Vella Seedai / Sweet Seedai


Only two days are left for Gokulashtami and I am trying to make something special to the Lord Krishna. This time my to-do list is simple and mostly contains easy recipes except seedai recipe. Making seedai is easy but consumes a lot of your time. I made it in advance so that I can plan other recipes the day before the Gokulashtami. Thanks to both my mom and aunt who helped me to roll the seedai. Make sure you have sufficient time to make if you are planning to cook a larger quantity. Rolling the seedai's and frying them will take longer time and you really require some patience to prepare this recipe.

I never knew that making Vella Seedai was very easy until I tried it on my own few years back. At my native, we call this as "Ellu Urundai or Ellu Seedai" but here in chennai, almost all my friends call this as Vella cheedai (Sweet Jaggery seedai). As you see the difference in the name, there is also a difference in the ingredients. Instead of urad dal, we use powdered roasted gram.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 7


Ingredients:

Rice flour - 3 cups (see notes 1)
Roasted gram flour / Roasted channa dal flour - 1 cup (see notes 2)
Black sesame seeds - 3 tablespoon (see notes 3)
Grated fresh coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 and 1/2 cup, powdered
Water - 2 cups
Oil - for deep frying

Method:

1) In a mixing bowl take the rice flour. Add roasted gram flour and sesame seeds. Mix well.


2) Add fresh grated coconut. Mix again.


3) Melt jaggery in 2 cups of water. Once the jaggery is melted down, filter it to remove impurities. No need to check the consistency here.
4) Slowly add this jaggery dissolved water to the flour mixture.


5) Make a smooth dough. It should not be very thick or loose. Pinch a small gooseberry sized dough and roll it out as balls. Do not press the balls too much while rolling. Arrange them in a wide plate. Do not cover the plate and let it be till you start frying. Follow the order while frying the balls - The first rolled balls should first go for frying.
6) Heat oil in a thick bottom kadai/pan. When the oil is hot and not smoking, reduce the flame to medium, add balls and Fry it  in batches. Fry till the seedai's turns nice brown in color and starts leaving some cracks in it.


7) Transfer the contents to a plate covered by kitchen towel to absorb excess oil if any.
8) At room temperature, store it in a container.


Notes:

1) I used homemade rice flour. Soak 3 cups of rice for 1 hour. Drain the water and dry it using a cotton cloth for few minutes.  When the rice is dry but still has some moisture in it, make a powder out of it using your mixie. Otherwise grind it in a flour mill if the quantity is more. After making a powder, sieve it and roast it. Measure 3 cups of this flour and use it for preparing this recipe
2) Grind 1 cup of roasted gram in a mixie. Sieve, measure 1 cup and use in this recipe.
3) Wash the sesame seeds and sun dry it completely before using it in this recipe. You can also use white sesame seeds.
4) Water level can vary based on the rice flour you use. If you require more water, use warm water.
5) Adjust the jaggery as per your taste.
6) Instead of grated coconut pieces, you can also use finely chopped coconut pieces. If you go with grated coconut it stays good for longer time when perfectly fried.

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Aval Vadai / Flattened Rice Vada


Hi All, After attending the IFBM at Bangalore and a week of rejuvenation I'm back. Krishna Jayanthi is fast approaching and everyone would expect recipes related to it and to fulfill your expectations, here is my recipe. As on date, no recipes are in my hand related to any upcoming festival, but I'm planning to prepare few on Independence Day. But before that I have simple and quick vada recipe which I can post now for the upcoming festival.

Krishna Jayanthi is a big festival in my mother's native, a village near Kovilpatti. During childhood, we would regularly attend the village celebration. During the festival day, a slippery pole (Vazhukku maram) is generally kept in front of the temple. At the end of the day, Lord Krishna is decorated with loads of flowers and come for veedhi ula (Sevai) / street procession of the deity. After the veedhi ula and just before entering into the temple back again, the village association organizes a mini event (i.e.) People climb to the slippery pole and try to get pothi (reward / cash sack) tied on top of the slippery pole. While they attempt to climb the pole, others pour water on the climber thus trying to bring him down. Finally the smartest and the strongest one wins the event.

The fun never ends here. Families which hail from our village but have settled in various parts of the state / country normally hop back to our village once a year during this festival and the entire village celebrates it as a gala event. Missing all those wonderful things here at my city Chennai. People of our village generally prepare various snacks as tradition says, snacks are very much liked by Lord Krishna and we offer him the snacks on this auspicious day. We also draw footprints (those that resemble a toddler) of Lord Bal Krishna believing that he visit our homes and accepts our offerings thereby blessing us with prosperity and good health. Generally aval, pori, butter and few pachanams (snacks like Murukku and Seedai) would be offered to him on Krishna Jayanthi.

And so for this reason, I now present a recipe using aval which is Aval Vadai / Aval Vada. I prepare aval vada often as it doesn't require hours of soaking time and can be prepared instantly anytime.It would also workout as a great offering to god  and can also be eaten as a snack anytime.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


Ingredients:

Aval / Poha / Flattened Rice / Beaten Rice - 2 cups (I used 1 cup thin and thick aval each )
Red Onion - 1 no., large, finely chopped
Green chillies - 3 nos., finely chopped
Curry leaves - 2 spring
Coriander leaves - 2 springs
Ginger - 1 inch piece, finely chopped or grated
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
salt - to taste
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Rice flour - 1 to 2 tablespoons (optional)

Method:

1) Clean Aval in a running water very quickly and soak in it water for 10 minutes. Make sure the water level is just above the surface of the Aval.
2) After 10 minutes, squeeze out the water from the Aval, by pressing it between your palms and transfer to a bowl. Mash it well to get thick dough consistency.


3) Add onion, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, asafoetida, cumin seeds and salt. Mix well.
4) Pinch a small ball of dough and shape it like patties. If you are not able to do this add a tablespoon or more of rice flour to the dough.


5) Heat oil in a deep frying pan. When it is hot and not smoking, add one or two vada at a time and fry it till it gets the golden brown crust outside. When frying, if the vadas are breaking out, then you may require to add more rice flour to bind the vadai properly.


6) Serve hot with tomato sauce or any chutney.


Notes:

1) I used a cup of thin brown Aval and a cup of thick white Aval.
2) Make sure the water from Aval is drained out properly, otherwise it tends to absorb more oil. If you are not able to squeeze out the water properly, add riceflour to make it bit dry.

Baked Corn Pasta




Today I cooked for only two. My husband is down with cough and cold and I prepared a plain rice with rasam and pepper egg roast thinking it would give some relief to his cold. I myself was not interested in packing it for my lunch box, decided to do something else.

My mind was wandering about blogger's meet and its contest all the time, I was thinking what to make for my lunch box that uses corn at a short span of time. I decided to bake pasta which I always do when I need to cook only for myself. Also, I can very well reheat it at office, can enjoy the hot, cheesy pasta for lunch and at the same time link it to the contest. This is my third entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


Ingredients:

Uncooked pasta - 1 cup
Onion - 1 no., small size, finely chopped
Tomato - 2 nos., small size
Garlic - 5 cloves, finely chopped
Sweet corn - 1/2 heaped cup
Milk - 2/3 cup or cream - 1/3 cup
Tomato sauce - 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Black pepper powder - as required
Dried oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
Dried thyme leaves - 1/2 teaspoon
Grated cheese - 3/ 4 cup or as required
Olive oil - 1 and 1/2 tablespoons


Method:

1) Cook pasta as per the instructions given in the pack. I cooked it for 10 minutes by adding 3 cups of water, salt and a teaspoon of olive oil to it. Cooking time might vary based on the cooking method you choose (Stove top or microwave).
2) Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and pass under the running water. Drain again and keep aside.
3) When the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a frying pan, add remaining olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute it till it becomes soft and translucent.
4) Puree the tomato using mixie and add the pureed tomato to the pan. Mix well.
5) Add tomato ketch up. Give good stir. Let it be till the raw smell of tomato goes off.
6) Add corn, salt, pepper and dried herbs. give a stir.
7) Add cooked pasta to it and mix well till it get coated with sauce properly.
8) Pour the milk or cream to it after reducing the flame. Mix gently to coat the pasta with milk or cream.
9) Turn off the stove and transfer the pasta to the ovenproof dish or ramekins. Top it with grated cheese.
10) Bake it in the preheated oven for 15 minutes in 180C.
11) Serve hot.


Notes:

1) I preheated the oven for 200C for 15 minutes and reduced the temperature to 180C when I kept the dish inside to avoid browning the top.
2) You can use any of the pasta. I used elbow macroni pasta.

Corn and Spinach Quiche


We wake up late today since my office work was scheduled for the second half of the day. So I decided to go for brunch and a light meal after that instead of having a full breakfast. I was having the shortcrust pastry in my fridge and decided to make quiche out of it. Made use of corn that I bought for baking the bread, so that I can also link this to the contest. This is my second entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Idle Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 quiche


Ingredients:

For Pastry: (I used shortcrust pastry)

All purpose flour / Maida / Plain flour - 1 cup + extra for dusting
Cold butter - 5 tablespoons
Cold water - 1-3 tablespoons
Salt - a small pinch

For Filling:

Sweet corn - 1/2 cup, steamed
Spinach - 1/4 cup  finely chopped
Egg - 2 nos.,large size
Milk - 2/3 cup
Salt - to taste
Dried thyme - 1/2 teaspoon
Dried oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper powder - to taste
Grated chedder cheese - 3/4 cup or as required


Method:

For Pastry:

1) In a mixing bowl take all-purpose-flour. Add salt and mix well.
2) Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour till you get a mixture that looks like bread crumbs. There should not be large butter lumps remaining.
3) Slowly add water and make a dough.
4) Wrap it using a cling wrap. Keep inside the refrigerator at least for 30 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, prepare for the filling.

For Filling:

1) Break eggs in a small bowl and beat well.
2) Add 2/3 cups of milk.
3) Add pepper salt and dried herbs. Beat well and keep aside.
4) Keep everything ready and arrange them.


For Assembling:

1) Take the dough out from the refrigerator. Roll the cold pastry on a floured kitchen surface until 1/8 inch thick.
2) Place this rolled pastry on to a mini tarts and shape them as shown in the picture. Make sure the pastry is sticking with the pan well. At the same time, do not stretch the pastry to fit the edges of the tart pan. If you do, it will shrink back when it is baked.
3) Preheat the oven to 350F/175C for 15 minutes.
4) Layer the tarts with finely chopped spinach first. Sprinkle grated cheese then. Make sure there is no gap.
5) Spread the corn and pour the custard over the tarts after mixing the filling well again. Top it again with few corns and chopped spinach.
6) Bake it for 45 minutes or till the knife inserted into the center of the tart pan comes out clean. Sometimes, it takes an hour and again it depends upon the oven. It will puff nicely and the crust become golden at the end of baking.
7) Wait for few more minutes and serve warm.


Notes:

1) Instead of milk you can use cream for making the custard.
2) you can also use 3 eggs + 1/3 cup of milk instead of the measurement given above in the recipe.
3) Cheese is used to avoid soggy crust while baking. Try to use cheddar cheese for best resulted quiche. However, If you don't avail it in your place of stay, then substitute it with any other cheese.

Cheesy Corn Breadcups


I have bad time with yeast baking these days. The yeast I own is not at all proofing which disappoints me much when I crave and tempt to bake my favorite breads. When IFBM 2014 announced it's baking challenge for Freedom Tree, I was pretty happy since I also have a thought of preparing a beautiful bread recipe that uses corn in it. Unfortunately, my yeast didn't prove and gave up the thought for participating in the contest.

I rejuvenated myself after a nice sleep, decided to do some easy recipe using corn which doesn't use yeast in it. Bread cups came to my mind since I prepare it often with various filling. This time I used corn since it is the must ingredient for the contest. I started with these bread cups and ended up with three recipes all following one by one. This is first entry to the IFBM and Freedom Tree Baking Contest.

 


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 6 bread cups


Ingredients:

Bread slices - 6 nos.,
Freash corn - 1/2 cup, steamed
Processed cheese - 5 cubes, grated
Onion - 1 no., finely chopped
Green chilli - 2 nos., finely chopped
Salt - to taste



Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 200 C for 15 minutes.
2) In a mixing bowl, add corn, processed cheese, onion and green chilli and salt. Mix well.
3) Remove 4 brown corners of the bread slices. Carefully place it in the muffin tray to form the shape of cup. It may tend to break. Don't worry. It will set while baking.
4) Place 2-3 tablespoons of the prepared mixture to the bread cups.
5) Keep inside the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes by reducing the temperature to 180C or till the bread cup becomes crisp and cheese melts well.
6) Cool down for couple of minutes and serve hot.



Notes:

1) Instead of bread slices, you can also use puff pastry or filo pastry or tortilla sheets.
2) Make sure to transfer the bread cups to the wire rack immediately. Otherwise,the bottom part of the bread cups become soggy.
3) Feel free to change the stuffing as per your personal preference.

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