What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!

Oh YAY! This one really is the one that hooked me on the challenge. So, though my food blog is essentially dead–more because I never get around to taking pictures or quantifying recipes, which leads to being lazy about posting–I have been cooking a LOT. I have invented recipes and adapted recipes, found a new favourite chocolate cake and, my biggest achievement in the kitchen, become a good maker of south Indian food. In fact, with the copious demands from the Poo and Kutti, I am toying with calling myself the Idlimaker of Alaknanda. Hee. So without further ado, I present to you the idli/dosai and chutney.

For the idli/dosai maavu:
1 cup white urad
1 cup boiled rice/idli rava (if you don’t have, use normal rice)
little less than 1 cup raw rice
1/4 cup/handful yellow moong
1 tbsp methi seeds

Soak for 6-8 hours at least the urad in lots of water in one bowl, and the rest in lots of water in another one. Now grind them in a mixie that has steel jars, as follows. Use as little water as possible at the beginning. The urad happens in one shot, and the rice in two. You will have to stick figners in there and feel the texture. The urad is done when it’s super smooth and gooey. In fact if you can keep the water to a minimum you will find it won’t stick to the sides of the micie or to a spoon, and that you can use for vadai. It is even more important that the rice be ground dry as much as possible first, because once there’s water in it, it won’t become a paste very easily. This part of the maavu can be s little grainy–no problem. Mix the two up in a large bowl–the mixture shouldn’t come to much more than half the bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place overnight to ferment. This can be tricky in the summer cos it’ll get really sour, and in the winter, cos it won’t rise. For the former, try and keep an eye on it and for the latter, if you have an oven, turn it on for 5 minutes at lowest setting, turn it off and bung the maavu in. Another thing that works for me is to keep it in the sun, but that involves being there to keep an eye on it. Salt to taste after fermentation.

To make idlis, keep it thick–just about pourable. For dosais, you need more water, definitely pouring consistency. This is sadly one place where you have to experiment and find your mojo.

For the green chutney of death:
Half a medium coconut, grated or chopped small
About the same amount of pottu kadalai (This is basically roasted chana dal, so you can actually just roast some chana dal with a little oil at home as a substitute)
One bunch of coriander leaves
2-3 green chillies, de-seeded (this is actually up to you, make it as hot as you like, or not)
A small piece of tamarind, say the area of the top segment of your index finger (see what I mean about quantifying?)
Half a small onion
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
2-3 dried red chillies
10-12 Curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida (hing/peringayam) (well a shake, cos it comes in those little bottles here)
Salt to taste

If the coconut is chopped not grated, whizz it in the mixie till it looks grated. Add the kadalai and whizz till they are nicely ground up. No water just yet! Toss in everything up to the onion and whizz some more. Now you can add water in small amounts till the chutney is as chutneyfied as you like it. (I like it smooth, Amma likes it chunky.) Now heat the oil in a really small pan, or, if you have it, a tadka pan. When it’s hot, toss in mustard. When the seeds start to pop, toss in urad. Once it starts to brown, toss in chillies and hing. Once chillies are looking cooked, and before anything burns, toss in the curry leaves and add the tadka to the chutney. Voila!

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