Thakkali vathal is very easy to prepare. Basically it is a tomato flavoured javvarisi vathal. These vathals look and taste heavenly.
TOMATO PUREE * 1 CUP
WATER 9 CUPS
LEMON JUICE 1 TBSP
MAVU JAVVARISI 2 CUPS
GREEN CHILLI 10
HING 2 TSP
SALT 2 TSP
First soak the javvarisi in 6 cups water for 3 hrs.
Boil 2.5 cups water along with tomato puree and hing.
When the mixture starts to boil add javvarisi with soaked water.
When javvarisi is cooked colour changes and becomes transparent and starts to come up in the surface.
Grind the chillies with salt and dilute with 1/2 cup water .Add it to javvarisi koozh .
Switch off the gas and remove the vessel from the heat and close with the lid.
Once the koozh is cooled completely add the lemon juice and mix well.
Spread a tb spoon of this mixture on a plastic sheet/veshti/ parchment sheet .Finish the entire koozh by spooning 1 tbspoon on the sheet and dry it in hot sun for minimum 2 days.
After 2 days you can remove the dried vathals easily.
Once dried completely store them in airtight containers.
These can be stored for atleast one year.
*Take 2 or 3 tomatoes. Chop and blend them in a mixer. Strain the puree to remove the skin and seeds.
For some reason I bought a packet of chili vathal from asuper market. When some guests were invited i used that packet.Every one who tasted the fried chili was in tears and not to mention the tongue. On examining the packet the ingredients list was missing and the label simply mentioned ” CHILLI VATHAL”. My guess is that chili and salt mixture was dried in the sun and packed . When my mom used to fry the chili vathal I can smell the aroma of fenugreek seeds. So I decided to prepare my own, recipe courtesy my mom.
Chili needed for this vathal is slightly short and plump. Thin and long variety is not preferred since it is charred easily when you fry the vathal in oil. Let us proceed to the method
short and plump chilli 1 kg
table salt 2 cups
sour curd 3 cups
fenugreek seeds 3 tbspoon
urad dal 1 tbsp
Soak fenugreek seeds and urad dal in water for an hour
Meanwhile wash the chillies and cut the stem slightly keeping the chilli in tact
Also slightly make a slit on the sharper edge without splitting the chilli
Add salt and curd and mix well
Grind the soaked ingredients into a smooth paste and mix with chillies
Next day remove the chillies from the mixture and dry in the sun. Keep the remaining liquid in the same vessel. In the evening add these semi dried chillies to the remaining liquid.
Next day also repeat the same process
Within 2 or 3 days all the liquid will be absorbed and the chillies will be coated with this paste
After this you will be drying these chillies in hot sun everyday till the coated mixture becomes dry and crumbly
You can see the chilly colour changed to pale yellow/off white and brittle
at this stage you can store this in an airtight container
Fry them in oil and serve as an accompanyment to curd rice
- Cluster beans or kothavarai kai vathal is a tasty vathal that goes very well with paruppu urundai kuzhambu , sambar and curd rice. Even persons disliking cluster beans may relish this vathal.
Cluster beans 1kg
sour curd enough to immerse the beans
- heat a pan with water enough to immerse the beans
- when water starts boiling add the whole cluster beans .
- when semi cooked drain the water and cool
- add buttermilk and salt and mix well
- next day on wards dry the beans in hot sun
- after a couple of days of sun drying you can store it for a year
- deep fry in medium hot oil and eenjoy as a side dish
In India , vegetables are freshly cooked, eaten raw/ripe form , pickled and sun dried. Specially in the southern parts , numerous vegetables are used after drying them in the summer months. Vegetables like night shade, turkey berry , bitter gourd, okra , chilli and cluster beans are popular and common. Brinjals and field beans are also sun dried, though they are not as popular as the first list. Todays blog will deal with the preparation of these vathals.
MANATHAKKALI VATHAL ( NIGHT SHADE VATHAL)
green manathakkali 1kg
salt 3/4 cup
sour buttermilk enough to immerse the seeds
- Soak the manathakkali in buttermilk and salt solution for 2 to 3 days stirring the mixture everyday at least once.
- On the second or third day remove the seeds from the solution and dry in the sun. Do not discard the solution.
- In the evening mix the partially dry seeds into the leftover buttermilk solution.
- Repeat the process till the buttermilk solution is dried up.
- Once the manathakkali berries have absorbed the entire solution keep them drying in the sun till they are completely dry
- At this stage you can see the excess salt being separated in the form of powder
- Collect the dried seeds.
These dried seeds are the manathakkali vathal. Fry them in oil/ghee and mix with hot ricewith a dollop of ghee before you start with the main course. Or you can use the vathal in the preparation of vathakuzhambu.
For beginners javvarisi vathal prepartion is recommended. In India the shopkeepers sell two varieties of javvarisi or sabudhana. One is called the nylon variety and the other one is called maavu variety. For vathal purposes maavu variety is recommended. In case it is not available you can use the nylon variety but the results and water requirements will be different.
Basically javvarisi is cooked in water and some spices are added.But the difficulty lies in getting the right consistency of the porridge. My mom cooks one cup javvarisi in two and a half cup water and later she keeps mixing warm water to dilute and make the vathals. This is an intimidating method reserved only for the seasoned hands. I have also tried this method . But the result is too random. So I gave up this method .
There are some who use seven cups water to cook one cup javvarisi. After cooking the porridge is allowed to cool completely and the spices are added. This method produces vathals which are waferlike . That is vathal did not have a solid feeling when munched. Somehow my tastebuds are not alligned to this structure of vathal.
There is another version which uses five cups of water to cook one cup of javvarisi. Once cooked allow it to cool for half an hour or so and add spices and make vathal. I prefer this method because it is very close to my mother’s recipe. She adds two and a half cup in the beginning and may be around two and a half later. Taste and texture also resulted as in my mother’s method.
maavu variety javvarisi 1 cup
water 5 cups
lemon juice 1/2 tb sp
salt 3/4 to 1 teaspoon
hing 1 teaspoon
green chilli 3 or 4
cotton sheet/veshti/plastic sheet/parchment paper to spread the porridge.
- wash the javvarisi.
- soak in 2 cups water for 3 hrs.
- boil the remaining 3 cups water with salt and hing.
- meanwhile grind the green chillies with salt to a paste.
- whie water starts rolling add the soaked javvarisi and any water left.
- cook till the javvarisi becomes transparent and floats.
- keep stirring since javvarisi sticks to the bottom and burns.
- once cooked remove from heat.
- close the lid and wait for 1/2 hour to 1 hr till it cools.
- add the chilli paste and lemon juice.
- mix well and spoon it into discs and dry in the sun.
- if using cotton cloth peeling will be difficult. So you wet the back side of the cloth and wait for few minutes. Automatically vathals can be peeled.
- if using plastic / parchment sheets peeling is easy.
- after 2 or 3 days of drying in the hot sun vathal can be stored in airtight containers.
- when needed fry in hot oil.
- enjoy crispy white javvarisi vathal.
Last time I mentioned about starting with simple vathal preparation. Vathal needs to be dried under direct hot sun for at least three to four days. While most of our neighbours wait for the months of april and may , my mother marks rathasapthami as her benchmark. Reason being sun ‘s northward journey will ensure hot days and she has the comfort of january morning coolness while vathal is spread in the mottai madi (terrace).
So our mottai madi ( terrace) gets a make up on the eve of vathal season . Mama’s ( male members especially fil and husband ie vaayilla poochi ) veshti(s) is (are) washed and dried. So also heavy bottomed vessels and vathal naazhi (press) with different moulds are taken out from the paran or attam and cleaned . Rice is selected , soaked and ground into powder.
In our house it is customary to feed the crows with freshly cooked rice everyday as they represent our ancestors. Used to this pampering crows of different size and differnt shades of black can be seen on the trees , antenna , parapet walls and window sills. But the same crows become villains to mamis when the latter ventures into vathal making. Crows have a liking for semi dried vathal .They fly at a correct speed and angle and lift the vathal like the seagull catching the fish in the ocean. Precision and accuracy of the crow is a real challenge to mamis. Mamis have also perfected the art of scaring the crows . Open the almirah— choo manthrekaali —— kunjalam, chowri and old black umbrellas are out there. These are the magic weapons in the hands of mamis to fight with the menacing crows. Till this day I have no clue about the origins of this. But , with my siblings I have also spread these around the vathals and scared the crows!
Most important aspect of vathal making is maintaining strict hierarchy. Octogenarians advisory powers ,seniors’ executive powers and juniors’ edubidi velai are clearly demarcated and adhered to.
Today I am calling KAA KAA in my terrace . To my utter dismay there are no crows or sparrows. Empty terrace pains me. We have lost a lot of our soul friends to the technological comforts .
In south indian brahmin houses reaching the level of vathal is equivalent to doctorate and you are admitted into the MAMI’S CLUB. In most of our houses making filter coffee , and cutting simple veg is the first step ; second step is rasam and simple curry ; next is sambar and kootu ; simultaneously idli dosa batter, semia payasam or kesari are taught ; this marks the readiness for taking out the jathakakattu.
When I announced my desire to join mamis club my mother bombarded me with several dos and donts. One can imagine the hype around vathal making. Though the procedure of vathal making is simple in book end result is not always encouraging. Poor results coupled with cleaning chores discourage everyone . But my dear hubby stood by my side . Promised not to let me down .
Vathal is akin to baking . Ingredients, measurements and steps are to be followed meticulously . This is totally different from everyday indian cooking where there is a margin for error that can be rectified without panicking. Since we are used to this method of cooking , vathal preparation may look like a monster.
Before the internet era generally vathal recipes were handed down from your mom or mil or some senior mamis. But today we are in a position to compare different methods and make use of hints from a broader group of vathal enthusiasts.
Javvarisi is a popular ingredient in making vathal . It can be combined with rice to make different kinds of vathal.My advice for beginners is to start with pure javvarisi or vegetables or killu vadam.