Monday, August 29, 2011

Sabudana Vada And Rainy Days

Its has been raining on and off here and though we are well into August and September is already peeping round the corner, there seems to be no respite from the heat. The only times it cools down a bit is when it rains. Now rains in my town bring with them not only a much needed drop in temperature but a host of problems as well like traffic snarls, water logging, .... But then I think we welcome the change of weather so much, we are ready to forgive our city anything at that point.

The monsoon set in a couple of months ago for the rest of the country. But in my part of the country we get the retreating monsoon. So it comes a lot later in the year. But the heat sometimes gets too much for even nature to bear and promptly we have some fabulous evening showers.

Now to describe the monsoons in India.... The fabulous musty, earthy fragrance which comes from the dry parched earth, when the first few drops of rains fall just has to be smelt to be believed. The whole garden looks like an emerald green paradise with all the dry dust from the summer getting washed away. The cool cool breeze rushing in , chasing away the heat of the summer months and bringing a freshness to everything. It is the season that everyone really looks forward to.

To come to the point now, dear readers, you need to answer one question of mine. What is the connection between a rainy afternoon and fried food? Samosas, bajjis, pakodas, vadas... The first thing you think of when you see the dark clouds start gathering, is how quickly you can bring the kadai out, the saucepan for a cup of steaming masala chai and a comfortable chair to sit in and enjoy the rains. True? or false? Fried food, tea and monsoons are inseparable and almost a tradition in India. Here I have to say, a very enjoyable and a much cherished tradition.

Now on to the recipe....

Serves 6 ( Makes about 30 medium vadas)


1 1/2 cups Sago pearls ( Sabudana)
1 1/2 cups Potato, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts, crushed roughly

2 Green Chillies, minced finely
2-3 tablespoons Coriander leaves , minced
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Oil to deep fry


Soak the sabudana in water for about 10 minutes. Drain the water and cover with a damp cloth for about 2 hours.

Mix it well with the boiled and mashed potatoes and the roughly crushed peanuts.

Add salt, lemon juice, minced green chillies and the coriander leaves.

Heat oil till smoking hot. Reduce the flame to medium.

For the sabudana mixture in small balls, flatten slightly and deep fry in the oil.

Serve hot.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegetable Biryani - A Perfect Sunday Meal

In my opinion, biryani makes for the perfect Sunday lunch. A one dish meal and enough time in the afternoon to change one's persona to that of a beached whale. Sleep for a couple of hours to give the tummy a chance to concentrate and work hard to digest all that food. With all that rich and oily rice intake, there's not much else one can do.

Without further ado, let us get on with the recipe...

From now onwards, I am going to include one very important point that I have been missing out on. The number of people this particular recipe serves. I think that was a big mistake. One I am not sure I can rectify for all the previous posts. But I can at least make a fresh start from now. So here goes...

This is a typical adaptation of the Hyderabadi biryani to suit local tastes and I like to refer to it as the South Indian Biryani.

Serves 6


3 cups or 1/2 kg Basmati Rice
1/2 kilogram Onions, finely sliced
1/2 kilogram Tomatoes, finely sliced
Handful Mint Leaves

300 grams Potatoes, diced
300 grams Beans, diced
300 grams Carrots, diced

Salt to Taste

3 Bayleaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
4-5 Cups Coconut Milk
1/2 Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Oil
1 small stick Cinnamon

Masala Paste:

100 grams Ginger
100 grams Garlic
5-6 Green Chillies
12 Cloves
4 inches Cinnamon
6 Pods of Cardamom


Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 an hour.

Heat oil. Add the cinnamon and bay leaves.

When well fried, add the onions.

When the onions start getting brown, add the mint leaves. Fry for a few minutes longer.

Now add the paste and fry well till it is fragrant.

Add tomatoes and cook well till mushy.

Add the diced vegetables and the turmeric powder and the salt.

Fry for about 5-10 minutes.

Mix in the soaked rice, add the coconut milk and cook covered till almost done. When about 80 per cent done, mix well and add the juice of the lemon.

Serve hot with a raita of your choice.