Adai – Thick lentil and rice crepes

Background:

Adai or Adai Dosai as K likes to call it is a staple in our home. Unlike Dosai that required using a grinder to make the batter and enough time to let it ferment, this crepe is made in half a day. Its healthier and provides ample scope for improvisation.

Stuff you will need:

(soaked for 3-4 hours)

1 cup par boiled rice.
1/3 cup whole urad
1/3 cup whole moong
1/3 cup mix of thuvar and channa dhal
1/3 cup beans like rajma (optional)

6 red chillies
4 green chillies
1/4 inch ginger (optional0
Curry leaves (optional0
Asafoetida 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Gingelly oil
1/4 coconut made into thin pieces

Method:

Grind all ingredients in a grinder with water to a medium fine texture. On a tawa add a few drops of gingelly oil and spread using tissue. Pour the batter and spread into a circle. Make a hole in the center and additional ones around it if necessary. Add drops of gingelly oil along the periphery and in the holes made and cook till crisp at edges. Turn over and cook till done. Remove and stack in a warm container.

Serve hot with aviyal, molagai podi or jaggery.

Notes:

Optionally one can add murunga keerai (drumstick leaves) or other greens in the batter before making adais. The texture of the batter has to be thicker than dosa batter.

Vegetable Subzi – Medley of vegetables simmered in a tomato base

Background:

This is K and I’s favorite sides for roti/chappathi. In its simplest form it is a mix of all possible vegetables simmered in a tomato base. Sometimes, I like to dress it up with grated panneer. With or without panneer, this is one dish that everybody who has tasted seems to like.

Stuff you will need:

(Chopped finely)

Cauliflower – split into florets
Potato – 2 small or 1 big chopped
Carrots – 2 small or 1 big chopped
Green peppers – 1 big – chopped
Green peas – 1 small cup
Corn – 1 small cup
Ginger – 1 inch cube chopped fine
Garlic – 2-3 pods chopped fine
Green chillies – 3 slit and halved
Onion – 1 big or 2 medium chopped fine
Tomatoes – 6-7 small or 5 big chopped fine
Fried panneer – 5-10 pieces (optional)
Coriander – 1/2 bunch chopped.

Oil + Ghee – 2 tbsp
Panch puran – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Hing – 1/2 tsp
Kitchen King Masala – 1 tsp
Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp

How to make it?

Heat oil in kadai. When hot, add panch puran. When it pops add kasoori methi, hing, turmeric, kitchen king masala, ginger, garlic and saute. Then add onions and saute till translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Mix and cook covered till oil separates. Add rest of veggies and water as needed and cover cooked till done well. Turn every once in a while. Add fried panneer at this stage and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Turn heat off and garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve hot with rotis.

Notes:

If you want to make it creamy, add cream/milk when cooking.

Kai Murukku – Crisp, buttery fried rice flour treat

Background:

Kai Muruku evokes memories of weddings in the family. This crispy rice treat is hard to make and the hallmark of a good tam-bram chef is his/her ability to handcraft these tasty morsels. I grew up watching Amma make Kai Murukku and Seedai for Krishna Jayanthi. In the recent past, I have relied on Grand Snacks to satisfy this craving. In the past month when visiting my sister Amma indulged her by making murukkus at home.

Stuff you will need:

Good quality rice soaked for a few hours, dried, ground and sieved to yield silky smooth flour. (I cup)
Urad dhal – roasted to a golden brown, ground, sieved to yield a smooth flour. (1 tbsp aka karandi)
Butter: 1 stick (1/4 lb)
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
Canola oil to fry.

How to make it?

Mix the rice flour, urad flour, jeera, asafoetida, salt and butter with just enough water to make a pliable dough. Taking a portion of the dough use index, ring fingers and thumb to twirl the muruku into shape as shown. Make about 10 murukkus on a clean sheet of paper or thin muslin cloth.

Heat oil in a shallow pan. When oil is hot enough, use a flat ladle (dosa thiruppi) to slide the muruku into hot oil. Murukkus can be fried in batches depending on size of pan. Turn every once in a while till the murukkus are slightly brown and drain and remove to a tissue lined container.

Stores well in a cool airtight container.

Notes:

Rice flour can be used in place of soaked, dried, ground rice. The quality differs obviously but it also takes out a chunk of the time consuming process. Making murukkus take time and practice. Do not skimp on butter or try replacing with ghee. This will not give the nice crispy texture to the murukku.

Puran Poli – A labor of love.

Background:

Puran poli is one of my all time favorite sweets. It is one of those dishes that are made occasionally when people visit or for festivals though nothing specific comes to mind. For me it is a labor of love. Mixing, measuring, grinding and patting it in shape. Amma pours her love into it when she does make it. With just over a week before she left for home, I made my request for polis and she obliged. As always. Like moms do.

Stuff you will need:

For the Puran (filling)
Channa dhal 1 cup – steamed till cooked but not mushy. Should crumble to touch.
Powdered jaggery or brown sugar – 1 cup
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Cardamom – 1 tsp

For the shell

Maida – 1 cup
Gingelly Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric – a pinch

How to make it?

Grind together the cooled, cooked, crumbled channa dhal, jaggery and coconut to a smooth paste. Mix powdered cardamom. Set aside. Make a dough of the maida with salt, turmeric and water. Add oil to make it a loose stretchy dough. This is important as it needs to be loose and stretchy to make the poli later. Set aside for a few hours.

When dough is rested, make equal parts of dough and the filling. On a flat surface, use a non stick sheet (vazha ilai or ziploc bag) and spread the dough to the size of a small puri. Place the puran ball on it.

Cover the ball with the dough.

Pat to make a flat circular poli.

Remove to hot tawa.

Cook on both sides with a couple of drops of ghee till crispy and browned.

Remove and cool on plate.

Serve hot or cold with a dollop of butter or ghee.

Makes 18 – 20 polis depending on size.

Special notes:

Do not skimp on oil when making dough. A tight dough will cause cracks in poli and will not allow for proper coverage. Puran made with brown sugar instead of jaggery tastes milder.