Vegetable stuffed Somas

It is finally raining here in Chennai and my kids are sound asleep already. It’s such a pretty sight the two things and together it’s almost poetic. I am left strangely unoccupied and free and for a moment I didn’t know what to do. Confused, I called up a couple of numbers but none of them picked up. I could watch TV, cook, bake, read or write. I chose to write. It’s been raining all over Tamil Nadu but not in Chennai. It finally rained today. So tomorrow morning’s Tennis class is Ooooo (Ooooo in Chennai Tamil is “gone”, “game over”). But did I tell you that these days I wake up before 6 am everyday, Tennis class or not. Yeah, it’s a medical miracle. I don’t know if Kochadaiyan’s advice (“Suriyan ku mun yezhundhu kol Suzhiyaniye jeipaai”) had anything to do with it. But I am changed.  Every night I prep for next day’s breakfast and lunch, box them and shove them into the refrigerator – chopped vegetables for curries and poriyals, grated coconut and sautéed onions for chutnies, boiled potatoes with skin for potato fry, peeled garlic, finely minced ginger, sautéed pureed gravy bases for gravies and curries and anything else I can prep beforehand without worrying about it getting spoilt. Next morning as soon as I am up, I pull out all my boxes from the fridge and start them all off – grind, temper, sauté and have them cooking while I run back and get a kicking Hasini out of bed and ready for Tennis class. By the time we leave for Tennis, they’re all almost done. We rush back from Tennis, shower, dress, eat and rush to school just a few minutes late as always. That is again a miracle how we always seem to arrive at that time irrespective of how packed or totally empty our mornings are. The few mins after the bell seems to be our steady state. I feel like a super-efficient, mean machine like a fighter bomber – planning and prepping the previous night, cooking and packing Hasini’s lunch, taking her to tennis class, readying Hasini and little Yuvi for school and finally dropping them off. The bombs are dropped. Mission accomplished. By the time I reach office, I am done. What Iittle is left, my boss finishes off for me. I made these vegetable stuffed somas on one of...

Sweet Somas – Aadi Pooram/Seemandham special

While other bloggers are gearing up with their Orange, white, green colour coded post for Independence day, I am posting this Aadi Pooram special. Aadi Pooram was last week. Yeah, I am slow like that. So this sweet somas was a revelation to me and is far better than the store bought ones. No, really. This is not a standard blogger phrase (“better than store-bought”) that I am using here although I’ve been guilty of using it too before. This somas really, truly is better and I’ll never be buying them from stores again. What I really love about this somas is the filling. The filling is a very un-assuming combination of roasted coconut, poppy seeds, cashew nuts and sugar. Poppy seeds! I thought. I’ve never been too fond of the store-bought somas, so last week, when we were making these somas for Aadi Pooram, I really didn’t expect much out of it. I was so wrong. I loved these somas. The poppy seeds took the somas to another level adding crunch and a wonderful nutty flavour to the somas. I made these somas alongside my Maamiyaar and I learnt real-time the somas-making process. I am really happy at these times for the joint-family setup. You’ll need patience however to make these somas, especially if you’re making large batches like we did that day. We slogged the previous night making these sweet somas, Murrukku, Coconut burfi, Boondi Laddu and variety rices for Aadi Pooram. It was heady, cooking up all these dishes and I was really excited. I get a great kick out of large scale cooking. This wasn’t large scale at all actually. But it was larger than usual. There are a few things to keep in mind to get those lovely crisp, puffed up somas. The dough has to be really soft and well kneaded. So knead like crazy.  Use only a small lemon sized ball of dough for a somas. Roll it out really thin, so thin that you’re able to see your hand if placed beneath the rolled out disc. To do this, you’ll need to flour your rolling surface generously. These somas are traditionally done for Seemandham (baby showers). Aadi Pooram is when we celebrate Amman’s Seemandham. We offer these sweets and variety rices (the traditional Seemandham Menu) to Amman. Amman is adorned with coloured glass bangles and Temples distribute coloured glass bangles to devotees...
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