Lunch Box Series : LBS#9

Todays lunch was a simple Potlakaya Kootu with Andhra Vadiyalu or Odiyalu. and homemade Avakai Urukai. Potlakaya is what is called Snakegourd in English and Pudalankay in Tamil. Amma makes this potlakaya kutu quite frequently. This version is adapted from the Tamil Kootu but I guess she has changed quite a few things to suit our taste. I also make this often for Lunch box as a variety from the regular dal varieties. Another yummy dish that Amma makes from Potlakaya is bajji. She cuts it into thin rings and dips in Basan and fries. They make such a wonderful snack.

Once upon a time during a rainy season, hubby dear wished for this Potlakaya bajji. So took upon myself to prepare the bajji. I had everything ready what with the Snakegourd cut into rings and the batter also ready. Either I was busy or when I was free, it never rained. It remained in the fridge for 3 days, finally hubby dear said he is fed up and wanted me to make it anyway. So I did potlakaya bajji and we eat assuming it was raining outside. I haven't attempted at this bajji since then.

Coming to the Vadiyalu, am sure every Indian kid would've had a brush with this food item. As a kid, I remember the days during the summer vacation, when we won't know how else to keep us occupied, Amma would plan to make the Vadiyalu. We will get up early in the morning and see Amma will be busy preparing the batter required. We would then take big plastic sheets for drying the vadams. She would've prepare so much that by the time, it would be scorching hot, still we won't mind and continue with the passion of making the cakes in the hot sun. Amma used to make different varieties like karam Vadiyalu, Sabiyam Vadiyalu, with Tomatoes. Also the shapes used to vary like the Muruku, Savai and then like pancakes. I guess for the Muruku, its a different recipe. Will have to ask Amma on this.

Above all, plain Rice Vadiyalu is all time hit. These days, we don't do it anymore, more because of hectic schedules and other routine things. But writing this post makes me realise that I should also give such wonderful memories to my kids. So this is what I am going to do for my daughter's next summer vacation...

The vadiyalu that we have at home are prepared by my sis-inlaw. They have lot of open space where they can indulge in such fancies. So every year, she prepares kilos os this batter and sends us a parcel which last for year or less. Normally these stays good for more than a year, unless you serve these for a party, which is what I did and finished off my stock. So we had to prepare them again.

Today's Lunch Box had

Potalaykaya Kootu
Biyam Vadiyalu
Plain Rice
Curd Rice.
Avakai Urukai (Pickle)Potalaykaya Kootu

Ingredients Needed:

Potlaykaya or Snakgourd - 250 gms
Bengal gram Dal (Channa dal) - 1 cup
Onions - 1 small
Tomatoes - 2 small
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds + urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean the Bengal Gram dal and pressure cook for 3 whistles or till cooked. Keep it aside.

Chop Snake gourd into small pieces after scooping the inner seeds off. Add salt and keep aside for 10 mins. Then squeeze out the water. Its ready to be cooked.

Meanwhile chop Onions and Tomatoes. Heat oil in a cooker, I normally use the same cooker I used for boiling bengal gram.

Add seasoning items, once mustard pops, sauté in onions. Fry till they are brown in colour. Then add tomatoes. Mix in all the powders. Fry on high flame and simmer till the tomatoes are soft and well done.

Then add the squeezed snakegourd pieces and fry for 2 mins. Once done, add the cooked Bengal Gram. Add enough water and put it for 1 more whistle after covering it with lid.

Once the pressure is off, sprinkle in grated coconut and cook on high flame for 2 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves if needed.

Biyam Vadiyalu (Rice Vadams)

This can be done either with fresh rice or with left over rice. With fresh rice, soak rice for 4 hrs, dry in under fan or just like that. Then run it in mixie. Boil water in a pan. Once it starts boiling, add the rice flour with salt and mix it vigorously so that there are no lumps formed. Cumin seeds can be added for taste.

Proportion is normally 1 cup rice with 2 cups of water. As you keep stirring, you can judge if you want a loose batter or thick one. While its quite hot, we take a ladle full and spread on either plastic sheet or cloth and dry them under sun.

With left out rice, run the rice with little water to get a batter. Boil it as how you do with the fresh ones after adding salt to taste and cumin seeds. Other interesting ingredients can be added to give more flavour.

Vadams need to be dried under sun until it comes out easily off the sheet.

This can be stored for over a year. Take out in batches and fry them in hot oil, as how you fry appalams or pooris.

Even fried vadiyalu stays good if you store in a Air-tight container for 2 to 3 days.

This is our simple lunch box, hope you enjoyed it.

I am sending the Biyam Vadiyalu to Sharmi for JFI: Rice.

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