One of the most defining moments of a mother is when her baby begins to utter her first few words and so it was with me. One among them was ‘ Belle’, to my thrilled sister. Since Belle translates to ‘beautiful woman’ in French, she wouldn’t have any other. As children, we have shared a million golden moments… lazy afternoons in the study with Enid Blyton / playing house on the box-like window, the blue sky as our roof and with our fluttering friends- the milky white butterflies / collecting cute sea shells from the seashore avoiding the long-legged crabs on the wet sand / swinging with abandon under the gooseberry tree…… One of the few people to whom I can open my heart to, and above all be myself.
Happy were the days when we got together and polished off the uzhunnu vadas and chutney which we bought from the nearby restaurant. A favorite South Indian snack eaten with breakfast or at tea-time, the protein-rich vadas are served with chutney/sambar or sometimes they are soaked in spiced curds as thair vada (or in sambar as sambar vada). They truly melt in your mouth.
Uzhunnu Vada / Spicy Lentil Doughnuts / Medu Vada
- Urad Dal/Uzhunnu Parippu – 1 cup
- Big Onion (finely cut) – 1
- Green Chilly – 1, finely cut
- Ginger – 1/2- chopped fine
- Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp – coarsely powdered (optional)
- Curry Leaves – 10 – finely cut
- Salt – as required
- Oil for Frying
METHOD OF PREPARATION
- Wash and soak urud dal in water for 1 hour. Drain-off water completely. Grind dal to a fine paste without adding water. The batter should be thick.
- Mix (2) – (7) in a bowl. Add batter and mix well.
- Heat oil in a kadai. Take batter, the size of a small ball in your wet palm-with the thumb, make a hole in the centre of the batter and slowly and carefully slide it into the oil.
- Now fry till golden brown and crisp. Repeat the same, with remaining batter. Makes about 20 vadas. Serve hot with chutney and sambar.
NOTE: Fry vadas as soon as the batter is ready or it may absorb more oil.
Quick Tip – To increase shelf life of Suji / Semolina, roast dry,cool and store in air – tight containers.This removes moisture,especially in humid conditions. An alternative is to roast Suji, Dalia (broken wheat), nuts, pulses… in the microwave.
Do you know that the beetroot or the beet is a rich source of the antioxidant – betacyanin which gives the beetroot its red hue. It is also a treasure-house of nutrients including calcium. Beetroot juice has been proven to lower blood pressure.
A beetroot salad – Wash beetroot and pressure cook them with the skin on. After it cools down, peel the beets,and slice them. I like the natural earthy sweetness but for my husband, I add salt / pepper and lime juice for a tangy taste.
Quick Raita –
This beet raita will surely tickle your palate. Mash the cooked beetroot. Add onion, green chilly, coriander leaves, all finely cut to the mashed beetroot. Whisk curd. add and stir well. Chill to merge the flavours , and serve.