HYDERABAD: Come August and the Hindu calendar swells with festive dates. It’s that time of the year when Vignaharta, the remover of obstacles, reinstates hopes of a better tomorrow. “Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with flowers, decorations and delicacies are done with much fervour in South Indian homes,” says Gita Hari, culinary expert and wellness food curator.
A staunch promoter of wellness food, Gita informs, “To combat these trying times, I have added some healthy, immunity-boosting ingredients to the dishes.”
Dal flaxseed Vada
It is packed with the goodness of lentils and spices. Flax seeds add a dose of Omega 3 fats and dietary fibre to the scrumptious vadas.
Chana dal ½ cup | Urad dal ¼ cup | Tur dal ¼ cup | Flax seeds 3 tbsp
Red chillies 2 | Green chilli 1 | Saunf ½ tsp | Asafoetida/hing ½ tsp | Crushed black pepper ½ tsp | Curry leaves a sprig| Salt to taste| Oil for frying
■ Wash and soak the dals together for at least 4 hours
■ Dry roast flax seeds and grind them to grainy texture.
■ Drain water from dals. Put them in a mixer jar along with chillies.
■ Grind coarsely with very little water.
■ Mix in ground flaxseed, curry leaves, hing, crushed pepper, saunf and salt.
■ Heat oil in a pan, on medium flame.
■ Take a lemon-sized ball of dal batter on the palm of your hand. Flatten it and gently introduce it to the oil.
■ Repeat by making six vadas at a time. Fry till golden brown on both the sides.
■ Serve hot with chutney.
This is usually prepared with rice soaked overnight, and ground with jaggery and banana. I have substituted rice batter with wheat flour to make it quick.
You will need a five or seven cavity paniyaram pan for this. Alternately, it can be made like a dosa or appam. Jaggery is full of antioxidants and triggers happy hormones.
Atta/whole wheat flour 1 cup | Gur/jaggery grated ¾ cup | Cardamom powder ¼ tsp | Fresh coconut pieces | a handful Oil or ghee for frying
■ Dissolve jaggery in 1 cup water.
■ Stir in the flour to make a smooth batter. Adjust to get dosa batter consistency.
■ Mix in cardamom powder and coconut pieces.
■ Fill the cavities of paniyaram pan with ghee or oil and heat on medium flame.
■ Pour one ladleful of batter in each cavity.
■ Wait till they turn golden brown. Then flip to cook on the other side.
■ Remove on a tissue napkin to drain excess ghee/oil.
■ Pro-tip: In case the appam disintegrates, stir in a little more wheat flour without adding water.
Modaks are synonymous with Ganpathy. To cut down on its laborious method is this time-saving flattened rice or poha-based easy recipe. Goodness of jaggery and dry fruits for that guilt-free bingeing.
Hard atukulu one cup | Jaggery grated ½ cup | Mixed chopped dry fruits ¼ cup (cashewnuts, raisins, dates, almond flakes, walnut) | Ghee 2 tbsp | Cardamom powder ¼ tsp
■ Wash and soak atukulu (poha) in very little water
■ Boil jaggery in ½ cup water.
■ When it foams, add poha and stir gently to avoid it getting mashed.
■ Once poha is cooked, introduce chopped dry fruits and mix them well.
■ Pour in ghee and keep stirring till it is done.
■ Sprinkle cardamom powder
■ Take pan off flame.
■ Once it has slightly cooled down, take small balls of poha preparation in hand and mould them into modaks