Monday, 28 October 2013

Ragi/Finger Millet Ladoos

Diwali is around the corner, already?
Well hailing from God's own country (where festivals are few), I really doubt  if I would have ever seen the extravagant celebration of Diwali if not for being in Chennai during my childhood.

It just feels like yesterday, that K got an idea on how to burst crackers and its that time of the year again. The crackers that year was just that for her experience. I remember being crazy for crackers as a kid, given the reason that, those days we stayed in apartments and ego and competition plays a big deal during festivals and celebrations. I have come a long way from then. I don't support bursting crackers anymore but K has developed liking towards it and I am sure time will tell her  why it isn't good.
Now that crackers have been ruled out, what next. Yup sweets, snacks and delicacy's and diyas's. That's the best I can do to bring in the festivity mood at home in a environment friendly way.

Ladoos are inevitably a necessity during festivals in India. Thanks to Chota Bheem, its become a popular sweet among kids too these days. I don't see it as a good trend though.

What if we could make these ladoos in a healthier way with nutrition and goodness loaded?

Ragi or Finger Millet definitely falls under this category. My love for this cereal has just begun. They taste good in cookies, porridge, cakes and halwa too. I am yet to taste/make Ragi mude which is a staple in Karnataka. Having tried Ragi/Finger Millet in cakes and cookies, I was tempted to try them as ladoos. Yeah, you read it right Ragi Ladoos.
That's exactly what I attempted a few days back and I am glad I just mad them. They were s(z)imply fantastic and who says ladoo making is difficult. You could put this entire dish in around 15 minutes.

AR who usually stays away from Ragi was more than glee to finish them off.

Look no further, for some guilt free ladoos.

Ragi/Finger Miller flour            - 200 gms
Peanut (whole/crushed )           - 50 gms
Jaggery Powdered (pure)         - 75 gms or as per your taste
Shredded Coconut                    - 75 to 100 gms
Milk                                          - 3 to 4 tsps
Cardamom crushed                   - 4/ 5 pods
Powdered Almonds                  - 10 to 20 gms / 3-4 tbsps

My way of making
1. Dry roast the Ragi  flour in a wok. This helps in removing any moisture in the flour and the raw taste.
2. Crush the peanuts and add them to the roasted Ragi flour.
3. To this add coconut, jaggery, cardamom powder and combine them well.
4.  Add few teaspoons of milk, one teaspoon at a time, to the mixture and check for the consistency. If you are able to make balls, you are at the right consistency else add some more and keep repeating till you can hold up the mixture to make stiff balls.
5. Roll each ball in powdered almonds when moist.

1. You could roast the flour in some ghee.
2. If you know that jaggery could have impurities its better to use strained jaggery syrup.
3. This keeps for a week if refrigerated.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Parippu Vada/ Dal Fritters

Weekends are usually when I make some elaborate snacks, breakfast or lunch. This weekend was no different except that,  I was in my kitchen after a 10 day break and settling in before the school reopened for the little one.

Figuring out what to make, I glanced upon the bottle of toor dal that mom had packed. A while since I made some vada I realized and since it was a rainy gloomy weather here at Bangalore, the only snack that could do justice was some parippu vada. I sent AR and K to fetch some channa dal the moment I decided to make these vadas. Such a blessing to have them in my life!

This common chaya kada palahaaram (snacks at any tea shop) from Kerala once ruled all households during evenings when children were back from school for snacks. The trend slowly disappeared with conscious eating and now is termed a junk food. That reminds me of mom, making them way back in the 80's and 90's whenever she could find some time.Nevertheless my love for these fritters would never cease how ever health conscious I tend to be. There's nothing that can replace them.

I am yet to try baking them and hence have kept apart some batter for the same.

Toor Dal                                - 100 gms
Channa Dal                            - 150 gms
Shallots finely sliced              - 10 to 15 nos
Ginger thinly sliced               -  3-4 tsps
Green chillies finely cut         - 3-4 (depending on spice level)
Curry Leaves crushed           - a sprig or two
Fennel Seeds                        - 2 tsps
Peppercorns crushed            - 3-4 tsps (depending on spice level)
Asafoetida                            - pinch
Salt                                       - as per taste
Oil                                        - to fry

My way of making
1. Wash, clean and soak the dals for about 2-3 hours.
2. Drain the water and dry them so that they are just enough moist.
3. Grind the Dals without water, if you are not very sure just pulse them together for about 4-5 times.
4. Combine together rest of the ingredients. This is how they should like when put together.
5. Make small balls of the mix and press them between the palms of your hand.
6. Heat a wok, pour in the oil and when the oil is hot, drop in the vadas one by one. Reduce the flame and turn them around when one side browns.
7. Drain them over paper towel.
8. Hot crispy fritters are ready to be served with tea.

1. I have used very very minimal oil even though it was deep fried, a trick that I learnt from my paternal grandmother.
2. You could use coconut oil as well for frying for the authentic flavour.
3. If baking, preheat oven to 180C and bake each side for about 15 mts or till they turn brown.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Shooting for CAL

That I did a video shoot for CAL is no secret, since the over excited me, broke the news on a social media site the very moment the shoot was over and quite a many of you were happy for me too.

This is how it all began: 

CAL on their FB  page, sometime in early July put up a post for requests on cooking traditional South Indian recipes in the comfort of ones own kitchen and let their people shoot the same. I without a second thought, responded to their post assuming that there would be quite a number of responses and I might just pass along. But destiny had other plans. 

I got a response back from the team and a few interactions later, we decided to shoot on July 19, 2013. 

I had decided four traditional dishes after consultation with senior ladies in my family. 
  • Kerala Chicken Stew
  • Mambazha Pullisery
  • Unniappam
  • Ella Ada
Moments before the shoot, things were casual and usual. All that I had to do was assure and recheck the list of ingredients for all the dishes that I was to prepare were kept handy. The clock struck 10  and things were not the same anymore.

In came the team, and emotions were bubbling up. Not sure if I could pull this through good enough, I was visibly shaken. The turmoil with-in had begun and the only solace was Arun's presence and the mere thought that I was about to shoot in my own  abode was a bigger relief. 

And after a full days shoot from 10 AM to 3 PM, we were done with three dishes. The shorter I keep the detail, the better.

I just could not go ahead with the fourth dish, thanks to my nagging ACL issues.

So if you would want to have a look at the video here they are :

NB: The recipes are made in the way my folks prefer. If there has been any omissions kindly let me know, so that I can improve upon.

C&C are most welcome.