My father was complaining about the summer heat in Bangalore last week, over a phone call. It seems that they had almost hit the mark of 40 deg C (around 104 deg F), a sort of record in the recorded meteorological history of the city. Those who live in Indian cities / towns where they experience summer season all through out the year, in varying degrees may wonder what we are grumbling about. However for the local Bangaloreans, it is nothing short of a catastrophe. The city was oncecknown for it's greenery and serene, cool climate but over the years, it gradually is tipping towards the opposite side.
Keeping the heat woes aside, there are also some great things to look forward in the summer. It is the season when the plump and luscious mangoes and fragrant jasmine flowers show up in the markets. And it is also the time for mothers / grandmothers to start making jar loads of variety of pickles and start stocking up on year load supplies of vadiyalu, appadalu, orugulu and such sun-dried stuff. Coming up to the latter stuff, vadiyalu aka sun dried crisps are made through out India during summer months and go by regional names. Appadalu or papad are made generally using black bean and are paper thin circles. Where as orugulu (in Telugu language) are sun-dried vegetables or peels. Vadiyalu which go by regional names like wadi, sandige or vadam are sundried crisps made using legumes / rice flour / tapioca pearls / beaten rice flakes / popped rice grains and such.
I chose to go with 'wadiyalu / vadiyalu' as the star ingredient for today's recipe. Mostly we tend to use the latter spelling when talking about these summer bounty. However 'va' and 'wa' are similar sounding in Indian context and logically speaking there is no rule that vadiyalu has to be spelt in that particular way since it is not an English word. Besides, they are called 'wadi' in several Indian languages and so, I chose to go with the word 'Wadiyalu' for today's post. And did I forget to mention why this maneuvering around the spelling? There are no ingredients or recipes in Telugu language that start with the alphabet 'W'. And a pulusu / stew prepared using wadiyalu is going to be my 'W' dish today, under the A to Z Andhra vegetarian recipe series I am doing this month.
Wadiyalu / Vadiyalu are meant to perk up any meal while some are served as a side dish for rice. Minapappu wadiyalu (Black gram / urad dal wadi) / Gummadi wadiyalu (Black gram - ash gourd ones) fall under the latter category and we eat them with rice. They are also used to make curries and stews like today's post. I have been making my own supply of vadiyalu for over a decade now and I usually have a very big box full of variety of wadiyalu / sundried chips in stock through out the year. I have been to India during the past two summers and couldn't prepare wadiyalu then. However I am looking forward for a successful summer this year, in terms of wadi making.
The spicy minapappu wadiyalu aka black gram ones are my most favorite ones and the fried wadis are used in making this pulusu aka spicy, sweet and tangy stew. I had only a handful of minappau wadiyalu left in my stock and so I used pesarapappu ones (moong - methi wadis) instead. If using the black gram ones, they are added to the stew just before serving since they get soggy once dropped in the stew. Here is a version of that pulusu I already posted but it is prepared using lentils. However if using moong dal ones, they are cooked along with stew since they are harder and retain their structure even after cooking. This pulusu is flavorful and comes handy when one runs out of vegetables. Besides, it takes around 10 minutes from start to finish and a simple one to prepare. However attaining a right balance of the flavors is the key. It was hard to capture the dish since wadiyalu and all the seasoning including the curry leaves kept sinking into the pulusu as it doesn't provide a thick base for the stuff to stand on. There are about 30 pieces of wadiyalu in that stew and each wadiyam that can be seen in the image is stacked on about another 3 or 4 wadiyalu. :))
Here are links for some of the dishes I mentioned above.
Minapappu vadiyalu / Black gram Wadi
Pesarapappu vadiyalu / Mungori
Sundried Potato Chips
Vadiyala pulusu with lentils
Ingredients: (3 servings)
Wadiyalu / Vadiyalu *
Oil for frying + 2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
Few curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
About 1/4 cup thick tamarind water **
2 tbsp. chickpea flour / rice flour (I used besan / chickpea flour / senaga pindi.)
1/4 tsp. chili powder (or accordingly)
Salt to taste
1 - 2 tsp. sugar / jaggery powder
* 1 cup minapappu / black gram / urad dal wadiyalu or 1/2 cup moong / pesara pappu wadiyalu
** Soak about a big lemon sized tamarind in water until it softens or nuke the tamarind and water in a microwave for 3 minutes. Squeeze the pulp and extract thick juice.
* Heat oil and fry the wadiyalu until they turn a few shades darker. They fry very quickly and so, close attention needs to be paid not to burn them. Scoop them out using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
* Add rice flour / chickpea flour and a few tbsp. of water to a small cup and make a smooth paste. (I added 2 tbsp. of toasted chickpea flour instead.) Rice flour or chickpea flour acts as the thickening agent here since lentils are not used in the recipe.
* Heat 2 tsp. oil in a sauté pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric.
* Next add tamarind juice, jaggery powder, chili powder, salt, rice flour paste / chickpea flour and about 1&1/2 cups of water to the pan. If using moong dal wadiyalu, add them to the pan as well at this point. The quantity of chili powder used depends upon the spiciness of the wadiyalu being used. Mine were very spicy and so a little chili powder was used.
* Mix everything with a ladle and check the consistency. It should be of pourable consistency like sambhar and if needed, add extra water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. There must be a balance between the dominant flavors of the dish. Highlighting any one flavor ruins the dish.
* Turn down the stove and simmer for a couple of minutes more.
* If using minappapu wadiyalu / black gram wadi, add them to the stew just before eating so that the crunchiness of wadiyalu is retained.
* Serve with rice and ghee.
So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora
L for Lauzu
M for Matikkaaya Kaaram Koora
N for Nimmakaaya Kaaram
O for Ottotti
P for Perugu Vadalu
Q for Qubani ka Meetha
R for Ragi Sangati
S for Satyanarayana Vrata Prasadam
T for Theepi Dibba Rotte
U for Usirikaaya Pulihora
V for Vankaya Kothimira Karam Koora
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.