You know how it is in offices before a holiday break and then after it. In-spite of a whole lot of “FYI”, “Coming soon” messages indicating the upcoming holidays, the client teams are routinely surprised that we’re on holiday, they invariably have things planned around the holiday so that we’re scampering at the last moment hitting “Send” and then racing to catch the last bus home. Then they work diligently during our holiday making sure our inbox is full of adorable little love notes when we come back – “dust the cupboards darling, wash the dishes and don’t forget to clean the toilet as well”. Chella kutti!
I am still dusting all those 128 cupboards after the Pongal holidays and haven’t gotten to the dishes and the toilet. (For those who think I am doing housekeeping work, No no, atleast not yet. It was a metaphor). I wouldn’t be posting today if not for Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon. I am glad I signed up for the last 2 weeks. Starting today I’ll be posting 3 classic combo dishes and today’s combo is Idiyappam and Sodhi. Sodhi is a Tirunelveli dish, a beautiful, mild coconut milk based vegetable stew that is usually served with Idiyappam or rice.
You can use any combination of mixed vegetables for the Sodhi. I used Drumstick, carrot, beans and potatoes. I never usually make a distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd extracts of coconut milk. I just use them all together. I rarely extract a 2nd or 3rd time even. But this stew demands that you make the distinction. The vegetables are cooked in the thin coconut milk extract (2nd and 3rd extracts or just a diluted 2nd extract if you’re lazy like me) till tender and the thick coconut milk is added towards the end. The stew is quite straight forward from there. Sodhi was refreshingly different to the usual side dishes we make for Idiyappam. Those who like it hot and spicy, be warned – this stew may not be for you, it is really mild with a slight hint of sweet even from the coconut milk added at the end.
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Coconut milk – 1 Large coconut (Thick 1st extract and Thin 2nd and 3rd extract kept separate)
Onion – 1 large chopped fine
Mixed vegetables – 1-1/2 cups (I used Carrot/Beans/Potatoes/Drumstick)
Moong Dal/Paasi paruppu – 3 tbsp cooked till soft and mushy
Salt to taste
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Oil – 2 tbsp
Green chillies – 5
Cumin – ½ tsp
1. Extract thick coconut milk and set aside. Pour water and extract a 2nd and 3rd time and combine these two extracts. Cook moong dal till soft and mushy, mash and set aside.
2. To a kadai, add oil. When hot add the cinnamon, mustard seeds and curry leaves and when the mustard seeds splutter, throw in the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent.
3. Then add the thin coconut milk extract (combined 2nd and 3rd extracts) and all the vegetables. Stir in the ground chilli-cumin paste as well. Cover and cook till the vegetables are tender about 15-20 minutes. Once done, stir in the mashed moong dal, add salt and turn heat to low.
4. Add the thick coconut milk and wait just until it begins to froth up around the edges. Switch off. Serve hot with Idiyappam.
Rice flour – 3 cups
Salt to taste
Boiling hot water
1. Add salt to rice flour and mix well.
2. Add boiling water a little at a time to the flour and mix with the back of a wooden spatula. Keep adding and mixing till all the flour is incorporated and you have a soft dough. It should be soft to touch, moist but non-sticky. It should be moist, a dry dough would make the idiyappam taste powdery. Keep the dough covered with a lid. The consistency of the dough is critical to the texture of the idiyappam. This is it.
3. Fill the Idiyappam press with some dough and start piping from the centre making slightly overlapping circles and working your way out to the outer edge of the idiyappam plate. Don’t worry if your circles aren’t proper circles, are squiggly. I don’t. Make sure the idiyappam plate is fully covered and evenly covered. Repeat the same piping process to cover all your idiyappam plates.
4. Stack the idiyappam plates in its holder. Place a steel vessel big enough to hold the idiyappam set-up with 1 cup water on high and place the entire set-up inside the vessel. Make sure the water level is well below the lowest idiyappam plate. Cover with a tight fitting lid. The idiyappam should be done in 5 mins. You can check by wetting your finger and then touching an idiyappam, if it is non-sticky it is done. Be careful of steam burns when you test for done-ness.
5. Remove the idiyappam holder from the vessel. Remove each idiyappam plate, invert and tap the plate on the rim of a bowl to loosen the idiyappam from the plate and into the bowl. There you have it. Fine soft Idiyappam just like in hotels. Serve with Sodhi.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#36