February 09, 2007
Something To Snack On..
We have been having a great (!@#$) week with first our cooking range getting replaced(it had conked off)and now with the heating system playing havoc on us. Just in time to get the brunt of the cold as the Northeast has finally entered into deep winter. So while the temperature outside is 15-25 F, when I came home from work yesterday, the temperature inside was 47 F. The furnace was getting repaired today but not till noon. So we dressed in more layers, turned up the room heater but it was still so cold, I turned on the oven!
It's only at such times that I realise how much of our creature comforts are taken for granted. I remember growing up in the Delhi winters with no central heat, with all of us huddled around the heater or under the blanket, constantly munching and guzzling something hot. I tried explaining such a scenario to my son and he didn't get it. He was asking why we didn't get the heat repaired.:)Kids!
So I kept warm by frying snacks on my new range. Something I don't normally do but maybe the circumstances made me yearn for comfort food..the snack mixture that my mom always had on hand. She would make huge batches of it for us. We used to sit down with a good book and a bowl of mixture in the afternoons after coming from school. Very easy to make and very unhealthy. And of course you can't stop eating it.
It is a mix of fried sev or noodles, peanuts, curry leaves, poha and ribbon pakoda. Keeps well for a week or more. And definitely better than whatever you buy from the Indian store as it is freshly made.
I know there are healthier version of this made with cornflakes and raisins etc but today, I am going all out.
Update:Now the heating system is back on so we are warm again(Thank God!) and I do have a new cooking range so all I need to do is find a good movie to enjoy this snack mix with.
You will need:
3 cups Gram Flour(Besan or Kadala Podi)
1 cup Rice Flour
1-2 tsp Red Chili Powder
A pinch of Turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
Peanuts- a handful
Curry leaves- 4-5 sprigs
Oil- Enough for deep frying.
Special Equipment:Idiappam press.
1. Make a dough of the rice flour, gram flour, chili powder, turmeric, a pinch of asafoetida and salt. The dough should be wet (Idiappam consistency)and plaible enough to go through the noodle press but not too wet. Add water slowly as needed. Uses about 1 1/2 cup water.
2. Heat oil in a deep frying pan or wok(kadai)and when it is hot enough, test by dropping one tiny piece of dough. It should come to the surface promptly. Set the dough in the press with the noodles mould. Reduce heat and press the noodles directly into the oil, doing about three rounds. Turn the heat back up and let it fry for about 30 seconds on each side. It gets cooked real fast on high heat, so stand close. Drain onto paper towels or newspapers. Repeat for about 5-6 times. Sprinkle a bit of chili powder and salt (if needed).
3. Change the press design to the ribbon and press soem ribbons into the pan now. Ribbons take some more time and they need to be cooked on low heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat as needed.
4. Now fry a handful of peanuts till golden brown and drian. Fry the curry leaves similarly and drain. Fry the poha or aval too. I used the red aval as that was what I had at hand. The white ones are crispier. That cooks instantly so you just need to put it in a deep strainer and hold it under the oil and when it puffs up,immediatley remove it.
5. You can fry bhoondis or droplets too. It is a little tricky as you have to slightly thin the dough with water to make it pourable consistency. Hold a large slotted spoon over the oil and pour a spoon of batter over it. Shake the slotted spoon slightly to allow the drops to fall seperately. As it puffs up, remove and drain.
6. Now mix everythiing in a large bowl, slightly crushing the big pieces and add a dash of asafoetida and salt or chilipowder if needed.
Store in an air tight container.