala vadai.

It then occurred to me that as a child I used to enjoy looking (gaping) at the tikkis being shallow fried in the market and the lovely aroma spreading for miles. I thought why not?!!

I realized I could keep her happy and also ensure that the taste is still that of authentic vadai. Turned out pretty decent and also got to be “healthy” snack 🙂

Chana dal ½  Cup (Two handfuls)

Arahar dal ½  Cup (Two handfuls)  Cup (Two handfuls)

Green chilies 3 (medium-sized)

Ginger 1″ piece (grated)

Curry leaves 3 sprigs

Cilantro leaves 3 tsp

Finely shredded cabbage  ½  Cup

Finely cut onion ½  Cup

Saunf (fennel) powder 1 tsp

Salt  1 tsp

Chili powder ½ tsp

Oil ½  Cup

Soak the two dals in a bowl for 45 minutes and drain off the water. In a blender cup transfer the chilies, curry leaves, ginger pieces, a small amount of dal and grind well till a paste is formed. Transfer the remaining dal and grind well to get a coarse mix (when a bit coarse the vadai will be crisp) and avoid adding extra water.

Transfer the mix to a bowl, and add the finely chopped onions, cabbage, cilantro, saunf powder, chilli powder, salt and mix well to get a smooth vadai mix. Take lemon-sized balls of the mix and flatten them in the palm to get circles of ½ cm thickness.

Heat about 4 spoons of oil in a frying pan and when the oil is hot enough place three or four pieces of flattened vadai and shallow fry o a medium flame till a golden color appears.  With a spatula turn the sides and let the other side also cook well. Remove with a slotted spatula to a dish and enjoy with coriander chutney or tomato sauce.

Pudina Thogaiyal

Although I categorize this as chutney I prefer to call this “thogaiyal” as it is meant to be a mix for rice and not a side dish.

2 cups of fresh mint leaves (clean and wash them in plenty of water)

1medium-sized onion (cut to any size but not too big)

Small lemon sized ball of tamarind (soaked in just enough water)

5 red chillies

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt (or to your taste)

2 tbsp chana dal

1 tbsp urad dal

1½ tbsp oil

Heat 1  tbsp oil in a wok and let the cumin seeds splutter. Transfer the tempered cumin to a bowl and in the same wok add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot add the onion and saute till color changes.

Transfer the onion to the mixie bowl and add the chilies and saute them on a low flame till the color changes and the aroma starts. Add the dals and roast till done.

Transfer the  roast to the  mixie bowl and on a very low flame stir the mint leaves till the aroma whiffs and switch off the flame. Let the mint remain in the wok for sometime.

add the tamarind scales also to the mixie bowl and grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste. If needed, add a spoon of water.  Add the mint leaves and salt and grind to a nice paste.

Transfer to the bowl containing tempered jeera and mix well.  Serve with rice.

Cook’s Note: In case you want to store the paste for a week or two, instead of sauteing the leaves in the heat of the wok, grind the green leaves with the remaining ingredients. make the mix a little thin.

Heat oil in a wok, splutter the jeera and and add the mint paste and saute well on a low flame for 5 minutes or longer (till the color changes to dark green) and the paste thickens. If the need be add a little more oil and saute till the past leaves the sides of the wok.  Store in a dry container.


Peas Pulao (4 servings)

2 cups Basmati rice
2 cups peas (shelled)
2 green chilies (slit)

1 tsp garlic (optional)

1 tsp ginger paste/grated
1  big onion, chopped
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves

2 cardamom pods
1 cm cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves
Salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (optional)

Soak the rice and drain to remove excess water and keep aside for 15 min.

Crush the condiments (cinnamon, clove, cardamom) and keep aside.

Heat the ghee in a kadai  on a medium flame and add the jeera. When it starts spluttering add t he garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add the crushed condiments, bay leaves and ginger and saute fir a minute. Add t he chopped onions and saute till translucent. Add the peas,  salt and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the rice to this pan and fry until the rice turns opaque/white (takes around 3 minutes).  Add 2 1/2 cups water  and cook until done in a cooker.

Let the rice cool a bit till the grains separate and garnish with coriander leaves.

Cook’s Note: In case you want to flavor the pulao with pudina add a teaspoon of mint paste along with the peas.

In case you want the pulao to taste rich add 1/2 a cup of coconut milk and only two cups of water.

Aloo Morkuzhambu (4 Servings)

Soured curds 1 cup

Grated coconut 4 tbsp

Green chilies  4 (medium)

Peppercorns 1 tsp (optional) [If pepper added two chilies shld suffice]

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Raw rice 1tbsp

Curry leaves 3 sprigs

Ginger 1″ piece

Mustard seed 1tsp

oil 1 tbsp

Boiled potatos 3 (medium)

Salt to taste (1tsp)

asafotida 1/4 tsp

Soak the rice and dal in a bowl in a small amount of water for 30 min.

Peel the potatos and cut them into 2″ pieces.

Add the following in the blender and and make a nice paste of the same: Jeera, chillies, curry leaves, soaked dal and rice, pepper corns, coconut, sliced pieces of ginger. Make a puree of curds, add to the ground masala and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard. When the seeds start spluttering add 1/3  cup or less water. Add the potato pieces and turmeric powder.  When the potato starts cooking add the ground masala paste in curds, rinse and add more water (depending on the thickness), add salt and asafotida and bring it boil on slow fire.

When the mix starts boiling switch off the flame and transfer to a bowl.

Cook’s note: You can add boiled pumpkin (white/yellow), okra, beans in place of potato for variations.