Batata Vada

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It is Diwali time. Diwali is only two days away. We deck up in our best clothes, cook delicious food and share it with family and friends. We go to each other’s homes bearing gifts of all kinds, sweet and savory, mithais, dry fruits, namkeen.

It’s always lovely to have family and friends over during the festive season. Our homes are lit up with diyas and pretty rangolis are drawn at the door. We fill up delicate bowls and plates of silver with sweetmeats, first serve them as an offering to God and then decorate the table with them for guests. Atithi Devo Bhava, or, the guest is God is a well known Indian saying. We do treat our guests like God.

This is also a time to reflect, to root out evil, and light up our selves with good, cleanse our souls of impurity, let our hearts and minds soak in the light of the incandescent diyas we light in our homes.

Lets share and care, give love and receive it in return, not take more than our due, and live a life of compassion, love and kindness.

Everyone is doing sweetmeat recipes so this Diwali, which is the first on my blog, I am sharing a savory recipe. Batata Vada. It means crisp potato balls dipped in a batter of gram flour, fried in oil with lots of garlic and green chilly-ginger paste as masala in the stuffing, eaten with a chutney of your liking.

Make it this way to delight yourself and your loved ones! Here is the recipe.

Batata Vada

Ingredients

For the Vada

2 tablespoons oil

500 gms boiled and mashed potatoes

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

8 to 10 cloves of garlic chopped finely or 4 sprigs of fresh garlic chopped finely till the ends.

1 tablespoon of chilly-ginger paste

A nice pinch of asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

A sprig of curry leaves

Some finely chopped fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

For the batter or covering

1 1/2 cups gram flour

A pinch of asafoetida

1 tablespoon oil

A pinch of soda bicarb

Chilly powder to taste

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method

1 In a medium sized pan put the two tablespoons of oil on a medium flame. When hot put in the mustard seeds and let pop. Put in the finely chopped garlic and cook till a nice aroma wafts through. Add the green chilly-ginger paste and cook it for a minute. Now add the asafoetida, turmeric powder and stir for a few seconds. Add the  curry leaves, fresh coriander, lemon juice and salt and mix in the mashed potatoes. Stir the mixture well to blend in all the spices and herbs.

2 Make 10 to 12 balls from the potato mixture and keep aside.

3 Mix all the ingredients for the batter with a little water to make a batter of flowing consistency. Keep the batter a little thin to get a crisp and light outer cover for the vadas.

4 Heat the oil for frying in a deep bottomed pan. Dip the potato balls one at a time in the batter and drop gently in the hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Remove and serve hot with a chutney of your liking.

 

 

 

Fried Peanuts With Onions

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This is a true party snack. Those of us who have a defense background with our families in the armed forces will know it well. When dad was in the Air Force it was often served at parties with hard drinks for the officers and soft or hard drinks for the officers’ wives, which ever they preferred. We kids loved this dish too and so it became a family favorite.

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We made it for the parties we gave at home, and we did have so many parties in the Air Force. We entertained a lot. Our dads worked hard flying sorties at odd times of the day and night, and the armed forces wives were true uncut diamonds, with tremendous inner strength. Many a times the commanding officer would instruct his squadron pilots to fly off in the middle of the night on a mission that the families weren’t to be told about, but that was life in the Air Force.

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But these men and their ladies worked hard and played hard.  They were fearless and loved fiercely. The men touched the sky in glory, the ladies ran the homes, looked after the kids, sometimes all alone for long periods of time.

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Armed Forces kids are tough cookies too. They’ve travelled with their parents to places all over the country, small towns and big, and sometimes to foreign lands as well. They change schools every two or three years with every new posting and make new friends all the time.

So while it’s a tough life, it’s also a life full of adventure, sharing and caring- the camaraderie of the armed forces people is well known, with loads of love.

This I believe is the way with the people in the armed forces all over the world, not just in India. However having seen the pain as well first hand, I truly believe, that the world should dismantle its armies at the earliest and we should learn to coexist peacefully. There is no winner in war. War only brings grief and strife.

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Fried Peanuts With Onions

Makes  2 1/2 to 3 cups

Ingredients

3 tablespoons oil

200 gms or approx. 2 cups peanuts

1 finely chopped onion

2 finely chopped green chillies

salt to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

Some finely chopped fresh coriander

Method

1 Heat the oil on medium heat. Then lower the flame and lightly fry the peanuts. Do not let them burn. Take out from the pan and drain the peanuts of the oil on a paper napkin.

2 Put peanuts into a medium size bowl and add the onions, green chillies, salt and lemon juice and give the dish a good stir. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate And Cashew Nut Sandwich

 

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Have this delightfully luxurious, toasted sandwich for breakfast. The sandwich will make you drool and the kids won’t get enough of it. You can have it with a glass of cold milk in these summer months, but even tea or coffee will do fine. And perhaps a plate of chopped mixed fruit.

Please roast the cashew nuts whole, before chopping them into pieces, because pieces will burn easily. You can roast them in the oven or on a skillet (tawa).

Chocolate and Cashew Nut Sandwich

Makes 6 half sandwiches

Ingredients.

6 bread slices

6 tablespoons chocolate spread

2-3 tablespoons roasted and finely chopped cashew nuts

Method

1 Toast the bread slices until golden in colour.

2 Layer the toasted bread slices with chocolate spread and sprinkle cashew nuts on 3 slices in an even layer.

3 Now put the remaining 3 toasted slices on the ones with the nuts, press gently, cut each sandwich into half and serve immediately.

Variation: Chocolate, cashew nut and cardamom sandwich- Add some freshly ground cardamom powder with the cashew nuts into the above sandwich.

 

Aloo Poha

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Aloo Poha or Flattened Rice With Potatoes And Spices is the breakfast dish for Indians. It is light and yet very tasty, and you’ll find carts selling this bright yellow dish sprinkled with coriander and grated fresh coconut and sometimes pomegranate seeds at every street corner.

This recipe here, is my mom, Rohini’s. And I promise you it turns out delicious.

Aloo Poha
Flattened rice with potatoes.

Serves 3 -4

Ingredients

10 fresh curry leaves

3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 medium sized onions

3 medium sized potatoes

A nice pinch asafoetida

1 level teaspoon turmeric powder plus 1/2 teaspoon

1 level teaspoon salt plus 1/2 teaspoon

6 tablespoons oil

300 gms poha or flattened rice

1 teaspoon sugar or sugar to taste

1 lemon cut into quarters

Garnish

Some chopped coriander

Some grated fresh coconut (optional)

Some pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method

1 Chop the onions and potatoes into small pieces. Keep half the chopped onions aside.

2 Take a kadhai or deep bottomed pan, put the oil to heat. Put the cumin and mustard seeds and fry them for a second. Add the fresh curry leaves. When they start to sputter, add half the chopped onions. Then add the chopped potatoes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, add 1 teaspoon of salt, give the pan a good stir, splash a little water into the pan and then cover and let cook. Add a little water on the lid of the pan while cooking the onion and potato spice mix.

3 Meanwhile, very lightly wash the poha in a colander. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt to the poha and sprinkle the sugar onto it.

4 Check to see if the onion potato mix is cooked. When done, remove the pan from the fire, add the poha and stir gently to mix. Put it back on the fire, let it heat for 2 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with the remaining chopped onions, chopped coriander, grated fresh coconut, and lemon quarters.