Sunday, February 22, 2015

Masala Puri - a chat you can never have enough of..

The Groundhog peeped out a couple of weeks back, I didn't get a chance to chat with it and ask its opinion about an early spring but I am pretty sure the weather is warming up. I notice warm sun in late mornings & afternoons, glorious Daffodils lighting up the pathway with their bright yellow colors and fragrant Magnolias are showing up their pretty pinks or lovely whites. We moved our hibiscus plants outdoors last week, still holding on to the remaining pots with sensitive plants inside. Time to put the heavy jackets inside and walk up exposed to some direct wind and sun :-)
With inlaws rested a bit, we drove up the mountains yesterday, a little chilly for them still but totally enjoyed the views and the accumulated snow. As always, had packed food for lunch from home, stopped and took pictures everywhere as is the habit and reached back home in the evening. DD is getting ready for school start tomorrow after a week of mid winter break. Didn't seem like she had a lot of time to lazy around as she has been working on one or the other project but she looks much more relaxed than what she did a couple of weeks back.

To celebrate the holiday week, I made masala puri yet again today. If I had posted recipes in the order of my love for them, this would have been at the top of the list but then I don't do that, do I? Infact, some of my favoritest recipes are yet to come just because I always feel that I don't do justice to them either with the pics or with words when I post them :-). This one has reached many palates, tried times over, gathered compliments from all around and when friends have asked for the recipe, I have just shared it offline to their incredulous, "You mean, you don't have it on the blog yet?", I know, it is strange but finally here it is, a much loved dinner menu at home - masala puri from the South of India. First of all this is not poori - the deep fried, leavened bread Indian cuisine has made famous world over. This does have pooris (though much smaller, flatter, crisper and crunchier) but has a lot more on top of the pooris (or papdis as they are referred to).

Yes, we eat this as dinner and don't make anything else when I make this for a weekend dinner, usually Sunday nights. And yes, yes, this is from the South of India. Though, Mumbai & Kolkata are touted as the chat centers of India with their innumerable versions of chats (quick, spicy eats), I haven't seen this version of chat outside of Mysore & Bengaluru regions. The ultra common sev puri, dahi puri etc do not stand a chance next to this masala puri (that is my opinion and I think it is totally justified :-)). If you are stopping to have a chat anywhere in Mysore or Bengaluru in the evenings, give this a try. I promise you it will be totally worth it and a great change from the usual favorites.
When chats had still not come of age in our little, quaint Mysore, there were not so many outlets to enjoy them. With health conscious parents at home, we never had outside food on a regular basis either. There was a Maharaja (yep, most things in Mysore are royalty atleast by name :-)) hotel which had a chat center for public. That is where I first had my masala puri and fell in love with it. I don't ever look around for anything if the guy (or girl) is making masala puri as I enjoy it more than all other possible combinations.

Yep, chats are basically combinations of certain basic ingredients. You will find things like chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro, boiled, mashed potatoes in almost every chat in addition to the chat chutneys. Then there is something crunchy (like pooris or puffed rice), spicy (like sev). Mix & match them the way it pleases you personally. So, why is the masala puri special? Because, the masala (spicy gravy or ragda) is a perfect blend of tastes and when mixed with other chat essentials and served piping hot is nothing but a purely magical experience.
This recipe needs some planning and has prep work to bring everything together. I have tried to deconstruct the process to make it easier for anyone preparing it for the first time. Read the recipe completely once before you embark on the journey, make sure you have the ingredients.

What do you need to make Masala puri? 
25-30 small chat puris (make at home or buy from the store)
1.5 cups dried green peas
For the masala/spicy gravy: 
1 cup onion roughly chopped
1 cup tomato roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 big bay leaf
1 inch piece ginger - peeled
2-3 green chilies (adjust to taste)
1.5 inch piece of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
5-7 black pepper corns
1.5 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp garam masala powder
1/2 Tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
1/2 Tsp red chili powder
1 Tbsp oil
For serving masala puri: 
puris as needed
finely chopped onion
finely chopped tomatoes
1 potato - boiled, peeled and mashed into small chunks
finely chopped cilantro
tamarind-date chutney
Thin sev(fried gram flour noodles) - for garnish, you get this in Indian grocery stores
red chili powder
roasted cumin powder

How do you make Masala puri? 
Making of masala/spicy gravy
  • Soak dried green peas in hot water for about 3 hours or in cold water over night. 
  • Rinse and wash the soaked peas, and put them in a pressure cooker along with the bay leaf, 3 cups water and 1/2 Tsp salt
  • Cook (with weight on) for 1 or 2 whistles (peas should be cooked soft but hold their shape firmly)
  • Let the cooker cool down completely. 
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan, add cinnamon, cloves, clack pepper and saute for a minute until you get the cinnamon smell. 
  • Add crushed garlic cloves, slit green chilies and ginger and saute for 30 seconds. 
  • Add onions and continue to fry until onions turn translucent. 
  • Add tomato chunks and let them all cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly mushy. 
  • Switch off and let cool. 
  • Open the pressure cooker, with a slotted spoon, take out about a cup of cooked peas and keep aside. 
  • Take the cooked onion mixture and the rest of the cooked peas and grind them to a smooth paste in a blender. (Make sure everything is cool before grinding)
  • Heat a big pan or use the pressure cooker like I do, pour the ground paste, add 2 cups of water and salt. Let it come to a good rolling boil on medium heat so the onion & tomato smell disappears. 
  • Add the dry powders (red chili, garam masala & amchoor), taste and adjust spices as needed. 
  • Remember the gravy thickens as it cools down. If you are not using it immediately, make the consistency watery. 
  • When you serve masala puri, the gravy has to be piping hot. 
Assembling masala puri (this is a totally personalized way of assembly, adjust any of the ingredients to suit your taste)
  • Take a wide plate, crush 5-6 puris so they become bite sized pieces, spread them to make a bed of puris.
  • Add a spoonful of cooked peas you reserved earlier. 
  • Add chopped onions 
  • Add chopped tomatoes
  • Add potatoes
  • Sprinkle red chili powder
  • Sprinkle roasted cumin powder
  • Pour a couple of ladles of the hot gravy on top
  • Add spoonful of tamarind-date chutney
  • Top it with thin sev and chopped cilantro and extra onions if you like
  • Take a spoon, start from the side of the plate and dig in :-)
  • Never use frozen peas in this recipe
  • Dried yellow peas can be an alternative to green peas but I prefer the green ones for their taste. 
  • The gravy needs to be hot (both temperature and spice level) for this dish. When you eat this on the streets, you typically cry (with joy and happiness) :-)
  • If you forgot to soak the peas overnight, you can use the short cut and soak them for a couple of hours in hot water. 
  • Do not overcook peas else they become completely mushy. 
  • Play around with the gravy - I experiment with green chilies, black peppers, cinnamon and cloves depending on the mood of the day. 
  • Skip garlic if you don't like it, I started using it recently since both DD & BH love the flavor. The advantage with this recipe is that not a single flavor stands out, they all mix in the melting pot of the gravy and lose their individuality to create a wonderful mixture. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cilantro chutney - Forgive me for making your Valentine's day green :-)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! May your life be filled with love of every possible flavor and color. May you always share love with the World!

As I walked around my favorite market on Friday, it was bustling with people trying to get ready for the Valentine's day. The weather was a balmy 62F, sun shine spread all around like a warm blanket, colors of spring all over in fruits and vegetables and there was a general geity in the air. One of the flower vendors even had a poster board that said, "All you last minute Romeos, stop here, we have the perfect gift for your valentine" :-)". I simply walked around soaking in the fresh air, breathing in the warmth, picking up a fresh fruit or 2 as they caught my eyes. No valentine specific purchase was made.
I am not Grinch and definitely not here to prick the enthusiasm of Valentine's day celebration. Each to his/her own and I respect all individual expressions. But as they ask in my all time favorite Sound Of Music movie, "How do you hold the Moonbean in your hand?", I ask, "how do you contain the celebration of love for one day of the year?". It is an emotion that we are fortunate to have every minute of every day of our lives and I want to keep it that way.

When I see a typical Valentine's celebration where,

Roses rule the day
sweets are made with lots of love
Chocolates - cannot do without 'em
Pink puts it all together :-)

I just step back a little and think about all the other beautiful shapes love takes in life and feel thankful to be loved in so many different ways by so many different people - as a daughter to 2 sets of parents, a wife and friend to a man I adore, a loving mom (annoying at times) to a doting daughter, sister (sometimes bossy, sometimes totally dependent) to my siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends I have made in all these years. I feel blessed. Happy Valentine's day to all of you.

Chutneys are my first love, pachadis are his. When we fell in love many years ago, it was just a matter of time before the chutneys and pachadis started to fuse together. I learnt to make varieties of pachadis as he learnt to enjoy the deliciousness of chutneys. We have reached a stage in life now where we use those to terms interchangeably. The years of togetherness has also brought the spark of recognition that 'love' is not single dimensioned as it gets marketed on Valentine's day but is infact multi-faceted, colorful and always grows in abundance as you share it.

Feb celebrations take on a different tone at home since this particular week is full of personal celebrations too. Sister kicks off the celebrations with her birthday on the 9th, followed by a sis-in-law & niece who share their special days ont he 13th, it is the wedding anniversary of parents-in-law on the 14th and BH rounds it up by turning a year older on the 17th. So calling, emailing, facebooking starts earlier in the week as we share the joy. My inlaws reached here from India this evening :-), they were supposed to be here yesterday in time to celebrate their wedding day with us but courtesy of delayed start and missed connections, they arrived a day later :-(. They seem to be doing ok, though tired. Just finished dinner and everyone has already hit the bed. Looking forward to having them here for the next few months.

Since the Valentine's day/wedding anniversary celebrations didn't work out the way we had planned, I ended up making a regular weekend brunch earlier today. Our weekends typically start off with a heavy brunch, late for a breakfast but early for lunch and is one of those 'look forward' to times of the week when all 3 of us sit together to enjoy the meal. Week days are so rushed, we don't get to sit down together in physical proximity until evening. So, I try to make an event of weekend brunches where each of us have something we love to eat :-). Fortunately, tastes are not very far apart and I really don't have to cook a spread to please the family. Since there was the anticipation of all the goodies coming in from India later this evening, I made the lunch simple but added a spicy twist that BH & I love. DD had her sweet potato fries and tender, grilled Asparagus. All in all it was a great lunch with family.

Here is my green love from Valentine's day lunch we had earlier today. I make this every time I get fresh, flavorful cilantro which is quite often :-). You can make this in a large quantity and store it in fridge for a week, somehow it never lasts that long in my home :-). Hope you all like it as much as we do.
What do you need to make Cilantro chutney?
2 bunches of fresh cilantro leaves - should make 3 loosely packed cups when picked and cleaned
1 Tbsp urad dal
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tsp chana dal
5-6 dry red chilies
1 Tsp mustard
1/2 Tsp cumin
1/4 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 Tsp coriander seeds
key lime sized tamarind
1/2 Tsp crushed jaggery
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
pinch of asafoetida
How do you make cilantro chutney?
  • Pick cilantro leaves and the tender stalks from the bunch. 
  • Wash them thoroughly under running water to rid of any dirt.
  • Let water drain off in a colander, chop them roughly
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan. 
  • Add urad, chana dals, red chilies, cumin, fenugreek, coriander and mustard seeds. 
  • Roast on medium heat until dals turn bright pink.
  • Add asafoetida and take it out onto a plate
  • Put the pan back on the stove, add the remaining oil, and add the chopped cilantro - leaves and stalks
  • Fry for about 4-5 minutes until the leaves become a mush and stalks turn soft. 
  • Add salt, switch off and let it cool. 
  • Take the roasted dal & spices to the grinder and make it into a rough powder.
  • Add jaggery and grind once more. 
  • Now add the cilantro and pulse grind until they are all combined and cilantro is crushed well. 
  • Enjoy the spicy, tangy, sweetish chutney bursting with cilantro flavor. 
  • Our Valentine's day lunch was complete with hot rice mixed with cilantro chutney and a side of home made plantain chips, Yummy!!
  • I used my mortar & pestle to make the chutney :-), I don't need to add water at all in this. If you are grinding using a blender, pulse it so the ingredients come together and avoid adding water. 
  • This is a chutney used to mix with rice but you can enjoy it as a spread on a piece of toast or with idli/dosa or even just to lick it off of your finger. 
  • This is typically strong with all flavors competing with each other, adjust sweet, spice & tang to your taste. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Masala Oats rotti - super food rolled into super yummy rotti

I thought I had put myself on a weekly routine for the blog until things became a little less rushed in life. But here I am, red faced with shame having missed my Sunday night posting :-(. It doesn't mean I love the blog any less but just that I am hardly finding the time to sit down and compose the post these past few months. if it is not the lack of time, it is the lack of words that just refuse to leave their cozy spot, come out and express themselves coherently. I called it the blogger's block once (yes, it has happened before) and lifts itself off as unpretentiously as it came in. I just need to wait patiently, that is all. When it does happen and I try to write a post, it feels exactly the same way as pulling an unwilling tooth at the dentist's :-). At other times, the words just gush out in torrents like the first rains of season - unstoppable, in tune and totally refreshing :-).
Now that I am reminded of dentists (category of people I live in mortal fear of :-)), I went to my dentist 2 days back, nothing major, routine visit and she asked me to schedule a couple of sittings for the cleaning just like that. Oh, before you all go off and start thinking of me as a stinky teeth, bad breath monster, let me tell you this. Here in US, we pay regular 'well check' visits to doctors, dentists and eye care professionals, this is part of life. Growing up in India, we went to a doctor only when sick and needed medical care. I don't remember going to a dentist at all. To top it, having an older sister in medical school, training to be a doctor only added to that routine. Everything from common cold to bruised knees were treated free of cost and with lot of love at home and we didn't feel the necessity to visit an outside doctor. The rare occasions I remember going to a hospital was when nammamma had a fractured wrist or I was falsely diagnosed with typhoid in my sister's absence :-). Other than that, of course when I delivered my little girl but then my sister was very much there throughout.

Anyways, my dentist visit was part of preventative care. I am not looking forward to her sitting me on a chair open mouthed (for what feels like eternity) while she goes about talking the entire time as she pricks, prods and hurts my gums, all in the name of cleaning. Dentists, I feel, tend to be talkative just to fill that void when the other person in the room cannot really talk much :-). All you can do is just nod your head and grunt even when she says unpleasant things like you need a filling or have a cavity. Well, my appointment is not for another 2 weeks and I won't spend much time thinking about it. All you compassionate people, send me some warm thoughts when you get a chance :-). But for now, away from the dentist's chair, my blogger's block seems to have lifted off magically and I am able to go yap, yap, yap :-)

Back to the recipe today, I have a delicious masala rotti loaded with vegetables and made with the healthy grain - Oats. Oats gained popularity in the last 2 decades or so as one of those super foods, a grain that beats everything else and is marketed and pushed for human consumption. I have elders in the family who still think oats is meant to be used as livestock only :-), some perceptions are very hard to change. I use oats regularly in my kitchen, I am not someone to dispute or uphold the various research around oats but like them in recipes just for variety. Oats being good for health - oh, I consider that as the fringe benefit. There are a bunch of recipes with oats on the blog already. If interested, look them up in the recipe index or search for them on the blog.
Being a South Indian, bred heavily on white, fluffy rice, it is my weakness. I crave for rice (a simple yogurt rice with pickle will bring me cartloads of happiness and cheer me up instantly) and sometimes go into withdrawal if I haven't had rice for a few days. When I was looking to incorporate more grains and bring freshness into the recipes a few years back, I stumbled upon oats, quinoa, different millets etc. Most of these work very well as rice substitutes especially if you mix them up with a spicy side dish. Many work well in idlis, dosas etc too. I have found this 'mix and match' strategy goes well not only with clothes but also with food. It gives the necessary break from monotony, keeps food interesting and invigorating.

Oats get some flak from people who say the carb content is as high or higher (depending on the type of oats) than rice. I would say it is a one sided argument. Oats, being high in soluble fibre is meant to be good for heart and to regulate blood sugar. It digests slowly and keeps you fuller for longer. I had seen the ready to eat Saffola brand oats in Indian supermarkets on my last visit but was surprised find them here locally in my grocery stores. I wouldn't buy them personally since processed oats do not really give you any advantage over white rice or refined flour. To actually benefit from oats, use either the rolled oats or steel cut oats.
Finally, to blow some trumpet - when I was making these rottis for dinner, DD had a couple of her friends at home working on some music practice. As I took hot rottis out of the tawa, I smeared a dab of ghee, rolled it up and gave it to the girls. Polite teenagers that they are, both said it tasted yummy but I really found it truthful when they rolled a few more rottis on their own accord, wrapped them in foils and took with them to munch on as they headed out. It is tried and tasted, so go ahead and make some in your kitchen too.

What do you need to make masala oats rotti? 
Makes about 10 rottis
1.5 cups oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated broccoli
1 cup chopped fenugreek or fresh methi (optional, I love it)
1 medium potato boiled until soft
1/2 cup grated carrots
2 Tbsp finely chopped onions
2 green chilies - finely chopped
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 Tsp red chili powder
1/8 Tsp amchoor powder
1/2 Tsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp oil - divided use
pinch of turmeric
1 Tbsp wheat flour for dusting

How do you make masala oats rotti? 
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan, add chopped onion and saute for a min or until it softens. 
  • Add grated broccoli, carrots, chopped green chilies & methi followed by salt and mix well. 
  • Cover and let cook for 3-4 minutes until the raw smell of the vegetables fades away. 
  • Mash the boiled, peeled potatoes and add it to the cooked vegetables. This absorbs moisture. 
  • Add the dry powders now - red chili powder, amchoor and sesame seeds. 
  • Mix well, taste and adjust salt or spices. Switch off and let cool. At this time the vegetables mixtures should taste strong on salt and spices, or else the rottis turn bland when mixed with flour. 
  • Powder the oats into a fine textured powder. 
  • Take the wheat flour and oats flour in a wide bowl, add the cooked vegetables and bring them together. DO NOT ADD WATER AT THIS STAGE. 
  • The moisture from the vegetables helps bind the dough.
  • Add water in drops to get a slightly firmer dough than chapati dough. 
  • Knead for a couple of minutes until the dough turns into a smooth ball, cover and let it rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Heat a roti griddle or flat pan on medium heat. 
  • Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and smooth them into a round ball. 
  • Dip the ball into dry wheat flour, flatten it and smooth any cracks at the edges. 
  • Roll out the rotti with a rolling pin, do not use too much pressure. Gluten in this dough is very less compared to regular chapati dough so it cracks under pressure. 
  • Roll the rotti into a circle of 1/2 mm. 
  • Put it on the hot pan, brush it with oil on top. Let cook for a minute before turning it over to the other side. 
  • Brush with oil and cook until both sides develop tiny, bright brown spots all over. 
  • Take it out and serve it with a cup of cool yogurt. 
  • You do need some wheat flour to be able to roll the rottis, this 1:2 (oats:wheat) proportion works well.
  • You can replace cooked potato with cooked raw banana (plantain) or skip it all together
  • Use spinach instead of methi leaves. 
  • Use other vegetables of preference like grated radish, bell peppers, chopped green beans for variety. 
  • Green chilies and red chili powder both add to the heat, use according to your taste. 
  • Cook the rotti on medium heat until the sides turn a golden brown, raw oats takes time to cook. 
  • You can make kadak rotti (it is a North Karnataka specialty made with jowar flour) or crispy rotti by cooking it for longer until it turns brittle, perfect to store and carry on travels. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chegodilu - Crunchy, spicy yet light. Did I say 'addictive'?

Tomorrow is Groundhog's day and it is customary belief that the groundhog will come out of its burrow to see its own shadow. If there is a shadow, apparently it goes right back to its hibernation, continues to sleep for another few weeks but if no shadow falls, it starts roaming around on the surface :-), what was all that about? Groundhog feeling, sensing the arrival of Spring. And why am I talking about the groundhog day? Something strange seems to be happening and I am not an expert on global warming. It is Feb 1 and we haven't even had a decent winter yet(I know, my friends on the east coast will jump at me for saying this after being buried in inches of snow), where I live it has been a very mild winter with hardly any rains and last week we started to notice buds in our Camallia flowers and this weekend they have already bloomed and many petals have fallen on the ground with the wind!! No matter what the groundhog sees and decides to do tomorrow but I feel the plants have already sensed an early spring. Happy Groundhog's day anyways :-) and here is a picture of how our Camillias are looking right now. Pretty, aren't they?
Today also happens to be the Superbowl Sunday when most fans are either burrowed in their homes watching the game or actually watching it from the stadium. It has been a week of superbowl fever all over the place. Seattle very proudly is backing the home team and showing the pride in all conceivable (and some very imaginative) forms of support. Downtown Seattle is dressed up with various good luck messages on the buildings, we had a party and spirit day at work last Friday. The game started an hour back with Seahawks playing the Patriots for their 2nd consecutive SuperBowl trophy, game has just entered the 2nd half and Hawks are leading. We are watching the game (I am trying to type in this post while watching the game, I know that is not very 'fan'ly but I honestly can't sit glued to the screen especially when those ads are playing) at home, rooting for the Hawks.

Update at 7:05PM, Hawks lost, wish I had posted this out earlier. The final few seconds of the game was not really good sportsmanship at all :-(

Will tell you what happened later on if I haven't published this post before the game is over :-). I made some delicious sweet potato muffins, salad and a big bowl of spicy mixture made with rice crispies. Recipes will show up one of these days on the blog, I promise.
Onto today's recipe, I have some crunchy, crispy chegodilu - a deep fried snack from Andhra. Now if you have not heard the name before, here is a breakdown. I am told 'godi' is the metal chain lock used in old homes for protection. It refers to the shape of the snack. If this is too complicated to imagine, just think of modern day ear rings or hoops. Chegodilu (plural) resembles a thick ear hoop/ring. Now, if you follow my blog on a somewhat regular basis, you know I grew up in Karnataka. You probably are wondering why I am talking about chegodilu and not the famous 'kodubale' from Karnataka. I agree when you look at the pictures, it would scream kodubale for those of us coming from Karnataka but here is the difference.. before I explain the difference, let me tell you a quick anecdote.

Kodubale (I don't have the recipe on the blog, gasp, what a shame! given that it is my favoritest of all spicy snacks in this whole world), I promise I won't make you wait for too long, it is just that I want it to be perfect when I present it :-). I make Kodubale quite often and we have shared it with many family members & friends. Everytime I made this and we gave it to someone on BH's side, amma would say "not our chegodilu, kaani chaala bavuntayi" :-)"which translates to "not our Chegodilu, but these are very tasty too" which would pique me about the undiscovered chegodilu. I had to wait quite a few years to actually taste the real deal chegodilu and first impression for someone who grew up on kodubale was that they were very good, but not as good as Kodubale :)).
When I made them at home for the first time, DD took a bite and said, "Oh, these are chakbales ('Chak' from chakli and 'bale' from kodubale)" and I think that is a very apt name because the rice flour is unadultrated in this unlike the kodubale so you taste a hint of chakli. Hence our name for this delicacy at home is chakbale.

So what exactly is the difference between the kodubale and chakbale? Chakbale is made with rice flour, red chili powder adds the heat and asafoetida gives the sharpness. But kodubale is a complex combination of tastes and textures, much more balanced and will talk about it another time. These chakbales are quick to make, stay fresh for a week if kept in an dry, airtight container and finally very addictive (there goes the plan of keeping them for a week :-)). So let us get going to make some chakbales chegodilu before the winter wraps up completely and the groundhogs start to rule the world. Shall we?
What do you need to make Chegodilu?
2 cups water
1.5 cups rice flour
1 Tbsp soaked moong dal
1 Tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp red chili powder
1/8 Tsp asafoetida
6-8 curry leaves - chopped finely
1 Tsp oil
2-3 cups of oil to deep fry

How do you make Chegodilu? 
  • Add water in a pan on medium heat. 
  • Add soaked moong dal, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, red chili powder, chopped curry leaves, 1 Tsp oil and asafoetida and let it come to a rolling boil. 
  • Lower the heat, add rice flour in a continuous and slow flow to the boiling water. 
  • Mix quickly with a spoon, switch off, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat oil to deep fry in a wide pan. 
  • Take half of the cooked mixture onto a flat surface, dip your hand in cold water and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. This is important to prevent chegodilu from cracking.
  • Keep the remaining mixture covered. 
  • Take small key lime size balls of the smooth dough, roll them to resemble pencils, when you reach about 3 inches long, turn the two ends towards each other and press them together with a little overlap. 
  • Prepare a few (as many as your pan can hold without crowding) chegodilu. 
  • Once the oil is hot (my 'no thermometer' test for this is to drop a pinch of the dough and if it comes bubbling to the top immediately, then the oil has reached the right temperature), add the prepared chegodilu one by one in to the oil. 
  • Let them come to the surface on their own (do not disturb at this stage or they will break), flip each one over slowly to the other side. 
  • Let them cook (2-3 minutes) on medium heat until they are golden brown all around and the bubbles in the oil die down. 
  • Take them onto a tissue lined plate and let cool. 
  • Enjoy the crunchy Chegodilu with a cuppa. 
  • Store remaining (if any) in a ziplock or air tight container up to 2 weeks. 
  • Before kneading the dough, taste the cooked mixture for salt, spice level etc and adjust while kneading. 
  • If you are making a large batch, keep the unused dough covered with a damp paper towel so it doesn't go dry. 
  • You can make the chegodilu any size of your choice. 
  • These stay good for a couple of weeks if left untouched :-)
Wisdom from making it multiple times :-):
  • Instead of soaking the moong dal, dry roast it until light pink and add water to the pan to start cooking it. This gives you a pleasant & unexpected bite instead of the softer soaked moong dal effect.