Tuesday, April 10, 2018

'Fried' Gram - A Versatile Indian Snack Food

There's nothing quite like munching a warm handful of these little roasted lentils on a winter morning walk through a hill station market, or cuddled up with a book, or while watching a spicy Tamil film - it's a just-about-anytime snack. 

Thamizhpparithi Maari, from Wikimedia Commons

Pottu kadalai is, perhaps, more popular in Tamil Nadu than in other parts of India. And more common in the south than in the north. While I was familiar with the look and taste of the lentil in this form, I had little idea what it was. Even now, I can only be sure it is a roasted lentil - probably a kind of chickpea. Channa? I leave it to one of you to enlighten me.

It often figures in 'mixture' from South India, as one of the ingredients. 

சித்திரவீதிக்காரன், from Wikimedia Commons

Though I knew that it was a component in coconut chutney, I later learned that it is not used in the Kerala version. 

Charles Haynes from Bangalore, India (Coconut Chutney), via Wikimedia Commons

It is only recently that I find it's used as base for gravies like sambar or the delicious gravy they serve in some restaurants down south.

Lavanya Kumara Krishnan, thanjavur kadappa ingredients

And that is only the tip of the iceberg! Find below 7 recipes that use 'fried' gram:

Below, channa dal is used instead to make the spicy powder 

'Podis' are salty, spicy powders, made with lentils, red chili and other things. They can be served with idlis/dosas and even with rice. Conventionally, one adds oil, or ghee to them and makes a paste before serving. 

Sankalp Dravid, from Wikimedia Commons

These delicious spirals are a fantastic snack. In homes, they used to be made, in South India, around festival times. Today you can buy them anywhere. 

A rather exotic version!

GoDakshin, - Kozhukattai closeup
Kozhukattai or Kadubu is a special sweet / spicy preparation made during festivals such as the Ganesha Chathurthi (in Septembeer) in India. Filled with a sweet filling of coconut and jaggery in the center covered by a steamed rich dough. Recipe - www.top-indian-recipes.com/blog/5-kozhukattai-recipes-for...

The gram is also used to make sambar!

My favourite is Kadappa, a gravy that goes well with idli/dosa/poori and more.

Researching for this post, I discovered that some women in India appear to use it to delay their period. I've no idea whether there is any research to support this claim. 

Tomorrow, we take off at a tangent and look at some books, for a change. 

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