Saturday, December 20, 2008


Yesterday after the heavy snack we skipped dinner. So my plan for Adai was postponed for today. Before I start with the recipe, let me just write a little about this humble cousin of the 'world-famous' Dosai (or dosa if u prefer).
Well, I read around a lot yesterday about the Adai. And I also had first-hand information from my friend's mother-in-law who is visiting from Tamilnadu,India. Firstly, Adai is native to Kerala, one of the four southern Indian states. But it is equally popular in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. The aunthentic recipe for Adai calls for rice and different types of lentils. But the version my mother told me about doesn't call for rice at all, it's just all lentils. So there a lot of types of adais out there, you can try whichever one takes your fancy. Personally I feel that the Adai is heavier than the Dosai. But it's a good option to have in your recipe basket for when you didn't plan ahead but still feel like eating some dosai. Also it is a very healthy choice for the kids menu. So without further ado, the rice-lentils pancake - Adai.

1 cup - idly rice or parboiled rice.
1/2 cup - Urad dal (black gram)
1/2 cup - Chana dal (bengal gram)
1/2 cup - Tuvar dal
3 - green chillies
1 tsp - jeera (cumin)
1 small sprig - curry leaves
Salt to taste

ingredients for grinding

Soak the rice and pulses for about 3 hrs. Then grind it coarsely with the cumin and green chillies. Take into a bowl and add salt to taste. For extra taste you may add 1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida) to this. The batter should be thick and coarse to touch. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat and pour a ladleful of the batter. Spread it slightly with the flat side of the ladle till it looks like an average sized pancake. Pour 1tsp of oil all around and let the adai fry till golden around the edges. Then flip it over and cook for about 30 seconds. Then take off the pan. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.

on the frying pan

flipped adai

Serve hot with avial or coconut chutney.

My pic has adai with coconut chutney and andhra speciality ' mukkala pulusu' which is a cousin of the more famed Sambaar. Made for a very heavy and Happy lunch on this cold winter day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowy Day Snacks

As promised here are the recipes and pictures of my today's snowy day snacks .

Spiced Tea
Serves 2.

1 cup (8 oz. ) - water
1/2 cup - whole milk
1 pod - green cardamom, powdered
1/4 inch piece - ginger,sliced thinly
3-4 - cloves
1 inch stick - cinnamon ( or 1/4 tsp. cinnamon pd)
1 tsp - black tea leaves ( redlabel brand from India )
sugar to taste.

Place water in a thick bottomed vessel and add all the spices to the cold water. Put stove on medium heat and let the water come to a boil slowly. This step assures that all the spices will steep properly and give full flavor to the tea. Once the water is simmering, add the tea leaves and boil for about 2 mins. Add sugar and milk, then let it almost boil over and out. Take off the heat at the last second and let it sit covered for at least half a minute. This has a dual purpose - one is that the tea and flavors get a chance to rest and mingle. The second is that all the particles will settle down and then you can pour the tea without need of any tea filter! Smart, ain't it? ;-)
Pour and enjoy!!

Serves 2 -3.
Ingredients (for plain onion fritters )
1 medium onion - halved and sliced thinly
2 green chillies - finely chopped
1 small sprig - curry leaves
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
salt to taste
red chilly powder, optional and to taste
Gram flour/Besan - 1/2 to 1 cup
Rice flour - 2tbsp
For mixed vegetable version - just add 1/4 cup (chopped) each of any vegetables you might have on hand. I used cabbage and green bell peppers.

Cut all the veggies and put in a mixing bowl. Add the carom seeds, salt and chilly powder. Let sit for a while ( 10 mins ). Because of the salt, the veggies will give out their water. This water is enough for the batter and no more should be added. After the veggies have given out water, add the gram flour and mix well to coat all veggies. The texture on your hands should feel like toothpaste covered veggies. :-D that was the only analogy I could come up with it. Hope it makes sense.
Heat about 2 cups of oil in a wok. Once it heats up just add teaspoonfuls of the veggie mixture and fry till golden brown. Take out with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with all the remaining batter.

Serve with ketchup or Maggie Hot n Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce. Enjoy !!!

And that's happiness on a plate to rid your snowy day blues!

Snowy Day

It's snowing here! A storm is blowing here and the sky looks angry. Brrrr!! I'm hoping that all the schools have been closed so the kids can enjoy snow. The weather is putting me in the mood for Indian Comfort food -- masala chai and mirchi bajji mmm! Masala chai or spiced tea is a must on rainy days. And the perfect accompaniment for the tea - Green Chilli fritters yum-o! It's not for the faint of heart. The hot tea makes the chilli fritters taste even more hot!!! But it is the comfort food for me. Unfortunately I don't have any fritter worthy chillies with me. So I'm planning to make the next best thing - Onion pakodis (fritters). And they are VC's favorite so i'm hoping to surprise him this evening.
OMG I just realized that it's not snowing anymore. It's raining Ice!
Anyway, to continue with my daydream. Spiced tea and Onion pakodis for snack and then hot Adai for dinner. Adai is a cousin of the dosai family. Both are pancake made of rice-lentil batter. The type of lentils used and the time needed for fermentation are what distinguish the two. As the Adai batter does not require any fermentation it's perfect to make on a short (3-4 hrs) notice. So I just soaked the rice and lentils and well on my way to make adai this evening. Shall post the recipes and pics of all the snowy day specials by tomorrow. Nothing like tea and deep-fried goodies to make you happy!
So Happy Snowy day to you too and go out there and do something that makes You Happy :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter is here!!

'Tis a wonderland here ! It snowed all day yesterday and through the night. And now my Christmas season is complete. The coming Sunday is officially the first day of winter and also start of Hanukkah. So all of you who celebrate it, a Happy Hanukkah to you.

I found this lovely picture on Google images. The blue candles are really beatiful and tranquil on the eyes, don't you think?

Yesterday's radio show went well. The internet was working and I could play all the songs that I wanted. Some songs are really so nice like the one included in my last post. And the fruit pizza recipe I gave out has a long story behind it. It was in a booklet printed for the Dessert Challenge 2003 for the families of Pfizer employees. We were living in Ann Arbor, Michigan at that time. I do so miss Michigan :-( Anyway, thisbooklet included very nice recipes given by the women of Pfizer. I'll write down the simplest ones asap, so it will be useful in the holiday season. Till then take care and listen to some good music.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Holidays

'Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Now count and tell me if the number of la s is correct or not!! :-D Anyways the festive season is here and I wanted to wish all of you out there, very Happy Holidays. Be it Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa. I was hoping to take my little girl to NY city but didn't work out :-( But there's still hope, maybe tomorrow. Till then I was just surfing the web for beautiful X'mas pics and I found some that I really like.
And below is the link to a beautiful sensual Bollywood song. Even if you don't understand the language, you'll still catch the mood. The singer, Indian legend Mohd. Rafi has done an absolutely wonderful job. When he sings of the heat, you feel the heat. When he sings of loneliness you feel alone. Give this song a try, it really is lovely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good Books

Namaskaar. Welcome to my blog on this cold and gloomy tuesday. Right now I'm very sick ( thanks to the weather ) with a runny nose and hacking cough. I look like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer :-D
Well the last week was spent reading a number of very good books. I'll list them here for fellow book lovers who might want to read them.
Book #1 - Magyk
Book #2 - Flyte
Book #3 - Physik
Book #4 - Queste

To the new reader let me say that these books come under the fantasy fiction genre. Which means that theyare about magic and stuff like that. I'll give a short synopsis down below:

BRISINGR - Its the third book in the Inheritance cycle series. The first two were ERAGON and ELDEST respectively. This was supposed to be the last book but was extended to include a fourth book.
Paolini does a good job of story telling. Critics have accused Paolini of copying ideas from more popular books. But I beg to differ. It is true that some of his plots or layouts seem similiar to other books, but the basic storyline has enough of his original ideas to make it his own writing. And well there is nothing wrong to take some inspirations from classics, is there? And in this, the third book, Paolini has come into his own I believe. The way Eragon grows and comes across grown up world with all the good and bad in it, how he deals with it, is all original and no copying.

So if u r interested in such books, I suggest you read these three Paolini books.

My friend Roberta was so kind to lend me this series. She has many books and always glad to lend me some. And this series was very good too. It follows the story of one Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son. Set in a fictional world, these stories are good to start your child of on a journey to the fantasy fiction world. It probably is most appropriate for the 10-12 age group. But any die-hard fantasy fan can still read this and be happy. The books have good continuity but are not dependent on the previous. And the story lines are very simple but very interesting and intruiging at the same time.

So go out and read some books today. Happy Reading!!