One incident in my life opened my mind to new foods, foods that I wasn't exposed to and also to creating new innovative dishes and serving them in a way that they would not usually be served.
It is invariably the most hilarious experience of my cooking life. Of course not at that time, but later I found myself laughing over the incident.
I have to tell you that I was a kid myself, at the time. Everything was a competition.
My husband and I had a visitor who, just like my husband hailed from Tamil Nadu- a southern state of the Indian peninsula, who also happened to be my husband's boss at work. Every time he visited he was supposed to carry my favourite vegetables for me as they were unavailable in the state of Kerala where we were stationed at the time. In return I promised him the tastiest food he could ever get. This time I chose to make dosas, to show him that I, in spite of hailing from a Northern state could make great Dosas (tastiest crepes of the south).
Well, it didn't turn out to be so.
As soon as I put the batter on the griddle it crinkled up and looked like my favourite fabric, Chiffon.
Four chiffon dosas later I was in tears and ran to my husband for help. Creative man that he is, he made me sit down and went into the kitchen and piled the accompaniments onto a slice of bread along with the chiffon dosa, topped it with another slice, grilled the sandwich and served it with tomato ketchup.
With every bite the boss kept saying,"I love it, I know the taste but cannot place it. What is this?" All I told him was that it was a secret. Today I am letting out that secret.
I have created a new recipe that marries the north and the south.
Kidney beans are the second most favourite of most children in the Northern states of India, after cottage cheese. Rice is a staple in the Southern states as it grows in the coastal region. A staple dish of the South, idli, has probably never been made with kidney beans.
I have used these beans to create a filling tea-time snack, a complete meal for hungry children and adults.
|steamed kidney bean and rice cakes|
STEAMED KIDNEY BEAN AND RICE CAKES
.Kidney beans (rajma)....................................1 cup(raw)
.Parboiled rice grits(idli rava)..........................2 1/2 cups*
.Flattened Rice(Poha)....................................1/2 cup
.Water...........................................................2 cups or as needed
.Soak parboiled rice grits in 5 cups of water, overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.
.In a blender grind the black gram dal into a fine paste till buttery in texture. Put in a large bowl and set
.Grind the soaked kidney beans finely and add the flattened rice and grind together till it is a fine paste.
.Add to the black gram dal.
.Add a little water to facilitate the grinding process.
.Mix well to aerate the batter.
.Stack the mould plates.
.Steam the kidney bean and rice cakes in a steamer or a pressure cooker(without the whistle) for 12
minutes(after the water in the steamer starts a rolling boil) on low to medium heat.
.De-mould these beautiful, airy and soft idlis (using a spoon)and serve piping hot with Coconut Chutney or
the spicy red chili mix(molagapodi), plain yogurt or just with a dollop of unsalted butter or drizzle with chili
|steamed kidney bean and rice cakes|
*Parboiled rice is partially boiled rice and it's grits are available in Indian speciality stores and are called
Idli Rava. If not available you can use parboiled rice. Grinding this takes a little longer .
.Use 1/3rd of the quantity to make steamed cakes.
.Refrigerate the mixture well covered with cling film. Use 1/3rd of the remaining mixture to make crepes and
the remaining batter to make spicy pancakes.(recipes to follow soon).
*The rice being heavy settles down at the bottom of the container, hence to get it into the ladle dip it right
down to the bottom.
.Do not stir the mixture till you have finished making the steamed cakes as that will destroy the air pockets
and give you dense steamed cakes.
.In case you don't have a mould don't fret just get creative and use well-oiled metal cookie cutters in a
plate and keep it on a raised surface like an over-turned bowl inside the steamer.
.You can also boil the soaked beans for 10 minutes and cool them before grinding, to be absolutely safe.