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.
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.
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 those bombing missions. These vegetable somas are my Ammama’s trade secrets. They’re unbelievably yummy, convenient to eat and quite simply addictive. If you’re making these somas, do keep the vegetable stuffing simple just like how I have it. There is a certain magic to the simple vegetable stuffing packed inside whole wheat pooris sealed to make pretty crescent shapes and then deep fried. I never ever try to tweak this recipe. I am simply happy to create this magic every time.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Makes: 12-15 somas
Ingredients – Vegetable stuffing
Potato – 1 peeled and chopped
Green Peas – ¼ cup
Green beans – half cup chopped into small pieces
Carrot – ¾ cup chopped into small pieces
Onion – 1 medium chopped fine
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Water as necessary
Oil – 1 tbsp
Ingredients – Somas
Whole wheat flour – 2-1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Water – as necessary to make a firm dough
Oil for deep frying
1. To a pan, add oil and heat. When hot, add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent.
2. Add the chopped carrots, beans, peas and potatoes and mix well. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Pour as much water as it takes to just immerse the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook till vegetables are soft.
3. Mash the vegetables half way throught but not fully. Mix well and cook till all the water has evaporated and the mixture is nearly dry. Switch off and cool. Your vegetable stuffing is ready.
4. To a large bowl, add whole wheat flour and salt and add water little at a time to make a soft yet firm dough. Knead well. Rest the dough for about 5 minutes. Pinch small lemon sized balls of dough and roll out each ball into a round disc just like you would for a poori. Place about 2 teaspoons of the vegetable stuffing in the centre and fold over to make a crescent shape. Press the edges of the somas to seal securely and trim the edge if desired.
5. Heat oil for deep frying. Slide 1 or 2 somas at a time gently into the hot oil and cook till both sides are golden. Flip in between. When both sides are golden, remove the somas on to absorbent paper. Serve hot or cool slightly and pack in lunch box.