Saturday, 15 September 2007

Vinayagar chaturthi

Ah Another Food Blog! I simply had to do it after 2 years of dancing on the wall. Fall on the blogging side and what better day to start. So here I am on Vinakaya Chaturthi typing furiously on my laptop after downing a reasonable number of kolukattais and a huge amount of pori. Today was a typical day, frantically shopping uniforms for my younger daughter and musing over the system which demands that kids as young as 3 wear black school shoes for nursery. Surely something is wrong. So it seemed for my son as well. How can anyone not want cake on their Birthday? He was referring to Vinayagar’s taste buds preferring kolukattai over cake.
This day brought back some nice childhood memories of eating white chundal and pongal from a temple near my home. Back then my mom used to make the brown chundal and I used to crave for the white chundal (channa). Time has traveled a full 360 degrees and now I get plenty of the white variety, but crave for the black ones that mom used to make. Now for the task at hand, the recipes, the Vinakaya Chaturthi delicacies.

Sweet Kolukattai
This is my mom's recipe and I call her every year to get the recipes!!!

For the sweet filling:
1. 3/4 part of half a coconut - grated. What i generally do is to use the blender to get the grated texture.
2. 250 gms jaggery. You guessed right, I do have a sweet tooth.
3. 5-6 heaps tbsp of roasted split gram (potukadalai)

For the outer covering

Rice Flour - 1 cup
A pinch of salt
oil - 1tsp

Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a blender. The mixture should be workable into small round balls. If you cannot make it into balls blend it a bit more. If it is too watery, then add one or 2 spoons of the roasted gram. Make them into small balls.

Mix the rice flour with the salt and knead into dough. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the kneaded dough for 3 minutes. The intention is to get workable dough. Take a ball of the rice dough and flatten it on your palm. Place the sweet ball in between and cover it up to make the kolukatais. Roll them between the palms of your hand to get a smooth finish. Prepare all the kolukattais the same way. Oil the idli steamer and place the kolukattais and steam them for 10 minutes. If using a cooker, steam them without weight for the same time. Open the cooker and let it rest for 2 minutes and then remove them. They are yummy.

Savory Kolukattais

Prepare the rice dough the same way as for the sweet one with little more slat.

onion - 1 finely chopped
chillies -4 finely chopped
ginger -1 inch finely chopped

Heat a tsp of oil and fry the onion, ginger and chillies until soft. The onions should not turn brown, but should be cooked. Mix this with the rice dough. Make small balls and an impression with your thumb in the middle and steam for 10 minutes.
They are yummy too.


200gms of chundal. If using dried variety soak them the previous day in generous amount of water.
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
urad dal (split black lentils) - 1 tsp.
Dried red chillies - 3 ( increase for a more spicier version)
coconut - 2 Tbsp grated
Curry leaves - handful
turmeric powder - a pinch

Pressure cook the chundal with salt for 2 whistles (it may vary depending on the cooker size).
Heat a pan with a tsp of oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds. When they start popping add the urad dal and fry till they turn light brown. Add the curry leaves, dried red chillies and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute till the red chillies puff up. Take care at this stage, a moment more and you are sure to have the whole family sneezing. Add the cooked chundal and fry till it is covered with the seasoning. Add the grated coconut, mix it again and remove from fire and enjoy.

Pori (Puffed rice)
I must admit that last year I forgot to offer Pori to Vinakaya. I am sure he got his revenge by delaying all those Virgin trains that I step on. Yes all of them. Incredible but true. So I remembered and made both the sweet and the savory version this year. I hope this appeases him.

Sweet Pori

Potukadalai - 2Tbsps (lightly roasted)
Peanuts - 1Tbsps (dry roasted)
Jaggery - 2 Tbsps grated or minced
Pori - 3 cups.

Mix all the ingredients and the sweet pori is ready. Can there be any quicker and delicious snack than this. Wait until you taste the kara (savoury) pori

Kara Pori

Red Chillies - 4
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
garlic - 1 clove
peanuts - 2 Tbsps (dry roasted)
Pori - 3 cups

salt as required

Heat a pan with a 1/2 tsp of oil. Add the turmeric powder, red chillies and then garlic. Add the pori and the peanuts and mix thoroughly. Remove from fire and enjoy.

So that is all for today. I almost forgot to upload the pictures. A warning at this stage would be deemed necessary about my photographic skills. In one word it is appalling. As days proceed I hope to improve my skills. Did I say that 3 years back? I cannot sign off for the day without giving credit to S my husband for the pictures.

Any comments and suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks for dropping in to read my blog.

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