Thursday, December 27, 2012

A culinary spin around the 4 corners of India - Kothimbir Vadi from Maharashtra


 So now, I'm down to the final five dishes for Dish a Day.. and strangely enough, I feel I'm in the culinary equivalent state of 'I have nothing to wear'. A part of me is scrambling to come up with some supercalifragilistic creation that I can post with a flourish, -- but then again, Dish a day was never meant to be about Alinea or French Laundry like creations (with due apologies to Grant Achatz & Thomas Keller respectively). Its all about what the average home cook (& I'm going with what I'm familiar with, i.e the Indian household) with an affinity for cooking does for her family. An array of different flavors  and tastes, some a rocking hit of a favorite for the whole family, some that evoke a 'Oh no!, not this..' and then the others that we don't even give  a second thought to before scarfing it down. It takes all kids of dishes to nourish a family!

I have no clue what the next four (make that the last three) days will bring, but today, its a tribute to a classic dish from 'Aamchi Mumbai' (My/Our Mumbai) in the western state of Maharashtra. Kothimbir Vadi , Addictive fried morsels of a steamed chickpea dough flavored with lots of fresh cilantro. I picked up a recipe from 'Vegetarian Maharashtrian cuisine' by Sugandha Patil, but decided to tweak the recipe to a gluten free version.


Kothimbir Vadi 

You need:
1 cup Chickpea flour
1/2 Bajra (Millet) flour
2 tablespoons Oat bran
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 large bunch cilantro (~ 2 cups), chopped fine (Mainly the leaves)
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon Asafetida
1/4 cup sesame seeds. toasted 
2 green Thai chiles
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste
1 cup Kefir or soured yogurt
Oil for pan frying

Sift together the flours, Oat bran, along with the cayenne chile powder, turmeric, asafetida and toasted sesame seeds. Crush the garlic and the Thai chiles (with a bit of salt to assist in pulverizing) in a Mortar and Pestle and add to the flour along with the cilantro.



Add Kefir / soured yogurt to make a pancake like batter. Pour the batter into two 9 inch circular pans. Place these pans on a steamer and steam each plate for 15 minutes until the batter sets into a firm pancake. Allow to cool completely



Using a 1 inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out the pieces and perforate lightly with a fork (aka just poke the pieces once or twice with a fork).

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a skillet and place about 6 of the steamed pieces at a time to pan fry for about a minute. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Remove onto kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil. Serve up hot with a cup of Masala tea .



 And yes, the classic Sriracha Sauce is by far the best condiment I've had to pair the little bites with. Its simply a perfect pairing!







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