Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Vadacurry / Vadakari - Low Cal Version | Side dish for Set Dosai

One fine day Mister was so tempted to have Set Dosai and Vadacurry,his favorite, while the family dined out. He ordered it anticipating an extremely delicious combo- A match made in heaven but what did he get? A somewhat okay set dosai and an extremely spicy and non delicious vadacurry as the side.

Now you might wonder which restaurant this was! All I can tell you that it is a very reputed one around here yet he got such a food! And when I meant spicy, it was extremely spicy even for a spice lover!!

A dejected Mister went back home and couldn't help but feel annoyed and disappointed. So what does the lady of the house do?She makes Kal Dosai and Vadakari as a surprise dinner later that week and Mister is truly happy. He promptly clears up the huge bowl along with the kids who are loving the dish as much as he did! The lady hardly got to taste it.

He praises her that it is the best Vadakari he has ever eaten and that it should feature more often in the menu at home!! And the praise skyrockets when she tells him the dish is low cal too!!

What she did not tell him is that she also made it for Blogging Marathon #46, week 4, Day 2 under the theme - Combo dishes.

And the kal dosai looked exactly like how it was served in that restaurant - with a little onion and coriander leaves on top....

Vadacurry is generally said to be prepared to use up the left over masal vada - deep fried dal frittes, but now a days masal vadai is being made just to prepare this dish. To make a low cal and guilt free side, the fritters are steamed here instead of following the deep fried version.

For a low cal and tasty version of Vadacurry you need:

 For the vada

Channa dal -1 cup
Fennel seeds/Saunf - 1 teaspoon
Red chili-2 broken
Salt to taste

For the gravy

Tomatoes- 3 large
Onion-1, sliced
Garlic -2 pods, chopped
Bay leaf- 1
Fennel seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon-1" piece, broken
Curry leaves- a few
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a large pinch
Oil-1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

First let us prepare the vada...

Soak the channa dal for half an hour. Drain and transfer it into a mixie jar and grind it along with fennel and red chilies. Add salt. The paste should be coarse and not smooth.Do not add water while grinding.If needed just sprinkle a little water.

Shape into small logs and steam in a steamer for 10 minutes. Remove from steamer and keep aside.

Blanch the tomatoes , peel and puree. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the fennel, bay leaf and cinnamon. When the fennel sizzles,add the onion, garlic and curry leaves and leaves. Saute till the onion is soft. Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder and mix to combine.

Add salt and about 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Add the steamed vadas and let it cook for a while.As the mixture simmers, the vada will break down as they break down in the tomato based gravy. Else break them down gently with a ladle.The mixture will thicken. Remove from heat when the desired consistency is reached.

Serve with Set dosai / Kal dosai

Note :
  • This is a great side for set / kal dosai
  • The consistency depends on how you like it- watery / thick. I made mine nice and thick.
  • It thicken on standing. Add more water and simmer it that happens.
  • You can make the vada before hand and refrigerate it. Let it come to room temperature and then cook it with the gravy.
  • If you want to make it the original way, deep fry the lentil fritters and then add to the gravy.

Bon Appetit...

Monday, 24 November 2014

Vegetable Rava Kichidi | South Indian Breakfast

A few Blogging Marathon's ago, I did a 3 days of Upma theme. I ranted that upma is not my favorite and never liked it as a kid! But growing up and moving on in life, especially after getting married to someone who loves upma, I had no choice but to change my thoughts on it!

Over the past few years, I have forced myself learnt to like it . Under the upma category is also this kichidi that I detested! But a few weeks back I ate it and I really wondered why I had hated it in the first place!

This kichidi and coconut chutney combo is for Blogging Marathon #46, week 4, Day 1 under the theme - Combo dishes.

Unlike my opinion on the humble upma, my fondness in kichidi has changed! I made this for breakfast and I was pleasantly surprised to see how good it tasted! The ghee added to it does give it a new dimension!So don't skim on it...

I used:

White rava / Suji / Sooji - 2 cups
Hot water- 5 cups
Ghee- 2 table spoons + 1 tablespoon
Mixed vegetables- as needed[I used carrot and beans], finely chopped
Curry leaves - a few
Green chili-1,slit
Ginger - 1" piece, finely chopped
Tomato-1,small, chopped
Mustard seeds-1 teaspoon
Channa dal- 1 teaspoon
Split urad dal-1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a large pinch
Salt to taste
Oil-1 teaspoon

 Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan and roast the suji till it turns a shade dark and a nice aroma arises. Spear on a plate and leave aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, ginger and green chili.When the mustard splutters and dal turns brown , add onion and saute till soft.Add the tomato and cook for a minute.

Add the vegetables and water and bring to boil.Put in the turmeric power.

Add salt. When it comes to a rolling boil slowly add the roasted suji stirring as you add it. Be sure that no lumps are formed.

Cook stirring often so that it does not stick to the bottom.Once the water has been absorbed, check if it has cooked. Else add little hot water. When the kichdi turns fluffy,add another tablespoon of melted ghee and mix.

Serve hot with coconut chutney...

Bon Appetit...

Friday, 21 November 2014

Neer Neelikkai Oorugai | Oil-free Gooseberry Pickle

November is the Thanks giving month and the Recipe ReDux team chose -A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful as the theme this month!

We are thankful to a whole bunch of people we have come across. These people have guided us, been through our highs and low, taught us a couple of things and in general we are thankful for all that they have done. Then there is another category of people we must be thankful to in a different sort of way- The people who hurt us and made us cry. In a way, I would say, they too have taught us a valuable lesson on how to avoid such situations in future and also easier to handle them should they arise!And I really wish that ever happens.

Anyway, let us just talk about the thanks giving stuff and the ones we love.Before going on to the post I would love to send out a big hug and a million thanks to my dear mom and dad for making me who I am today.... 

My early childhood food memories are always associated with mom cooking delicious meals every day. She used to prepare snacks and other munchies almost every day and I don't even remember her buying stuffs that could be made at home. All these goodies were for me to enjoy as an after school snack.

And the place where we lived was a pretty cold one and yet nothing deterred her when it came to cooking. There was no maid to help her with the daily chores, yet she would keep making one thing or the other for me.She made sure I ate well and tried all sort of tricks to make me finish off the lunch box.And when I say this it did not mean she stayed in the kitchen all the time!She is a multi talented woman who took part in a lot of activities and still dished out hot and delicious meals every day.

Even now,if I need a new recipe or have doubts in cooking or need new ideas, I call her up and we chat about cooking.She is the main inspiration behind this blog too.

Mom is extremely good when it comes to sun dried preserves and pickles. I can still recollect those summers when mom and her friend used to prepare home made sun dried stuffs. I used to sit by their side watching them going about their work .And I can also clearly remember mom making several types of pickles at home.I don't remember mom buying a jar of any pickle from the store!

And as I was planning for this post, I thought I must do a pickle. I have very few of these in my space and it sounded like a good idea to add one more to the list.

Pickles are usually prepared with a lot of oil and salt to up their shelf life. Since the theme this month also specified that we do a healthier re do of the recipe, I opted for this easy, instant and oil free pickle that is not only tasty but also very less of salt and as I said earlier nil oil!

We have a gooseberry tree in our backyard and we have a bounty of it in the peak season.Most of the times,I make some flavored rice with it / a raita - a yogurt based side dish or another variety of spicy pickle with the gooseberries.  For this post, I made this instant pickle.

Here is how the gooseberry looks... It called ara nellikai here and is smaller and tarter than the Indian gooseberry.

For this simple pickle I used:

Gooseberries - 20
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- a large pinch
Ginger- a small piece
Green chiles to taste / 5-6, chopped

  1. In a large pan take the washed and pat dried gooseberries. Add water just enough to cover the berries.
  2. Add turmeric powder,salt,crushed ginger and bring to boil.
  3. Simmer till the gooseberries are soft. 
  4. Immediately add the green chilies and remove from heat.
  5. Let it cool completely.
  6. Transfer into a clean and dry jar.
  7. Cover and store.Stays good for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

  • You can eat is as such or as a side to yogurt/ curd rice.
  • Always use a clean dry spoon when taking out the gooseberries from the bottle.
  • The same pickle can be made using the Indian gooseberry as well.

Here is another pickle that requires no oil - Vadumaangai Oorugai / Baby mango in brine.

Bon Appetit...