Rava Idli

Rava Idli

When I am moping, I lie in bed while my kids climb over me, I shut my eyes tight when Yuvan pries my eyes open. I hear Hasini echo my dad’s words – “You’re always late.” Back in the days when I was single, when I was free, I’d brood on the toilet seat for hours without visitors, knocks and questions – “why are you taking so long?”, “what are you doing?”, “Did you go out the window?” (That’s a good idea!). I’d lie in bed reading all day, sleeping in between, ransacking the fridge at midnight for something sweet, going back to bed to read. Chocolate soothes me. Reading drugs me. Those days, I like to eat Paal Saadam (Rice and milk). I feel comforted.   When I am stressed, when I am wound up and exhausted after a frenetic day of work, I want to eat Dominoes Pizza and coke. I want to eat biryani and thumbs up. I want my soda. I want sugar. I want cheese. I want chocolate. I want empty calories and Vadivelu comedy. When I am happy I want to eat Molagai bajji, chocolate cake and Lasagne. When I miss home, I yearn for idli, vadai, sambar and thengai chutney and Ilayaraja songs. I want paruppu rasam saadam and fried egg and Balachander movies. When I am angry, frustrated, I want Paneer soda and friends to hear my story. A small paper cup with watery canteen coffee would do too. When I am hungover, I want Jagan’s lemon soda in a dark room. When I am busy at my laptop, I have filter coffee by my side and Hasini combing my hair. I want pattani and uppu kadalai while watching TV. There are times when I make Rava idli. I make Rava idli every time my………………………………….. yogurt turns sour. Every single time I feel ingenious to be making rava idli instead of rava upma. I am terribly proud of my soft, tender rava idlis that I make from scratch. Rava idlis were one of the first things I made after my wedding. I’d make them from MTR’s rava idli mix. I’d make MTR rava idlis and coriander chutney and wait for the Maamiyaar to be impressed. I had no clue then that making them from scratch was just as easy. You’ll never go back to buying the readymade mix once you make these...

My cooking Goals + one more Side dish for Idli Dosai – Milagai Thuvaiyal

What are your cooking goals for the year? Just putting them down makes me feel like I am organized, like I am the planning kind. I like that kind of illusion. And I always like a fresh start. So I wrote down some of my cooking goals for the year. The general theme has been to keep it simple, to take it easy and to experiment more. I’d love to know what your goals are. Make just enough chutney for now. Extra chutney in fridge will never see the light of day. “Dosai/Idli do not make a school lunch”, said Hasini. I have to agree. When I scramble out of bed 30 minutes before the school bus arrives, this is what I pack. I’ve also packed mini dosai, vengaya dosai, oothappam, podi idli, jam sandwiches and sugar & ghee sandwiches with no remorse.   Everything need not be from scratch. It can be from the store. And that is fine. It is ok to not bake your own bread, make your own pasta and manufacture your own cheese. I remember a time when I would put off buying bread because I thought that if I did then I wouldn’t bake my own bread, but I never baked bread as often because I simply didn’t have that kind of time. I am more accepting now. I bought vathals instead of waiting till summer to make my own batch. I am still obsessed about making my own podis and idli/dosa batters.   I cannot and will not make thali meals (rice, kuzhambu, poriyal kind of meal) more than 3 times a week. And that immediately means I have to do # 5.   Move out of my comfort zone and experiment more. Make at-least 2 new recipes every week. Currently on my to-try list are Murtabak, Aviyal, vada pav, Hyderabad biryani and Adhirsam among others.   To not repeat a chutney/side dish again in the same month. I am on a quest to banish the cooking routines that I tend to slip into all too easily. Coconut chutney, tomato chutney, kara chutney on rotation mode, lemon rice and potato fry on Mondays, dosai for dinners, biryani on Sundays. Not this year. Breakfast can be kanji in a mug, chaat for lunch and soup for dinner. Lord, give me the strength to defend my menu.   I’ve started to plan the menu for...

Vadakari | Vadagari – Idli’s best companion

Yet another side dish for Idli. There can’t be enough of them. We wake up to idlis, eat them for dinner watching super singer, pack them up for long drives and even order them at Taj knowing Taj idlis. I sleep assured that 3 large steel dabbas of idli maavu (idli batter) sit in the bottom shelf of our fridge. Idli-Vadakari is my most favourite idli combination. For a very long time I thought Vadakari is made from leftover masala vadais which is probably how they make it in most hotels. But that Vadakari can be made from scratch without making masala vadais, I learnt as the first lesson after marriage. My maamiyaar (mother-in-law) laughed when I asked her if we don’t have to make masala vadais first. I didn’t know better. At home we always ordered vadakari from hotels. We’d never made it. One of the very first recipes I learnt in my new home was Vadakari and I’ll tell you this. It is simply beautiful. It can give any hotel Vadakari a run for its money. My dad thought it was great and I’ve given my mother this recipe. Vadakari is quite straightforward but just a little time consuming, that is if your alternative is chutney or idli milagai podi. Grinding the dal is the most important first step. Make sure to only pulse the dal in quick bursts so that it is coarsely ground. The second important step is frying the ground dal. The fried dal has to be completely dry and crumbly. This takes time, patience and a generous amount of oil. Don’t skimp. The rest is a breeze. If you get the first two steps right then you are on your way to an award winning Vadakari. Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Serves: 5-6 Ingredients Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal/Bengal gram – 1-1/2 cups soaked for 2 hours Onions – 2 large chopped fine Tomatoes – 2 large chopped fine Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp Turmeric powder – ½ tsp Salt to taste Water – 2 cups Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece Bay leaf – 1 Oil – 5 tbsp Coriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnishing Masala paste Ginger – 1 inch piece scraped Garlic pods – 7 Green chillies – 3  Sombu/Saunf/Fennel seeds – 1 tsp Method 1.      Rinse channa dal/kadalai paruppu in 2-3 changes of water or till...

Sweet & Crispy Idli Batter Fritters – Quick & Easy snack

I love quick, easy recipes that involve minimal ingredients. It suits me perfectly. You see – I am basically a Somberi. Countless Sunday afternoons I’ve just slept away – all this is (BEMAK) before marriage and kids, of course. Now AMAK (After marriage and kids) I’d be happy to just sleep un-disturbed through the night. You need just 4 ingredients for this dish all of which are common and I am sure available in everybody’s kitchen. The entire dish comes together in under 10 minutes which is as much time as my adamant, tantrum throwing toddlers would give me to whip up a sweet snack. This is my mother-in-law’s idea and I think it is an ingeniously cool idea. It’s not surprising though as this family is known for its “idlisyncracies”. We live on idli-dosai. So coming up with new twists on the basic idli framework is just natural progression. These fritters are crispy on the outside and soft paniyaram-like on the inside. The crunchy, sweet bites are best made with the first or second day’s idli batter as later on the batter may get too sour. My kids enjoyed this snack a lot. So did the adults as well. This recipe may sound too simple to be good but trust me; it makes a really delicious snack which will be gone just as quickly as it’s made. And simple recipes are often the most tasty. I am happy and really excited to be part of Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon, and I am looking forward to knowing/reading all those talented food bloggers. This is my first time at the Blogging marathon. I am sending this for the Kids sweet Treats theme.   Preparation time: 5 minsCooking time: 5 minsMakes: 15 fritters (small gooseberry sized) Ingredients Idli batter – 2 ladlesSemolina/Bombay Rava/Fine Sooji – 4 tbsp (adjust)Sugar – 5 tbspOil – for deep frying Method 1.      In a medium bowl, ladle the idli batter. Add the sugar. Add the rava one tablespoon at a time. Mix well with a spoon. The rava adds texture and thickens the batter at the same time, so add rava in steps to make sure the batter doesn’t get too thick. The consistency of the batter should be that of the Medhu vadai (ulundhu vadai/urad dal vadai) type and it should drop easily from a spoon without too much shaking. 2.      Heat oil in a kadai/skillet and when...

Tiffin Sambar – Saravana Bhavan Mini idli style

I am a huge fan of Saravana Bhavan’s mini idlis as are everyone in my family. This is such a delightfully tasty, absolutely lip-smacking tiffen – fluffy white mini idlis dunked in hot flavour bursting sambar, drizzled with ghee. Perfect! Unlike the sambar we make at home, this tiffen sambar is not tangy, is thick and full bodied and has mild sweet undertones. Tiffen sambar is the best accompaniment for idli, dosai or pongal. I have to thank Mythreyi of Myerecipecorner. I picked up this recipe from her blog. Her blog has so many amazing recipes, you’ll have to check it out. It is true to its name and tastes just like the hotel tiffen sambar (though not exactly like Rathna Café Sambar which tastes different from all other hotel sambars). I followed her recipe as is and it turned out great. Everybody in the family agreed that it tasted just like hotel tiffen sambar. Every week we cycle through various chutneys, kormas, sundakkai sojji and sometimes vadakari for the idli/dosai that we make every day. We try to underplay the idli/dosai monotony by changing up the side dishes. This tiffen sambar was a refreshing change and I’d strongly recommend anyone stumped for a side-dish to try it out. I cut up regular sized idlis and dunked them in sambar. You could serve it on the side as well. old picture Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Toor dal – 1 cupSambar onions/Shallots – 15 peeled and halvedTomato – 1 choppedCarrot – 1 choppedDrumstick – 1Curry leaves – 1 stemsMustard seeds – 1 tspTurmeric powder – ½ tspJaggery powdered – 1 tbspSalt to tasteCoriander leaves – a handful for garnishingOil – 1 tbsp Masala Paste Coriander seeds – 3 tbspBengal gram/kadala paruppu – 2 tbspWhole dry red chillies – 12Cumin – 1/2 tspFenugreek/Methi seeds – 1 tspGrated coconut – 1/2 a coconut Method 1.      Pressure cook the toor dal till soft. Mash well and set aside. 2.      Dry roast all the ingredients under “Masala paste” except grated coconut till fragrant and the Bengal gram starts colouring. Grind the roasted ingredients along with coconut and a  water to a thick, nearly smooth paste. 3.      In a vessel/kadai, add oil and when hot, drop in the mustard seeds. When they splutter, throw in the sambar onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions turn translucent. 4.     Add the tomatoes and fry...
Chicken Aloo Tikki

Chicken Aloo Tikki

I am constantly wondering if Yuvi is as innocent as he seems. I can’t quite make out. I don’t know if I’ve told you this story before. Flashback a few years back when he was barely 4. He asked me one day – “Do you know which girl I like most in the world?” He was in LKG. I wasn’t ready yet for girlfriends and the lot. I knew among his friends, there was one girl. I said, Who da? Neha? Yuvi: No I: Then who? Yuvi: Nee thaan! (You!) I was beyond touched that I was his most favourite girl in the world, that he said it the way he did, that he called me a girl! I nearly cried. I lifted him up, kissed him and danced around the room carrying him. I related this incident to Jagan. He seemed a little less overwhelmed. I put it down to jealousy. A couple of days later my maamiyaar (mother-in-law) said, “Yesterday, you know what Yuvan said? He asked me if I knew which girl he liked the most in the whole world.” I knew what she was going to say. I didn’t want to act too proud. I didn’t want her to feel bad. I tried my best to keep my face modest and curious. Maamiyaar: I asked him if it was his teacher. I didn’t expect her to suspect me but teacher I thought was a bad substitute. Maamiyaar: He said, “No!” Then I asked him, “Is it your amma?” She had exceeded my expectations. She did find out. I beamed. I couldn’t suppress my glee much. Maamiyaar: He said, “No. It is you!” She beamed. I looked at Jagan. Jagan looked at me. We had underestimated little Yuvi. This little man far exceeded his dad’s prowess at chivalry, lying and diplomacy. Jagan seemed to acknowledge that he was the lesser talent here. Yuvi walked in then in his kutty jatti asking me to find his red car. I still couldn’t believe that this little imp in his kutty jatti was also a charmer of aunties, paatis and ammammas. What do I know? This boy also takes after his father in his love for all things meat. I knew that he’d love these chicken aloo tikkis. Hasini enjoyed them too. These chicken aloo tikkis are surprisingly easy to make. Like with most other deep fried items, these can...
Cauliflower chops

Cauliflower chops | Saravana Bhavan style

I suffer from what I call the “adjacent table dilemma” (pakkathu table dilemma) in restaurants. Let me explain. I am at Saravana Bhavan. I am torn between ghee roast and mini idli sambar. Others have made up their minds. I am struggling. Idli is classic. But ghee roast is always a restaurant special. Piping hot tiffen sambar tips me towards idlis. But the sheer amount of fragrant ghee beckons me the other way. I am not sure if I want to go the slurpy route or the crispy crunchy route. The waiter has come back for the second time. I have to get it right. Jagan glares at me. Me: “If I order two tiffens will you share with me?” Jagan: “No” Me: “What do you suggest for me – mini idli or ghee roast” Jagan: “Mini idli” I turn to the waiter and say “Ghee roast” Jagan again glares at me. We wait for the dishes to arrive. The ghee roast arrives crispy, golden and crunchy heady with the aroma of ghee. I feel convinced I’ve made the right decision. When I am about to pop the first piece of dosa into my mouth, Idiyappam and Cauliflower chops arrives at the adjacent table. It looks like the best combination of steamed goodness and fragrant masala. I want that. I am back to scene one. It was Idiyappam and Cauliflower chops that I’d wanted all along. It looks like I should also discuss with the adjacent table folks before I order. I came back home with a longing for the adjacent table’s Idiyappam and cauliflower chops that wouldn’t go away. The next week I decided to rectify things. I made Idiyappam and cauliflower chops at home. I don’t trust myself to order right at restaurants. I am a fan of the cauliflower chops at Saravana bhavan. It is this incredibly fragrant, rich luscious gravy that is cooked to perfection. This cauliflower chops is in between a kurma and a regular onion-tomato gravy. It’s a hybrid. This cauliflower chops is also great with Chappathis. I attempted the cauliflower chops and I am happy to say I got almost 90% there. I am sure it won’t disappoint you. Do try and let me know how you like it! Enjoy! If you liked what you read, you can like Foodbetterbegood on facebook and instagram to get all the updates. You can also subscribe...
Paneer butter masala

Paneer butter Masala

You know my favourite part of doing yoga? At the very end of the class, when you lie down, stretch out, close your eyes and relax. It looks like I am not the only one who feels that way. Many friends thought the same too. People liked having somebody instructing them to rest. It feels legitimate. It feels delicious. You’ve done your yoga and you’ve earned it. My biggest fear is that I might fall asleep on the yoga mat and somebody’d have to kick me awake. I take my yoga very seriously. Yeah, I started taking yoga classes a couple of weeks back. I thought you’d never ask. I am really enjoying these yoga classes. It feels like I was always meant to do yoga. Would you believe that I set out to learn yoga last year when I planned to lose weight? I let myself be convinced that it wouldn’t work for me – that I won’t ever be able to make it on time to a scheduled class and that I wouldn’t lose weight with yoga. I am regularly late for class and I am not sure I’ve lost weight. But I am enjoying doing yoga. I am not even doing it that well. That’s like unconditional love. I am posting this article today and today is International yoga day. That surely must be a sign.    Happy International Yoga day people! I frequently get excited about something new that’s caught my fancy and I can’t stop talking about it. Thanks for reading that! I am ever grateful for your support. If you’re here for the paneer butter masala, please read on. At the risk of adding one more recipe to the already inundated world of Paneer butter masala, I present to you my Paneer butter Masala recipe; the recipe that I came up with after many many iterations and which probably bears a strong similarity to 95% of the recipes out there.     How different can a Paneer butter masala recipe be? They all involve cooking down onions and tomatoes to a nice smooth sauce, they all call for a mix of spice powders to be cooked until the raw small goes away and they’re all unmistakably delicious, yummy and drool-worthy. Having made that impressive pitch on why you should try my recipe, let me warn you that it’s one of the simplest versions out...
Maggi

Checking in

It’s been a long long time since I wrote but I’ve been worrying all along that I am not writing. I don’t do and I worry that I don’t do. I don’t exercise for a week and I feel lousy all week that I am not exercising. Somehow it is easier to continue to feel lousy about something, than to do it. I’ve made my laziest meals the past few months upcycling old chappathis into kothu chappathis, making back-to-back idli-dosai-dosai meals, skipping chutney and dishing out milagai podi every possible instance (so much so that my milagai podi is nearly over and I need to make it again), making maggi a regular weekday dinner, running through eggs and bread and letting the veggies get old. I’ve not cooked a meal worthy of being blogged about. I’ve been engulfed in work. View this post on Instagram When I am anxious, overwhelmed, time pressed and going mad, I go out and stock up on Maggi. For backup. For comfort. For solace. #maggi #foodbetterbegood #food #foodtalkindia #noodles #instant #instantfood #foodie #comfortfood #foodblogger #comfort #chennai A post shared by jayanthi (@jayanthi.padmanabhan) on Mar 17, 2018 at 3:42am PDT In between I managed to go on a family vacation-cum-pilgrimage to Mookambika, Kollur and Bekal (travel post coming soon). View this post on Instagram Exclusive action shots from my vacation at Bekal, Kerala. People around me were canoeing in the backwaters, swimming, cycling, making sand castles on the beach, dressing up for meal times, making friends with other guests.. I was doing this. 😴😴😴 #vacation #bekal #hotel #kerala #holiday #sleeping #indiatravel #trip #instatravel #familytrip #southindia #foodbetterbegood A post shared by jayanthi (@jayanthi.padmanabhan) on Apr 18, 2018 at 12:40pm PDT On vacations I like to take my planner and make bucket lists. I saw the bucket list that I’d made on last year’s vacation. I wanted to learn swimming Lose 18 kilos with an additional if-clause item that IF I lose that weight I get to buy new clothes Blog 5 times a week and Reach a 100000 followers. I had 1340 followers then. View this post on Instagram 2018 Planner, Tabbed sticky notes and Norpro classic popsicle mould brought with love from USA by my dear friend lakshmi. These are exactly what i want. How can a friend know so well? She won't. That is why I get her mailing address as soon as she reaches...
Paneer fried rice with kerala style matta rice

Paneer fried matta rice

You’ve woken up late, want to pee but you’re late, so you hold it in and wake up the kids pleading and threatening in turns, switching off the fan, rushing to the fridge and then to the kitchen, all the while shrieking to make sure the kids are in the bathroom, shifting from one foot to another, prepping the veggies, washing the dal, pouring batter into the idli plates, calling out to check that they’re bathing and not sleeping by the bucket or water-fighting, setting the pressure cooker on the stove and looking to steal a few mins to go to the bathroom but one of them demands to know the lunch and the other can’t find the tie and by the time you’ve sorted that, you need to check on the vegetables, you remove the hot idli plates from the gundaan and tie her ponytails while the idlis cool, you pack the lunch, give them a plate of idlis to share, change from the nighty into the shabbier three-fourth pants, slip on someone else’s slippers and walk across to the bus stop, help them into the school van, wave bye, walk back home, check the stove to make sure everything is switched off, go to the bathroom and lock yourself in and sit on the toilet, close your eyes in a kind of accomplished relief and you hear through the bathroom door – “Where is the towel”? It’s as if somebody has snatched my award-winning moment from me. I therefore believe mothers tend to have greater holding capacity. I also believe bathroom doors need to be sound proof. The bathroom is the last refuge, my me-time of the day, my meditation space and I want no interruption there. It’s my Mount Everest. “Every mommy needs a sound proof bathroom”   You’ll love this Healthy twist to fried rice – Paneer fried matta rice Everyone needs to make this paneer fried matta rice to believe how tasty matta rice can be. Kerala matta rice is a kind of red rice popular in Kerala and Karnataka. The uncooked rice grains are brown coloured. Once cooked they turn white with thin red streaks. They’re chewy, nutty and incredibly filling. This paneer fried matta rice is an ingenious way to include a healthy alternative rice into your diet. You get to relish your favourite paneer fried rice sans the guilt. This rice takes...
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