Happy Ugadi to all my Dear friends. Hope you have a prosperous and a fun filled year ahead.
Festivals always bring with them a frenzy of activities in every house hold. And mine is no different. The day starts very early. After the ritual oil bath, and prayers, I enter kitchen to start cooking for the festive feast. A festive occasion always calls for a bhaksha (something like holige, kadubu, laddu), Payasa or kheer, chitra anna (savory rice dish), one or two varieties of curries, one or two varieties of salads, a deep fried dish, A side dish like sambar, kootu or tovve to go with plain rice. And yes, the rasam is almost always there. Apart from all these things, there should also be a deep fried dish. This my friends is the menu for a typical brahmin festive feast.
When ever there is a festival, I make it a point to make most of the dishes. Although I limit the curries and the salads to just one variety. But otherwise, the rest of the dishes are almost always there. For today's festive feast, apart from the traditional "bevu bella" (neem and jaggery concoction) I had made lapsi kheer, holige, green beans stir fry, Huli tovve, rasam, Lentil salad and cucumber salad and ambode or masala vada.
Since there is so much of cooking happening, I hardly find anytime to photograph the dishes. And even if I do find some spare time, Purvi is usually there to take it. But today, I some how managed to photograph these wholesome fritters with the little light that was available from the setting sun.
Ambode or masala vada is one of the staple dishes on festive occasions. It is also one dish that can be made and served in a number ways. I personally like ambode with vegetables in it. Apart from imparting a distict flavor, they also make these vadas sattvik. But you can omit the vegetables completely if you wish. You can also add a medium sized onion, instead of the veggies. The vadas may taste different but it would taste delicious none the less.
Ambode or masala vada recipe:
Preparation time: 15min+soaking time
Cooking time: 15min
Makes about 1-1/2 dozen masala vadas
Chana dal or bengal gram- 180gm or 1 cup, soaked in enough water for 2 hours
Carrot- 1 small, peeled and grated (optional)
Grated Cabbage- 1/4cup (optional)
Rice flour- 2tbsp
Salt to taste
Green chili- 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves- 8-10, finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Grated fresh coconut- 2tbsp
Hing- A big pinch
Oil to deep fry.
- Drain the soaked lentils and pulse in a blender for five to six times. The lentils should not be ground to a fine paste. It is ok if the some portion of the lentil is left whole.
- Transfer the coarsely ground chana dal to a large bowl and add the grated carrot, cabbage, rice flour, salt, coconut, green chili, coriander leaves, curry leaves and hing and mix well.
- Heat oil in a wok. To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, drop a small portion of the lentil mixture into the oil. If it rises to the surface immediately, then the oil is ready for frying.
- Pinch a small lemon sized portion from the lentil mixture, shape them into balls and flatten them slightly in your hands and gently slip it into the oil.
- Deep fry the vadas on medium high heat till they are brown on both sides.
- Remove the fritters from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on an absorbent paper and serve immediately.
- Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the lentil mixture.
- The use of rice flour is optional. But I feel that rice flour apart from absorbing excess moisture also makes the fritters crisp.
- You can also substitute, the coriander leaves with mint leaves or the cabbage with onion or corn. Trust me the this is one dish which has endless variations.
- You can also add a little more zing to these fritters by sprinkling some chaat masala on the fritters before serving.