Masala Vadai/ Paruppu Vadai-Deep Fried Lentil Patties

Today is a cold snowy day. Coming back from work driving in the snow makes me want to sit near the fireplace eating some vadas or pakodas. Here is a recipe for masala vada. They hit all the right spots – hot, deep fried, spicy and crispy! Have it with a cup of tea or coffee or any drink of your choice.

Masala vadai/Vada is a popular (and one of my favourite) snack from South India. It is another easy to make snack is a great potluck food or an appetizer. You could serve this with coconut chutney or coriander chutney or eat it by itself.

Masala vadai brings back memories of traveling in a train anywhere in the South, where hawkers come selling hot vadais at every station. The smell of the vadai reaches you even before you can see the hawker, serving you the vadas on newspaper. These made long train journeys fun, eating different hot deep fried snacks depending on the region and station, every station famous for certain snacks. When I moved to Sweden, we would eat falafels which were the closest we could get to masala vadais.

Try it and let me know what you think. This recipe makes around 15 vadais.

Ingredients:

1 cup channa dal

1 red chilli

1-2 green chilli

1-inch ginger

2 onions, chopped finely

8 – 10 curry leaves

2 tbsp chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves

salt to taste

oil for frying

Directions:

Wash and rinse channa dal

Soak in water for 2 hours (to hasten the process soak in hot water for an hour)

Drain and set aside 2 tbsp channa dal

Grind the rest of the dal coarsely, with chillies, ginger and curry leaves.

Transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the channa dal, onions, cilantro and salt and mix well.

Heat oil.

Flatten a ball of the mixture, and slide it into the hot oil. Fry them for a few minutes till it is golden brown, then turn around and fry.

Once golden and crisp, remove with slotted spoon and remove excess oil on a paper towel.

Serve with chutney or by itself.

Raji Chitti’s Special Carrot Chutney

Here is another repost from 2 years ago. Enjoy!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my chitti (aunt) to give me some of her favorite recipes. I was expecting a traditional recipe but she sent me a carrot chutney recipe instead – very different. When I made it, it was really good and easy to make – just the right amount of spice, sweet and sourness. I served it with dosa, but this chutney will surely go well with rotis, idlis or even as a sandwich spread.

I love the way she sent me the recipe.

 Ingredients: 

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  • 2 grated carrots (3/4 cup)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 10 -12 shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped coconut
  • 2-3 green chillies (depending on the spice level you want)
  • 1- 2 tsp coriander leaves/ cilantro – optional
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

To temper:

  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp oil

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add shallots and fry. Add the rest of the ingredients and fry well till tomatoes are well cooked.
  • Grind the above ingredients.
  • In the same pan add oil for tempering and add the tempering ingredients. When the mustard splutters, add to the chutney and serve.

Try it, it is really good!

Chatpata Chutneys

I am reposting this post from last year. Enjoy!

If you ask an Indian what their favourite chutney is, one will get multiple different answers. For me, it depends on what I am eating it with. With idli and sevai, it has to coconut chutney, with adai it is onion chutney, with sandwiches it would be a mint chutney, with flatbreads a sour and spicy chutney and so the list goes. Every family has their own versions of the chutney. I have already posted carrot chutney and spinach chutney. Here are a few more recipes. These chutneys can be served as an accompaniment or a side, a spread on bread or as a dip. It is easy and quick to whip up on short notice. (Chatpata means piquant or zesty.)

Peanut Chutney

Peanut or groundnut chutney is common in some parts of India, especially in Andhra Pradesh. It is almost like savory peanut butter with hints of onion, garlic, and coconut.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp channa dal
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste (you can substitute with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 3-4 red chillies (increase to 6 if you want it extra spicy)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

To Temper

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 4-5 curry leaves

Directions

  • In pan roast peanuts (or use roasted peanuts). Keep aside
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add channa dal and chillies. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and saute till golden brown.
  • Add all ingredients (other than tempering ingredients) into a blender and grind. Add water. Grind till smooth.
  • In a pan, heat oil for tempering. Add ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard splutters, pour on the chutney and serve.
  • Tempering brings out the flavor of spices and the dish ‘pops’. If you do not have certain ingredients, adding just mustard is fine too.

Onion Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp channa dal
  • 2-4 red chillies (depending on the level of spice required)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • To temper – 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch asafoetida

Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add channa dal, red chillies and fry for a minute.
  • Add onions and saute till golden brown.
  • Add tomatoes and saute till cooked well.
  • Grind with a few tablespoons of water.
  • In a pan, add oil and add ingredients for tempering.
  • Once the mustard starts spluttering, pour over chutney and mix.

Coconut Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh coconut (chopped or grated)
  • 1-3 green chillies (depending on the spice level you would like)
  • 1/4 cup roasted channa dal
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • To temper – 1 tsp oil, 1 red chilli, 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch asafoetida

Directions

  • In a blender, grind all the ingredients except the tempering ingredients
  • Heat oil in pan, add rest of ingredients for tempering
  • Once the mustard starts spluttering, pour over chutney and mix.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Toast

One day, while I was grocery shopping, I saw a box of sweet potato slices in the frozen section. I decided to try it at home. It is easy to make, healthy and for those who are on a low carb keto diet, whole 30, have gluten or dairy allergy or just want to eat less carbs, this is great. I had just made sundried tomato pesto and used that as a spread. I also added avocado on that and made my version of avocado toast, which is the ‘in’ thing to eat. My son commented that I was eating like the millenials. I had some baingan bharta which I used as a spread too. Top it whatever catches your fancy.

Ingredients

  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC)
  • Slice sweet potato , 1/4 inch thick
  • Place on a pan in one layer
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Bake for 15 to 20 mins
  • If you do not have an oven- parboil teh sweet potato, slice and pan fry with a little oil.
  • Top with whatever you want and have it as breakfast, snack or as dinner.

My Mom’s Tomato Thokku/ Chutney

My mom is a wonderful, gutsy, amazing woman. Some of my first memories of her was playing volleyball with her students, her saree tucked up. She was the first person in her village to go to college. She is a sportswoman who was a sports teacher at a college in Bangalore. She treated her students like her kids; sometimes making me jealous. She was hard working and passionate about her profession. I must have imbibed that from her. She has slowed down with age, but she is still that gusty woman. I don’t think I have ever told her this, but I am so proud of her and look up to her!

My mom

My mom never cared about cooking much; maybe with her busy schedule. However, there were certain dishes that she made superbly. There were some dishes which are not common, some of them are from Coorg, others she picked up on the way. Today is her birthday and thought I would put up one of her recipes in her honor. Happy birthday, Mummy!

My mom made a lot of chutneys. One of her favourite was coriander chutney. She also made a mint chutney to go with sandwiches. I remember her making mint chutney sandwiches to take for her students when they went for day long athletic events. This is another chutney my mom makes. It does take time to make but it stays for at least a month in the fridge. The ingredients are few, but it packs a punch. It goes really well in sandwiches, idli, dosas and methi roti/theplas. I used heirloom tomatoes for this. But any tomatoes will work, preferably meaty ones.

Ingredients

  • 3 kg ( approx 6 pounds) tomatoes, (try to get meaty tomatoes)
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 10-12 dry red chillies (or fewer if you do not want it spicy)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp oil

Directions

  • Cut tomatoes in pieces. Sprinkle salt and let it sit in the fridge for a day
  • Drain the tomatoes in the colander and let it sit
  • Squeeze the juices out of the tomatoes
  • Spread it on a pan
  • Preheat oven to 200F (approx 100C)
  • Place tomatoes in oven for about an hour till it dries out. (My mom dries it in the sun)
  • Cool
  • Grind the tomatoes with garlic, asafoetida and red chillis
  • Heat oil. Add tomato mixture and fry on a low flame
  • Cook for about 30 mins and keep mixing
  • Cool and store in an air tight container
  • Stores for at least a month, if it lasts that long