Saturday, April 5, 2008

Quali-fried Snack!

As a school kid evening snack was as important as lunch, breakfast or dinner. Rather they were of higher importance coz most of the time we never knew the snack for the day. And there is nothing like a great snack and tea at evening after a tiring day in school. Most of the time it would be carry over from breakfast like left over puttu resteamed with additional coconut grated …Else it would be second show running of the dosa or idli’s…Anyway we were not a big fan of those as we had more fascination for bakery items. Some times it would be the butter bun or the bakery bread that we called as Bormo bread…Till date I have no clue where we got that name from. Maybe it is just the name of a bakery or some silly names we created ourselves.

Talking of bread, reminds me another incident which happen in the early 90’s...It was my first trip to Bangalore or infact our first trip outside Kerala barring the Velankanni trips...A incident which my cousins untiringly make fun of me even today.

My dad’s wallet got stolen during a bus ride and we realized it when we got down somewhere near Utility Towers…We had planned the great Indian family shopping trip that night. I heard Dad telling Mom that he lost around 1000 bucks... Considering that those times I was not used to hearing that kind of princely figure and I was more familiar with 20 or 50 paisas or at the most 10 rupees, I assumed that the 1000 bucks was all that dad had. I mean the entire wealth/savings/investments/capital etc.etc. Dad had. I was flabbergasted and stunned and sad that night, that on the way back to our place a very emotionally choked me declared to Appa and Amma…

’Nammakku inniyum vela kurunjaa roti medichu jeevikaam’.

Remember I was dead serious when I told this and I don’t remember how they reacted to it...But this incident reached all my relatives and cousins…and once in a while when they see me or talk over phone they joke....’Hello Chekku…evide nammal vella kurunjaa roti medichaa jeevikunnei’. It has been probably 20 years since it happened and still!! ;-(

Coming back to evening snacks, the crowning glory would be the puffs, which would be eaten with such immaculate care. I used to finish the cover layers first leaving the last but one layer and the crunchy meat inside. Making sure that I elaborately showed and moved it around in my brother’s line of sight before enjoying it. And on special days or if Amma was not tired after work, we would have banana fry or sugians.I can keep telling about my fav evening snacks.

Well coming to the point the other day I was reminded of all these memories and suddenly it stuck me that it has been ages since I had a tea time snack desi style. For about a year and half it was just tea and maybe some chocolate buns / cakes or croissants. . I was getting real bored of them.

Last Saturday I thought of re-living a tea time snack moment...freshly cooked and Indian.
I opened the fridge and saw this huge cauliflower. It was just a week before we had a great laugh at home when my roomie bought cabbage thinking it was cauliflower. I asked him where are the florets…

He said in remarkable confidence...’those are inside…’

So I peeled one layer of cabbage leaves and asked him.

‘Now where??

That’s when he got suspicious but still quite sure…

‘You gotta take one more layer out…it might be there somewhere inside’

After the second layer I couldn’t bear not to laugh and had a good timing making fun of him abt that.

Cauliflower was a favorite vegetable of mine back home. It was not exactly coz of the taste. But coz it was rarely bought at home…I thought it was good because it was scarce.

So that Saturday afternoon I was inspired to make cauliflower pakodas to over come the years of fascination for that vegetable. And since I love the taste of fried onion, I thought lets make it a bilateral pakodas…So here it goes.

Cut the cauliflower into smaller florets and clean it.
Cook the florets in water along with a pinch of salt until they are like 70% cooked.
Drain out the water and keep the cauliflower aside.
Slice like 4-5 large onions, a dozen green chillies and add it to the cooked cauliflower.
Add two tea spoons of ginger garlic paste, 2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, sufficient salt and a bunch of curry leaves to it.
Mix the entire stuff allowing the masala to be coated evenly over the veggies.
After sometime add 1-2 cups of gram flour and a pinch of turmeric to it and mix everything with hand.
There is probably enough moisture from the cooked cauliflower to get a thick batter of the entire mix. Otherwise add more water but make sure the consistency is even and the masala’s evenly spread out. Add salt again if required..
Meanwhile pour oil in a frying vessel and allow it to heat up.
Take a small lump of the batter and drop it in the frying pan. Turn it around and fry evenly until it is golden brown.
Taste this sample vedikattu and add more spice if necessary to the remaining batter.
Now you can fry the rest of the mix pretty fast in set of 6-7 pakodas depending on the size of your pan.

This snack goes very well with the 4 o clock tea on a lazy Saturday evening and goes very well with a beer too…

And the chef had a hearty snack that weekend!! :-)