Friday, February 24, 2012

Recipe of the month: Maddur Vade



As with my previous blog post, this post is an extension of my vacation in India as it is something that I associate very closely with home.

Allow me to paint you a picture - It is a rainy weekend afternoon; you are in a relaxed state of mind having completed all your chores and curl up to read a good book. At this juncture, imagine you had a steaming cup of filter coffee and some piping hot maddur vades with coconut chutney in front of you? Ah! life couldn't get better. Hmmmm on second thoughts, the only way it could get better is if someone else did the cooking and then handed it to you on a platter. Oh well! 

Maddur is a place between Mysore and Bangalore in Karnataka, India. It is famous for these vadas which as you can see get their name from. Rooted in my mind are childhood memories of driving down from Mysore to Bangalore with my family and stopping by to eat these vadas (which were usually packed in newspaper). Of course my Dad was always worried about hygiene considering these vadas were mostly prepared by road side street vendors so these trips were very infrequent. Still, whenever I hear or read about maddur vade, it always brings back pleasant memories of my hometown and childhood. 

I had no idea how to make these vadas until one day I was trying to figure out what Indian fried snack to make for a dinner party. I was sick and tired of the usual pakoda-bonda-bajji-cutlet-samosa routine so was trying to come up with something a bit more unusual. My hubby suggested maddur vade so I began combing the internet to find a good recipe. I came across several of them and picked this particular one (http://www.tasteofmysore.com/2009/02/maddur-vade.html) since it looked easy and authentic. I am always very apprehensive about trying a new recipe on the day of a party especially when I don't have any backup plan!  But this recipe alleviated all my concerns since the finished product turned out to be pretty good for a first time effort.

Here is the recipe which I tweaked it a tiny bit from the original. Follow it to a T and you cannot go wrong. Serve it with coconut chutney along with a steaming cup of coffee or tea and you will be guaranteed to win any popularity contest! We had these vadas in a restaurant in Bangalore just last week and my hubby said the ones I made were much better :)

Preparation time: 40 min (Level: Easy)
Serves: 5-6 (makes about 10-12)

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped red onions 
2-3 finely chopped green chilies 
5-8 roughly chopped curry leaves 
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1 cup maida/all purpose flour 
1/2 cup chiroti rava/fine semolina
2 tbsp rice flour
a pinch of hing/asafoetida
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera (optional)
1/4 cup hot oil (vegetable oil)
Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method: 
  1. Mix all ingredients given above using a spoon to avoid scalding your fingers by the hot oil. 
  2. Leave the mixture aside for 15 minutes. The moisture in onions will wet the flour at this stage.
  3. If you do not intend to deep fry at this stage, do not mix the flour with water. You can mix it with water just before you want to deep fry. This tip helps prevent the dough becoming soggy. 
  4. Heat oil over medium-flame. While the oil is heating, sprinkle water over the flour and mix the dough. Do this in increments until the dough resembles a firm chapathi/roti dough.
  5. Make a small lemon sized ball and pat it on a greased banana leaf or alternatively non sticky paper /laminated paper/parchment paper to make a nice circle. Do not fret if the edges seem a bit jagged....that just adds to the authenticity of the dish!
  6. Transfer these to your fingers (hold it on 4 fingers) and slide them into the hot oil. Be careful while doing this. 
  7. Fry them till they are reddish-brown and crisp. Drain them on a kitchen towel. 
  8. Enjoy hot hot vades with coconut chutney as an evening snack with coffee or tea.

Tips:
  • If you have enough patience, use a measuring cup to measure out the ingredients 
  • Use fresh oil and while heating, be careful to not get the oil smoking. Test fry one vada to make sure the oil is hot enough and the seasoning is right. Note that these vadas do not take much time to turn golden brown. I tend to fry most Indian snacks until slightly more than golden brown (as you can see in the picture) coz that is how I like it! 
  • The way you pat down these vadas is very similar to what you do for akki rottis. Make sure that the paper is greased well so it easy to pick up the vadas
  • To change the flavor a bit, you could add a pod of garlic or a few leaves of mint to the chutney

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