August 18, 2008

Potato Bonda

One of the things I like best about spending time at my parents’ place is the little goodies I get from time to time. When I was a hosteller, Amma would keep all her special stuff for the weekends. And in all the years that I’ve been away, she has meticulously planned mealtimes for the time that I would visit. A couple of years ago, I told her to stop making so much food. I am a poor eater and so to manage
Undyo for breakfast, Paruppu Urundai, Milagu Kuzhambu and Milagu Rasam for lunch and Pizza for dinner with some lemon cheese cake thrown in for dessert can get tough. I felt I couldn’t do justice to anything at all. I then allowed her one special dish per visit. And everything else had to be regular food that they ate. Even if it meant leftovers. Nowadays, she sometimes doesn’t cook at all when I visit. I offer to cook or we eat something simple. Like Methi Thepla or Aloo Paratha or Aloo Tikki. Appa’s favourite is the potato bonda. Most days, he doesn’t have any dinner. A bowl of yogurt or a glass of apple milkshake are all that he has. Unless potato bonda is on the dinner menu.

This is the South Indian avatar of this dish. Similar to and yet different from its cousin, the batata vada.

For the Batter:

1/2 cup Gram Flour (Besan)
1/4 cup Rice Flour
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Hot Oil

For the Filling:

3-4 Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
1 tsp Ginger Paste
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped
Salt to taste

For the tempering:

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

Oil for frying

Heat the oil for the tempering in a frying ladle. Add the mustard. When the mustard splutters, add the asafoetida. Add the tempering to the potatoes, mixed with salt, chilli and ginger paste, and coriander leaves, and mash the entire mixture. Make small balls and keep aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the batter. Add enough water to make a thick batter.

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Dip the potato balls in the gram flour batter and drop carefully into the oil. Deep fry the bondas until they turn golden brown all around. Drain on absorbent paper and enjoy them with tomato sauce.

(Someone had asked me once what I meant by chilli paste. This is just ground chillies (or ginger or garlic) with a little bit of preservative (Sodium Benzoate or Potassium Metabi Sulphide). Made at right at home. Please feel free to substitute freshly chopped chillies (or ginger or garlic) wherever any of my recipes calls for paste.)

This plate of bondas is off to dear Anita as she celebrates the Anniversary of her blog with a virtual Mad Tea Party. Deep fried love... couldn't get any better than this.

August 14, 2008

Grilled Sweet Potato Slices

It is a well known fact. I love experimenting. But some experiments turn out to be disasters. And I have no choice but to learn from them. This is one such disaster. Great in taste, but not exactly pretty to look at. This is another adapted recipe from the book "Favorite Vegetarian Dishes" and I was longing to try it. I quite like sweet potatoes. As a side vegetable, in sambar, on the streets of Delhi in the cold, cold winters, the list is endless. But I think I also know now that the sweet potatoes we get in India (Sakkaravalli Kizhangu in Tamil, Shakarkand in Hindi) are very different from the pictures the book showed me. Wiki tells me that "Its flesh ranges from white through yellow, orange, and purple." My sweet potatoes were mostly white. They just had some dark spots. And unless I get nice sweet potatoes, I doubt I'll make this. But as far as taste goes, this one was very good.

2 Sweet Potatoes, parboiled

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Red Chilli Sauce

Salt to taste

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes.

Mix the oil, chilli sauce and salt together. Brush this mixture over the sweet potato slices. Grill for 12-15 minutes, turning the slices over halfway.

This recipe wouldn't have made it to this blog (especially after this mini-hiatus) had it not been for Sig and the fact that she is guest hosting the Monthly Mingle. The things one does for friends!

August 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

The NaBloPoMo took its toll all right! But I had to come back and post right away. I couldn’t let Sachin’s birthday go by without as much as a simple post. I threw a small get together to ring in his birthday and then we cut this cake in the wee hours of the morning. There was a lot of food. I made some Corn and Cheese Croquettes, Mini Cutlets, and Cocktail Pizzas for the starters. We had some Peas Pulao , Paneer in Coconut Milk , Egg Curry, Aloo Jeera and Rice Rotis for dinner. There was more food than we could eat which always helps in a post birthday hangover because I don’t like cooking the next day.

(And amidst all this cooking, I met up with Anita who had brought over some yummy pickle and her famous Goda Masala. I have been wanting to try out her cluster beans recipe for about a year now. Ask and you shall receive is the key phrase here. I asked and I received. Thank you so much Anita!)

I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the food, but I did manage to take pictures of the cake.

2 cups Flour
6 tbsp Oil
¾ cup Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg, beaten
2/3 cup Milk

For the Icing:
6 tbsp Butter, softened
2 1/3 cups Icing sugar
1/4 cup Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
1/3 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Grease and line two 8-inch cake tins. Mix together the ingredients for the topping.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together. Add the oil, milk and beaten egg and whisk together. Divide the batter between the two cake tins.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.

For the icing:

Beat butter in a mixer jar. Add icing sugar and chocolate syrup alternately with the milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in the vanilla.

To Proceed:

Place one cake and pour the icing over it. Place the second cake over this and cover with icing. You may refrigerate the cake to help the icing set.

After the dinner party on the eve of his birthday, I treated S to lunch at
Punjabi By Nature after which we went shopping. I bought much more for myself than I did for him and I feel bad about it. But all the discount sales are only around his birthday, so I can’t really help it, can I? Happy Birthday Sachin!