Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spicy Tomato Bell Pepper Chutney IV

I know very well that exercise of any type is beneficial not only for physical but for mental health as well. But why oh why does it require all the will power that I could muster to actually get to doing it. What works for me is swimming 1000 meters, 3 times a week. I also walk when the weather is good but that is a bonus not a regular routine. The maximum benefit is derived when I do my activity in the morning. I remain in a positive frame of mind besides being energetic through the day. Nobody should underestimate the positive effects of serotonin.



Even when armed with this knowledge it is quiet an effort. I find several excuses - bad weather, wait till the evening to take the kids along, work to be completed in the morning etc etc. But all of these are just that excuses.

For me the benefits to my mental frame of mind far exceeds any of the other reasons. The first two laps are the hardest and then it is hard to stop. But there is no denying the effort to keep it going. If you have a companion that is the best thing with one encouraging the other. For me walking works best with a companion but swimming is a solo experience. All of my best ideas and solutions to problems come while swimming.

There is no beating around the bush the fact that life as an expat is lonely in many ways. I know of many people who keep their day jobs outside of the home more as an escape from loneliness than any other lofty goals of making it in the corporate world. Not to belittle the fact that working is a must for many of us too for economic reasons. Exercising is to me a cheapest and most effective way to keep the psychiatrist out of your lives.

I certainly empathize with people who absolutely need to exercise for a healthier physical body. There are several people I see every day either walking or running and I admire them wholeheartedly.

What are your techniques to keep up your exercise routing? Do you exercise for physical or mental health?

Before we move on. This is a long weekend in the US for Memorial day where we honor the men and women of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives for their country. Lets spare a moment of thought for them.

If you think I have an obsession with this Tomato and bell pepper combination and making chutneys you are not mistaken. The juiciness of the tomatoes and the length of time the tomato is sauteed all make a difference to the texture and taste of the chutney. If in this version of the chutney the tomato was concentrated by using sun dried tomatoes and sauteing the fresh tomatoes till they lost all the moisture. The version I am presenting today accentuates the fresh taste of tomatoes by sauteing them only to loosen the juices. This can be used a sauce for cooking chicken or any hardy vegetable for a fantastic taste. I used a few red chilies more than actually needed and the taste was fiery. Adjust accordingly.

Bell Peppers are not my go to vegetable in stir fries but I use them extensively because they are readily available throughout the year. Using them in chutneys excites me more than using them in curries.



Spicy tomato and bell pepper chutney
Ingredients
1. 3 bell peppers cored and chopped (I used red, orange and yellow - use green if you do not have the colorful ones)
2. 2 Juicy red tomatoes (roma would not be the tomato of choice here, I used vine ripened tomato)
3. 5 red chilies (makes for a very very spicy chutney, 3 should be sufficient)
4. 1/2 red onion chopped - 1/2 cup
5. 1/2 tbsp channa dal
6. 1 tsp coriander seeds, few cumin seeds, few pepper corns
7. 1/2 inch piece of tamarind
8. salt to taste
9. 1 tsp oil

Method
1. In a saute pan add a drop or two of oil and saute the channa dal till it starts to turn brown, add in the coriander, cumin and pepper corns and saute for a few more minutes. Set aside.
2. In the same pan heat the rest of the oil and saute the onions till they turn brown, add in the tamarind and chopped bell peppers and let them saute till they are cooked completely (about 15-20 minutes)
3. Now add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes till they start to wilt. Mix in the salt. Let cool completely.
4. Blend without adding extra water to a smooth puree.

Great with idlis or dosais and even as a sauce for cooking chicken.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ottolenghi's Curried Chickpeas and Mango Salad / Stir fry

Generally during summer boxes of mangoes are piled high in the Indian grocery stores. For an expat Indian it is hard to move away from a pile of mangoes without buying a few (dozen?) though we all are well aware of the frustration that comes with buying them. Some are downright tasteless and without fail stringy needing a floss or tooth brush for immediate relief. Don't get me wrong there are several varieties of stringy mangoes back home and each one has a purpose meaning the stringy ones are held in the hand, skin peeled with the teeth and the pulp sucked out. Try doing that with the mangoes you get here!



Last summer a friend brought a few mangoes over, her husband in his enthusiasm had bought 2 crates of mangoes all ripening at the same time, I thanked her and took them over to the fridge (they were well ripe but absolutely no aroma, keep a ripe Indian mango in the fridge and see what happens). The next day I sliced them without expectations, but everything changed when we popped them in our mouth, maybe not so sweet but absolutely unstringy with a texture like avocado. I for one had found a mango that I liked. The new international market that opened close by has been carrying them regularly. If you are curious they are the yellow Mexican mangoes. Indira had chanced upon them recently and enjoyed them, I could understood her happiness perfectly.


Cooked onions, cauliflower and chick peas

Last week the pricey Alphonso mangoes have started appearing in the Indian grocery store, with the price tag of $34 for 11 mangoes, don't ask me why 11 and not a dozen. I was tempted but my cheap $.59 perfectly fine yellow mangoes came to mind along with Ottolenghi's recipe with mangoes and chickpeas on the Guardian newspaper online.

I had about 1 1/2 cups of soaked chickpeas sitting in the fridge, a cauliflower and mangoes all ready to go.

Back home ripe mangoes have been sliced, juiced, sorbeted, ice creamed but rarely have they been used as creatively as the Western chefs tend to use them in salads and main courses. In my parts salads are not that popular so mangoes not appearing in salads (I am not talking about fruit salads here) is not all that surprising. But the combination of spice, sour and a sweet mango all in one mouthful is hard to describe but a pleasure to experience. If you know otherwise please feel free to set me right. I for one thing am not talking about green/unripe mangoes. There are numerous recipes using those which we all know and love.


Spinach and mangoes added in


The recipe called for curry powder, which I do not have nor buy so use any masala powder you like or substitute with a combination of coriander powder, red chili powder, pepper and cumin powder and just use 2 tsp of the mixture.


Yellow mangoes




The delight in this recipe is the taste of the fresh ripe mango pieces so don't attempt it if you do not have mangoes.


Adapted from: Yotam Ottolenghi's alphonso mango and curried chickpea salad recipe



Curried Chickpeas with mangoes, cauliflower and spinach
Ingredients
1. 1 1/2 cups chickpeas soaked
2. 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower cut into small florets
3. 1 1/2 cups of cubed ripe mangoes (2-3 mangoes)
4. 3/4 cup of sliced red onions
5. 2 cups of loosely packed fresh spinach
6. 2 tbsp of lime juice
7. 1 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
8. 2 tsp of masala powder (I used the chicken masala powder I had on hand)
10. salt to taste
11. 1 tsp of sugar
12. Roast and powder 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp mustard seeds)
13. salt to taste
14. 2 tsp oil
15. fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method
1. Cook the chickpeas to tender and set aside
2. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and set aside
3. In a pan(wok) heat oil and when hot, add the onions and saute till they are translucent.
4. Add the powdered mixture and all the powders, salt and sugar and mix it in well
5. Add in the cauliflower and let the spices coat them, now mix in the chickpeas and give a good toss and turn off the heat
6. Mix in the mangoes, lemon juice and spinach when ready to serve.
7. Sprinkle coriander leaves on top

Great as a salad or as a side for rice or chapatis


I am going to send this off to MLLA - 23 an event hosted over at The Well-Seasoned Cook by Susan who is also the founder of this even and my kind of person with her love of all things beans.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chick Peas Pulav




Here is the deal. I have a garden patch in a corner of my backyard. My neighbor's huge cedar pines cast their shadow on the patch and the number of hours the patch gets sunlight is reduced to just 3-4 hours in a day making it possible to grow only leafy greens or those plants that do like shade. The same cedar pines which provide shade for our impromptu picnics in the backyard and block those cold winds during the winter are a nuisance during the summer.




It is a garden patch which in pure dollar terms may not be much but the hard work that went into making the patch grow is worth substantially more and the vegetables that come of it, well can't really put a price on it. What if the trees are blocking some expensive solar panels? Reminded me of this court case in California that was in the news a few years ago. Trees Block Solar Panels, and a Feud Ends in Court.




No guys no, I am not going to drop everything and sue my neighbors. But this news I had read did come to my mind almost instantly. Who said going green was easy? As many more people start putting in solar panels and backyard gardens, as the sun rays become dearer, more people are going to find anything that blocks those rays as a nuisance or worse a sort of economic hardship. All sun exposure and no trees, that is not a pleasant situation either is it?

While you ponder those serious matters here is a recipe for a quick meal. You all know one pot meals are handy and tasty at the same time. If you like chickpeas and tired of the ubiquitous channa masala which also happens to be my foolproof fallback recipe this one is for you.

The rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker, electric rice cooker or stove top. The steps include where the contents should be transferred to an electric cooker.




Ingredients
1. 1 1/2 cups of Chickpeas soaked overnight
2. 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
3. 1 cup of sliced onions
4. 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes (2-3 tomatoes)
5. 2 inch piece of ginger + 5 garlic cloves + 5 green chilies minced fine or run through a food processor
6. 2 handfuls of mint leaves chopped
7. 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
8. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (adjust to taste)
9. to powder - 3 cloves, 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick + a small piece of star anise (optional, substitute with garam masala or leave it out)
10. seasonings: curry leaves, 1 bay leaf and a pinch of fennel seeds
11. salt to taste
12. 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp ghee

Method
1. Pressure cook the chick peas for one whistle and set aside (should be only 3/4 th cooked). Wash and soak for the rice for 1/2 hour
2. Heat a pressure pan (or a pan in which you can cook the rice to finish) and add oil when hot add the seasonings.
3. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent, add the minced garlic,ginger,green chillies and saute for a few more minutes, take care not to burn them
4. Add the powdered spice mix if doing so, add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and saute till they wilt
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them get soft
6. Add the rice and chickpeas and mix it in [I usually have the sauteing done 2-3 hours earlier to this stage and cook the rice when we are ready to eat]
7.Add enough water 2 1/2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Check for salt and heat and add salt and chili powder as required.
Transfer to an electric rice cooker with the required water at this stage and cook the rice there.
8. Let the rice cook till 3/4th of the water is absorbed
9. Close the lid of the pressure cooker, put the weight and let cook in low medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat, don't wait for the whistle, let it sit for 10-15 minutes before opening and mixing everything together.

Serve with raita of choice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cauliflower Kurma

Not to milk this laundry horse for all its worth but listen this once and I will stop. I saw Asha's comment on the previous post about Bombay Ghat and then later in the day turned to Al Jazeera TV to get my dose of World News and what do you know they are talking about this exact same place. We do not subscribe to cable and what the four broadcast channels call World News is confined to the continental US. Well anyway we get a few international channels which are free including France 24 and Al Jazeera our source for real World News that is.

Like the Bombay dhabba walahs, it is amazing the volume of clothes that this place and of course the dhobis handle and how everybody's stuff gets to the right people after it is washed. Dhobis interviewed there were of the firm belief that machine washed clothes can never compete with the clean of a dhobi wash. I for one am not offering a bet against that statement.



It seems like this news is following me. I could not get a link to this show on the web site. But do a search for Bombay Ghat and there is tons of information, that is if you are interested.

This will end the laundry series.

Moving on to the recipe. My mom makes a cauliflower which is by far our favoirte with dosai. It goes well with chapatis as well. I added coconut, roasted channa dal (pottukadalai) and poppy seeds paste to make the kurma slightly creamy as we were primarily eating this with chapatis. Give this a miss and it is still good. My mother cooks this in the pressure cooker but if I do that with the cauliflower I get here, it will turn into a mush. So make your choice accordingly.





Cauliflower Kurma
Ingredients
1. 1 Medium sized cauliflower separated to florets - 3 cups
2. 1/2 cup chopped onions + 1/2 cup finely cut onions
3. 2 inch piece of ginger
4. 1 tomato chopped fine 1/4 cup
5. a handful of coriander leaves
6. 8 green chilies (adjust to taste)
7. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
8. 1 tsp turmeric powder
9. seasonings: cumin seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves
10. salt to taste

For Paste (optional)
1. 1 tbsp grated fresh/frozen coconut
2. 1 tbsp roasted channa dal (pottu kadalai)
3. 2 tsp poppy seeds (soak in water for an hour)
blend to a paste and set aside

Method
1. In pan add a few drops of oil, saute the onions when brown add coriander seeds green chilies, ginger and saute for a few more minutes, cool and blend to a paste along with coriander leaves.
2. In a pan heat a tsp of oil add the seasonings, followed by the chopped onions and saute till translucent.
3. Add the tomatoes and saute till they are soft, add the cauliflower, turmeric powder and saute for a minute or two.
4. Now add the onion paste along with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water, salt and let it cook for 5-6 minutes or till the cauliflower is cooked. (stop here and let it be watery if using for dosai.
5. If adding the coconut paste, add now, mix it and let it come to a boil. Switch off heat.

Serve with chapatis, goes well with dosai or idli.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Simple Lunches - 20 (Cabbage with whole green moong)

Our Washington Post newspaper is accompanied by a magazine supplement every Sunday like I think most papers in the US do. I get to the magazine during the week usually while watching some vacuous show on TV. Imagine my surprise and utter delight when I saw this article in the magazine. It seemed like a lovely coincidence coming right after this post. I am so very glad to know that a humble laundry line can teach so much about culture and identity.

"On our 16-month journey from Southeast Asia to North Africa, we were consistently drawn to the colorful images of laundry hanging off balconies, over bushes and on river banks. Our initial interest may have been a reflection of our spin-cycled, machine-dried perspective, but the more we traveled, the more the laundry became, for us, an essential part of the landscape...." Read, Following the Line: Photographing laundry around the world and do not miss the slide show.

When my mom visits us here she requests that I buy cabbage on every trip to the grocery store. The reason being it is very easy to make a quick stir fry along with some dal and a meal is ready. I am not particularly fond of cabbage and the family doesn't complain about them but they don't ask for them either. But I do see the value in my mom's words. The problem is - there is always a small piece laying around the fridge forlornly aftr the bulk has been used for a stir fry. This recipe came about trying to use up one such piece. A very simple and light side dish for rice or chapatis. I used whole moong dal but they would work with channa dal, toor dal or split moong dal cooked just enough to retain the shape.



Cabbage with whole green moong
1. 1 1/2 cup of thinly shredded cabbage
2. 1 Cup whole moong cooked (soft but should retain the shape)
3. 4 green chilies slit
4. 2 tbsp chopped shallots
5. 1 tsp grated ginger + 2 cloves chopped garlic(optional)
6. 1 tsp sambhar powder
7. seasonings: mustard, cumin and curry leaves
8. salt + 1 tsp ghee

Method
1. In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil or ghee and add the seasonings followed by the green chilies and shallots and saute till the onions turn brown.
2. Add the garlic and ginger if using and saute for a minute more.
3. Add the cabbage and salt and let it cook till it gets a bit soft (should retain some crunch)
4. Add the cooked moong dal and a bit of the water they were cooked in.
5. Add salt and sambhar powder, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with chapatis or rice.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Butternut squash, Potatoes and Radish stir fry Bengali style (Ghonto)

I am sure you all remember the fanfare with which I started the Bengali cooking series back in March. I had a mile long list of Bengali dishes to cook and starting the series seemed like a good idea because I was planning to cook at least one dish a week. That sort of fell in the way side.



You all think that Sandeepa just blogs about Bengali recipes? No! Don't ask me when, Sandeepa (don't roll your eyes, yes it did take me that long) had sent me that mother of all Bengali spices - panch phoran to induct me into the pleasures of cooking Bengali dishes. I saved the package safely and finally a few days after Sandeepa posted the recipe for Palang Shaak er Ghonto decided to retrieve it from the safe and give the recipe a go with just the Ghonto, the Palang got cooked separtely different style.



Of all the spices in the panch phoran nigella seeds is something I have never used before the aroma though new was just intoxicating.

I left the spinach out of the stir fry because the mashed greens a very simple recipe is a family favorite. Rice, greens and the stir fry were all made just for each other.



Recipe Source:Palang Shaak er Ghonto
Butternut squash, Potatoes and Radish stir fry
Ingredients
1. 2 Cups of cubed butternut squash
2. 1 Cup Potatoes cubed
3. 1/4 Cup Red Radish cubed
4. 3 green chilies slit
5. 2 red chilies broken in half
6. 2 tsp panch phoran
7. 1 tsp sambhar powder optional (in lieu of the cumin powder)
8. 1 tsp oil
9. salt to taste
Method
1. In a wide mouthed pan heat the oil and the green and red chilies and the panch phoran. When they get a bit browned,
2. Add all the veggies mix in with panch phoran, close the lid and cook for 10-12 minutes ( I like the squash a bit mushy so the potatoes and the squash got tossed together, else cook the potatoes first followed by the squash after 5 minutes)
3. Open the lid add the sambhar powder and saute for a few more minutes.

Serve with rice and mashed greens

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mexican Rice(with puy lentils) served with Mango-Avocado Salad



What is the first thought that comes to your time when you look at the picture above?

Memories of an easier time? Airing laundry in public? Environmentally friendly? or Could it be the thoughts of the inescapable chore that has to be taken care of every weekend, the folding that comes later on or the piles of unfolded laundry laying on the bed?

As for me it brings thoughts those special moments spent with my mom. Let me explain before you think I am some sort of weirdo.

Not long ago back home a laundry person came home and took care of all the laundry needs. In recent years that has started to change with the advent of washing machines.

When I was a child mom was a busy with her profession and as was the case with most doctors, patients needs came first. I grumbled and complained and whined when she had to go attend to her patients. My brother who much younger than me handled it much better than I ever did. This was how it was for a long time even when we went home for holidays. She did double duty then.

Then a few years ago my mom retired and things changed. But you know how it is when we visit home, moms take it upon themselves to pamper and spoil. When grandchildren are involved it only gets worse. She is as busy as ever only now the profession is not there to make demands on the time.

Mom follows a routine, early every morning she climbs the stairs with the load of dirty clothes up to the terrace to the laundry room. There she separates the whites from the colors and loads the washing machine, while the machine runs she takes a few of the clothes over to the wash basin to soap and rinse. This routine rarely changes. When I am home I usually follow her to the laundry room. The rest of the household is still in the final hours of their blissful sleep before the heat gets to them. During the summer (where I lived and of course my parents still do, heat is a constant the seasons being hot, hotter and hottest) the early morning hours are the best with a coolness in the air and the occasional breeze. Your head is clear and you actually think straight before the heat starts beating down with a vengeance.

Those early morning hours with my mother selfishly were to be mine and mine alone before the world started making demands on her time. As she hung clothes on the line I followed jabbering and trying to make myself useful. This time is when we had our conversations on different subjects, gossiped and/or just enjoyed quiet moments together. Every visit back home I eagerly look forward to those moments.




Here during the summer months I wash the clothes and hang them out to dry and they immediately bring those memories back. I relish the quiet, contemplative moments this simple chore of hanging clothes brings and maybe I understand a little bit why my mom prefers to do them early in the morning. DDs sometimes join me and the activity seems to calm them too. Hopefully years from now this mundane activity would give them the same simple pleasure as it does me.

Miss you Mom and Happy Mother's Day!


soaked lentils


Every culture/cuisine as we all know has their own version of rice and dal and it perhaps symbolizes the comfort food at its best. Few months ago on TV saw a Mexican Rice and beans dish cooked with whole pigeon peas and some sort of meat. I had puy lentils on hand and searched for a suitable recipe.


Mango-Avocado Salad (cut ripe mangoes, avocado with a dash of lemon juice)

This one on the Homesick Texan was the one that looked closest to what I had seen. I soaked the lentils for a couple of hours so they cook in the time the rice cooks.

The rice goes well with a side of Avocado and Mangoes. I was planning to call it salsa, DD2 correctly pointed out that it should be called salad.




Recipe Source: Mexican Rice from Homesick Texan
Mexican Rice with puy lentils with Mango-Avocado Salad
Ingredients
1. 1 cup of puy lentils soaked for a couple of hours and washed clean
2. 1 1/2 cups of rice
3. 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
4. 1/2 cup tomato chopped
5. 1 cup of onion chopped
6. 5 garlic cloves minced
7. 2 tbsp lime juice
8. 1 tsp black pepper
9. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
10. 2-3 tsp oil or butter
11. 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
12. handful of chopped cilantro leaves [optional, I did not add them]
13. salt to taste

Method
1. In a pressure cooker heat the oil saute the onions till soft, add the garlic and saute till they are browned
2. Add the pepper powder, cumin powder and red chili powder and mix it in
3. Add the tomatoes and let them cook till they are mushy
4. Add about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, the soaked lentils and rice, switch of the heat and let it sit for an hour or two [See note if you cannot let it sit]
5. Turn on the heat, add the rest of the broth bring it to a boil and let the liquid reduce about 8-10 minutes
6. Add the lemon juice, salt, cilantro, close the lid, put the weight on and let it cook in medium low heat for 6-8 minutes (the time depends on how much liquid is left, do not wait for the whistle). Alternately once the liquid starts to boil the contents can be transferred to an electric cooker and cooked to completion.
7. Switch off the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes before the lid is opened.

Serve with Mango-Avocado salad or a tomato salsa.

Note:
1. Soaking the lentils is required so they get cooked in the same time as the rice
2. Soak the rice ahead of time if you do not want to let them sit and marinate in the onion-tomato sauce
3. If you do not want to use pressure cooker, cook on stove top but make sure the rice does not stick and keep the heat at low.
4. Care while adding salt because the broth already has salt.

This will be an entry to MLLA - 23 an event hosted over at The Well-Seasoned Cook by Susan who is also the amazing inventor of this event.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spinach and Mint Paruppu Vadai (fritters made with lentils and greens)



If you were taking a road trip in India, you are more than likely to stop under the cool shade of a tamarind tree for a break to stretch your legs or to spread out a picnic meal and hard to resist a taste of the tender green tamarind. The roads leading to my grandparent's village were lined with Jamun trees and during season tasting those mud splattered fruits was a delight unto itself. Should we say thanks to King Ashoka? He was instrumental in promoting the planting of roadside fruit trees and rest areas.


Split peas ready to hit the blender with the spices

Contrast this to trees on the road side here in the US, they are invariably trees that don't flower or fruit and exception being a few weeks in a year when they will be in a blaze of color. Seeing rows and rows of trees is no doubt pleasurable but it was surprising for me as a new immigrant not to see a lone fruit tree. May be an occasional crab apple tree usually on older residential streets but none on the interstates or rest areas. The obvious reasons that come to your mind are all the reasons that they you do not see them. Nuisance from birds and falling fruit littering the streets being most common. I only wished there were more serious reasons for not planting fruit trees!


blended dal

Paruppu vadai, bhajjis and medhu vadai. What do these snacks remind you of? Good Times? They always remind me of my summer vacation at my maternal grandparent's with a house full of aunts and uncles and cousins . Whenever a choice was offered invariably the bhajji or medhu vadai got the most votes, paruppu vadai never had a chance. Not that I missed it much. I preferred medhu vadai and so picked it when I was ready to deep fry. Latha of A Peek into My Kitchen had these crunchy and very tasty looking Mint Vadais and a thought slowly crept into my mind result of which are these Spinach Paruppu vadais.




Blended dal mixed in with the greens
Another important requirement for these snacks is to share it with good company and that is what we did. Our good friends came over for an impromptu snack eating and chatting.

Recipe Adapted From: Mint Vadai at A Peek into My Kitchen

Photobucket

Spinach and Mint Paruppu Vadai
Ingredients
1. 2 cups green split peas (yellow split peas or channa dal can be used)
2. 1/4 cup toor dal
3. 5 red chilies
4. 1 tsp fennel seeds
5. 2 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1/2 tsp asfoetida

7. 1 cup finely chopped onions
8. 6 green chilies chopped fine
9. 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
10. 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
11. 1 cup chopped mint leaves
12. a handful of chopped curry leaves
13. salt to taste
14. peanut oil for deep frying

Method
1. Wash the split peas and toor dal and soak for 2-3 hours
2. Discard and remove water completely save a handful of the dal and blend the rest with the first 6 ingredients and salt to a slightly coarse mixture.
3. Heat the oil in a pan to deep fry
4. Mix in the chopped greens , saved dal and salt to the dal mixture
5. Take a small lemon sized dal mixture, pat in the palm the hand to make a flat pattie
6. Drop in the oil and fry on both sides to golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve with cucumbers/carrots and some tomato sauce on the side.

Note:
1. Add the greens and onions just before making the vadais
2. Wash and pat dry the greens completely before chopping and adding to the dal mixture.
3. Less the moisture less in the dal mixture the less oil the vadai will absorb while frying.

Off this will go to Blog Bites #3: Adaptation over at our favorite blog One Hot Stove.