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Nagpuri Pudachi Vadi, An Indian Spring -Roll

Pudachi vadi

There are some recipes that invoke images of large family get together, where everyone pitches in. Uncles get fresh vegetables from the market. Everyone sits around cleaning the vegetables, shelling the beans and peas, separating the tender greens from the tough stalk like cilantro or mint. Tea and snacks follows a tedious session. Gossip overflows and kids play around. Such sessions were always in my aunt’s house where we used to gather for family weddings or special occasions.

And the session used to be amply rewarded with special snacks – pudachi vadi ( or spring roll), anarse ( or sweet pancakes made from a poppy-seed – rice flour batter), or simple roti’s with home-made relishes ( mango or berries). The crispy crunchy gram flour filling of pudachi vadi was a special attraction for both kids and adults alike. Similar to the crisped bits of bacon that stick to the pan or crusty ends of home-made bread loaf. As a kid I wasn’t fond of the cilantro filling but have grown fond of it. Either my taste buds have evolved or I had begun to love recipes that my family made traditionally while I missed them in US. It brought me closer to them in some sense.

Corriander chopped up for vaid

I used to ask my aunt to make it for me on every visit – though I never attempted to make it myself. Till this past weekend, wanting to eat something interesting, I asked my cousin sister to share the recipe. My cousin shared the recipe with a lot of step by step instructions ending with “I will come over and help you make them” assurance. My task was to make the filling which she was sure I wouldn’t mess up.

Rolling out the vadi

I agreed and secretly planned to surprise her with the ready-made goodies when she came over. And boy, she was in for a treat. These rolls turned out to perfectly crunchy with a very savory filling. It was perfect for the cool evenings that we have although the days are warm. Filled with finely diced cilantro, poppy and sesame seeds and seasoned lightly with Indian spices, it is a satisfying snack. Complemented with a salad and a bottle of white wine it makes a filling vegetarian meal. I am sure this has the power to convert cilantro haters but the recipe can be adapted with any other greens – kale, mustard, mint, baby spinach comes to my mind.

Vadi before frying

Pudachi vadi cooked

Although I must admit that if my cousin had rolled them up, they would have been more artfully made with crisp edges!

Ready to eat with some thandaai

Pudachi Vadi Recipe

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 7 – 10 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 inch ginger root minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cups finely chopped coriander leaves (or any other greens that you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup raw mango grated (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins(optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the cover dough

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chickpea flour or besan
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup curd beaten
  • 1 teaspoon hot oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water

To make the rolls

  • 1/4 cup curd in a bowl to spread on the rolls
  • Oil for frying

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and then fry onion till translucent. Add the garlic and fry till the garlic gives out a fragrance but has not browned. Add coconut, poppy and sesame seeds and fry till cooked through. Further add ginger, chili powder and garam masala and cook for another minute or sauce.

Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and fry the coriander leaves till they crisp up. Add the onion-coconut mix. Season with salt. Take off heat. Add lemon juice, raw mango, and raisins (if using them) and mix well.

Adjust seasonings if necessary and set aside to cool.

3. Mix the ingredients for the dough to form a soft but firm dough. It should be soft enough to be able to roll out into a thin sheet or roti.

4. Take a ping-pong ball sized dough ( or lemon in US) , and form a 4 – 6 inch thin disc. Spread a bit of yogurt on the sheet. Keep a generous helping of coriander mix on the dough and then form a triangular pocket/ roll.

Make sure you crimp the edges so the rolls won’t open up while frying. Make all rolls and set aside.

5. Heat oil for frying while you make the dough. Once the oil is heated through but not smoking, fry the rolls one by one.

Serve hot with mint chutney or yogurt though they are savory enough to be eaten as is.

Guilt Free Healthy Snacking Trio

Makhana peanust and murmura

Seriously – this is the time of the year when I start thinking of weight loss, better eating habits and how next year I will try to get back in shape. I guess the Diwali goodies, followed by Thanksgiving dinner, special anniversary dinner and the home-baked goodness bought in by colleagues since Halloween finally take their effect and I no longer fit in my jeans.

This past weekend alone we snacked on dabeli, vada pav, gajar ka halwa and then jalebis, parathe and chocolates. Exercise is the only option but takes a long time for its effects to be visible. In the meantime, at snack time, I crave for something crunchy and fried.

Popcorn used to be my staple in US, but in India I was looking for some interesting alternatives.

trio snacks

Enter – Roasted Makhanas, peanuts and puffed rice.

I had these on Kurnool trip. Ranjana had got these roasted puffed rice and makhanas for the kids and we all nibbled on them.

Makhanas and Puffed rice (or murmura) are popular snacks in India. Roasted and seasoned they are eaten on the go. Luckily, they are widely available across US in Indian grocery stores in largish bags. Dry roasting them in oil or ghee and seasoning them make them crunchier – perfect for that mid afternoon craving.

While they are mostly carb based with about 10% protein (per the package that I bought in India), I added roasted peanuts to the mix to increase the protein. Leave them if you are allergic.

roasted makhana

They are perfect for toddlers as they are bite sized, easy to make , portable and store for weeks in air tight container. Play with seasoning of your choice to keep it interesting. Dig in whenever hunger strikes. They have a satisfying crunch which increases their  snack-factor. Hurrah for guilt free healthy snacking!

Varun snacking

Roasted Makahanas, Puffed Rice and Peanuts Recipe

  • Makhanas – 3-4 cups
  • Puffed Rice – 3-4 cups
  • Peanuts – 3-4 cups
  • Oil or Glee – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Red Chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Fresh ground pepper – 2 tsp
  • Hing ( Asafoetida) – 1 /2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 – 2 sprigs
  • Salt

1. Half or quarter makhanas if they are big for even roasting.

2. Heat half of oil or ghee in wide shallow pan. Once heated add cumin seeds. Add half of chili and turmeric powder. Add pepper powder. Roast them in oil and then add salt. Finally add makhana seeds. Mix well. Keep stirring the seeds in the pan till they are crisp for about 3-5 minutes.

Take care they don’t char. Remove from the pan and let cool.

3. Add remaining oil and then add hing powder and  curry leaves. Once crisp, add remaining chili, turmeric powder and salt , and then add puffed rice. Roast well till the seasonings mix with the puffed rice.

Remove from the pan and cool.

4. Lastly, dry roast peanuts with their skin on in the same pan for 5- 7  minutes till they are roasted through and crisp.

Remove from the pan and cool. You may remove the skin if you don’t like it. Usually kids don’t.

5. Store separately in airtight containers.

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