Time to lay out a feast

Down foodpath

Time to lay out a feast

I started cooking when I was in college. Though it started as a hobby, I slowly fell in love with it. My mother is a great cook and she prepares authentic lipsmacking South Indian dishes. That, in fact, was my inspiration.

    Though I get my culinary skills from her, I get different recipes from different places and people.

     I remember collecting a number of recipes from my friends’ parents and trying them out on the weekends. I recall making ‘ghee rice’ and vegetable ‘kurma’ for the first time.

    I am fascinated by the different flavours that each dish has to it and given that I can’t stick to just one kind of taste, experimenting comes naturally to me. I love relishing simple traditional dishes like ‘sambhar’, ‘rasam’ and plain ‘dal’.

     Cooking for me is a stress-buster and hygiene and proper organisation of my kitchen are important to me.

I like collecting kitchen tools and the silicon spatula is one of my favourite tools. Though I enjoy using all kinds of spices, ‘jeera’ is an ingredient that is a must in all my dishes. Of late, I have started experimenting with ragi, whole wheat and jaggery to make my food healthy yet tasty.

Cooking is an essential skill for life and one should avoid eating too much packaged food. Rather, one should learn the art and also not follow a recipe blindly. It is always good to know what’s going into one’s food before taking a bite. For me, ingredients play an important role; if it is not healthy, it is not tasty.

Being a homebaker, it has not always been a smooth ride for me. However, it feels nice to see that my husband is more enthusiastic about what I do than me. He is my best critic.

The recipes I am sharing today on the occasion of ‘Ugadi’ are that of ‘Toor dal obbattu’ and ‘Medu vada’. I hope everyone will enjoy preparing them.
Latha Kiran
(As told to Surupasree Sarmmah)

‘Medu vada’ and ‘Toor dal obbattu’

Recipe

‘Medu vada’
Ingredients

Urad dal 250 gm
Raw rice 3 tbsp
Rice flour 1 to 2 tbsp to get the right consistency
Finely cut coriander and curry leaves.
Finely chopped green chilli 2 tbsp
Coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp
Salt to taste

Procedure

Soak the urad dal and raw rice for three hours.
Make a thick paste by adding as less water as possible to grind in a blender.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the paste and mix.
 Heat oil in a ‘kadhai’. Now take a small plastic sheet. Wet your hands and take a small ball of the batter. Make a hole in the centre and drop it into the oil.
 Flip till fried well on both sides. Serve with coconut chutney.
Tips for ‘medu vada’
Soak for a minimum of three hours else the ‘vada’ will turn hard.
Don’t add too much water to grind. It will result in a lot of oil absorption while frying.
In case you get a loose batter, add rice flour.

‘Toor dal obbattu’
Ingredients
Chiroti or ‘obbattu’ rava 3/4 cup
Maida 1/4 cup
Oil

Procedure

Mix both the ingredients with water to make a loose dough and add oil, one spoon at a time, and knead well. Add a few spoons of oil on top and leave it covered for two hours.

For the filling
Toor dal 1 cup
Jaggery 1 cup
Grated coconut 2 tbsp

Procedure

Boil toor dal in two cups of water until 3/4th is done. Drain the water.
 Add smashed jaggery and fresh grated coconut and stir on heat till the jaggery has melted and the water is absorbed.

Once it cools down slightly, make a smooth paste in a blender by adding a little water (you should be able to make a ‘laddoo’ out of it).

Make medium-sized ‘laddoos’ and keep aside.
Take a square wax paper or ‘obbattu’ paper. Apply oil generously. Take a big lemon-sized rava maida mixture and flatten it by pressing with your palm. Now add the medium sized toor dal filling. Cover the filling with the maida as we do for parathas. Take a rolling pin and roll out as thin as possible.
Transfer this along with the butter paper onto the ‘tawa’ and fry both sides with ghee.

Tips to make the ‘obbattu’

Knead the rava maida mixture very well. This way it stretches more.
Oil the rolling pin well. It rolls out very smooth.
Don’t overcook the toor dal as it becomes mushy and will not hold shape.

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