The credit for this dish goes to my mother-in-law on her recent visit to our house for Dussera.
As part of their usual ritual of getting us all the lovely vegetables available in Andhra, and not so easily available in Bangalore, they got us some lovely green chillies ideal for bajjis. Unknown to everyone, I’d managed to procure some myself on a recent visit to Chikpet. SO it was mirchi overload at home! 🙂
On mahaNavami, part of the menu included vadas. But the DH and I had earmarked that particular dish for VijayaDasami. So it was aloo bajji that became a part of the menu.
Owing to the excess of mirchis at home, my ma-in-law decided to use that as the base for the batter, instead of the usual red chilli powder. The result was quite interesting!!!
- 1/2 cup besan
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 8-10 bajji mirchis
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of cooking soda
- Grind the chillies to a fine paste.
- Mix all the batter ingredients and add water till it becomes a thick batter, thick enough to coat the potatoe slices. Make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
- Using a slicer,cut the potatoes into fine slices
- heat oil in a deep wok for deep frying
- Dip the slices of potatoes into the batter and drop into the hot oil. The bajji will puff up a bit if the batter is mixed right.
Serve hot! The green chillies in the batter give a more subtle taste than the red chillies. So the final result will tease the senses with the taste without the spicy heat.
Almost every festival has this item as part of its Prasadam in Andhra Pradesh. It is made by people from other states as well, though not necessarily in the same way.
Vada Pappu is simply soaked moong dal. Once it has soaked sufficiently, the water is drained, and the vada pappu is put forth in the prasadam. One can have the vada pappu with finely chopped pieces of coconut and green chillies as well. But traditionally, prasadam is served plain.
Panakam is essentially a jaggery syrup. It is usually spiced with cardamoms. However, during Dussera, it is also spiced with pepper, adding another dimension to the flavour. Unlike sugar syrup, Panakam has a slightly acidic taste. The cardamom and pepper temper the sweetness. So the main focus is the amount of jaggery used, and sufficient amount of pepper and cardamom have been used. Together, the flavours are heavenly! Mostly the ratio of jaggery to water is 1:1. So dont be baffled if the jaggery you’ve used is light in color, and the panakam is dark. Jaggery does tend to turn dark when added to water.
When served together, the vada pappu tends to soak up the sweetness of the panakam, so one doesn’t feel as though you have something very sweet and heavy.
That, of course, becomes the perfect excuse to indulge in a bit of festive sweetness, a bit of vada pappu – panakam.
This is a quick snack that can be made with very little prep, and light on the stomach. Atukulu, or beaten rice, is a staple in most Indian kitchens, especially those that make poha as breakfast! I’m sure there are more dishes that can be made with atukulu, but am yet to discover, and make them. 🙂
- Heat the oil in a wide wok on a medium flame, and put the groundnuts in.
- Put the curry leaves into the basic/bowl into while you intend to put in the fried groundnuts and atukulu.
- While the oil heats, it also fries the groundnuts. Keep them in until they are well done, and then take them out with a metal sieve.
- Turn the flame to low and drop a few atukulu at a time. They will immediately puff up. So be sure to put in only a few and scoop them out immediately, else they would get burnt.
- Follow the process until all the atukulu are done. The curry leaves in the bowl will get fried because of the heat from the groundnuts and atukulu dropped over them.
- Finally add salt and chilli powder to taste and mix well.
This snack can be store for over a week. But I must say that I’ve never been able to check that out for myself. It’s always over within a couple of days!!! 🙂