Green Vadai and coconut chutney (gluten-free, vegan, savoury)

For mid-day snacking yesterday, I made sprouted green mung vadais, hardly different from the traditional version. It’s merely a healthier and greener version; it might be considered fusion cooking, it would taste a bit odd to someone accustomed to vadas and I’d have to elaborate.

Sprouting is the easiest thing: soak overnight then sprout! Mine sprouted in porcelain and terracotta bowls, layering soaked beans at the bottom of a bowl is a sprouting method (thanks, Leandra!). Rather than give them a light sprinkle of water the next day, they better be used or chucked in the fridge to stop the sprouting to get best results with this recipe. The ‘dough’ can be made kept in the fridge a day or 2 or frozen for up to a week.

If you can’t find plantains/ breadfruit/ green bananas/ yams, potatoes or soon-to-ripen green bananas or what seems green to a western grocer will do, but it may have a hint of sweet and use more mung maybe. You’d want a slightly crumbly dough that nonetheless sticks together, like for making bean burgers. These can also be made with mung only and whether with starchy veg or chopped veggies or both, they make great burgers. Vadais are usually made with well-soaked split black urad dahl (black mung bean) and quantities may differ from above. This version would cook faster than regular vadas, kachoris, chilli bites – thus figuratively greener as well as literally (full of mung pulp, thus high in fibre).

Morchaigal Vadai

2 cups mung beans after soaking and sprouting 1 day (with skins)
1 large green banana (boiled) yielding about 1 cup mashed.
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp ginger (to be ground)
1/2 dried chilli (as above)
1 or 2 curry leaves (as above)
5 or so onion slices (as above but optional)
1-2 tsp cilantro, chopped finely (or spring onion)
Oil for deep-frying*

Boil banana then simmer 5 minutes or just until the skin starts to split (if it’s not so green, just a few minutes until a knife goes in easily). Mash and leave to cool.

Grind everything (except cilantro or spring onion). Mix in the mashed banana and cilantro or other chopped greens. Make into donut-like shapes (5-8cm wide) by first making little balls, then flatten them and make a hole with your pinky. Make as many your pot can handle, without crowding them as you drop them in hot oil. Deep-fry on low heat turning once, until both sides are brown. Let them drip in a bowl, colander or on kitchen paper before serving.

I tried baking at 175’C/350’F for 10 minutes max on each sides. They weren’t like you’d expect them to be and I don’t think they’d be any good when cooled. Pan-frying both sides works, oiling only 1st or 2nd side (in my cast iron griddle, non stick might need no oil?). There is also this method.

My brown rice idlis (with rice flour only and baking powder instead of fermentation) were a flop – the perils of cooking too many things at once, or downside of adapting cuisine to my allergic needs. Since I can’t eat dahl, had it with coconut chutney and this stew – which can be made stove-top..perhaps there’s a part 3 coming up. Stews can also be made with kachoris or koftas but that would’ve meant making more dishes to eat my veggies.

This is how I always made chutney, with as few ingredients as possible:

Simple Coconut Chutney
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1/2 inch ginger (optional)

3/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
1 red chili
1 tbsp oil

(C): Some tamarind pulp soaked in water or juice of half a small lemon (1 tsp)
salt to taste

Grind together ingredients (A) with a little water until all the coconut is ground.

Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds then red chilli and curry leaves. When the seeds crackle, add (A). Stir, immediately turn off the heat, and squeeze in the lemon half. Stir again and voila, coconut chutney.

Great with dosa or a bunch of Indian dishes, it can probably replace pachadi. Substitute only garlic instead of above spices if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol issues (coconut quite fatty for non-vegans?).

The other day I made kuttu dosai without flax seeds and they were amazing, and I’ll call them that because people have asked me what buckwheat is like a million times recently, using foreign names can lead to less questions. I can’t eat dried whole/split lentils, non-soy beans and legumes/pulses unsprouted. I can however eat insane amounts of unsprouted soy (more amino acids), soy is defo good for me and healthy!

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