Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Batata Vada !!

“ At times all you need to do is...
inform the 'RIGHT THING' to your brains “
This happened quite some time back. One summer evening I received a call from a neighbor of mine asking whether she could talk to Parth. As, he was not home, I asked her what the matter was all about. She then said, that she wanted to know the measurements for the wall-that wall to which we have our television set placed...probably she wanted to place/mount her LCD ...hence needed to know the exact measurements... and thought 'Parth' would somehow know it. Yeah, maybe Ms.Neighbor was not sure that I could measure it too ! Women - I tell you, at times can be very unsure and stay forever in doubt...about what ? about everything and anything !

Hmm, well whatever the reasons were - I don’t know much and did not find it necessary to ask. We lived  in the same community, so I said ,”it measures the same as yours”. She and her husband were out then, she said.  I said “Okay” and as quickly as I could measured the wall and gave her the exact measurements. Right !

When, Parth got home, I told him about the/her call, he couldn’t help but laugh and wonder - how could he have measured the wall any different? That is when I said,  “she must have forgotten to inform her brains that we (Parth & I)  have been married for quite some time now and have been living together since and by now we know quite a bit about each other and also about the place we have been living in”.
“Ab koi kya kare ? aisa waisa kuch na kuch hota hai bhai hota hai“. 
A simple yet friendly and also a very humble request was then made from our side asking her,  to make sure to you use her brains the next time she calls and not to lose on any ! Well, can share tons of such funny incidents where my dear neighbor had actually forgotten that I existed ! Quite a character to have met ! Anyways - that's that !

That same evening, we had a few friends come over for some "Chai and Gupshup”. I thought of making some scrumptious ‘Batata Vada’s’. While, I was at it, I remembered this incident which took place long long back, wasn’t married then, had never stepped in the kitchen ever.  I remember, we (my friends and me) used to have these ‘Batata vada’s‘  while on our way back home from college.  That day, while enjoying these vada's, my best friend said that she had almost mastered the skill to make ‘Yummy Batata Vada’s ‘. I swear to GOD -
was not at all jealous, uhh uhh – but all I wanted to do then was, as quickly as I could rush home and make a few Batata Vada’s  myself.

I flew home, rushed directly to the kitchen. My mother wasn’t too surprised to see me in the kitchen, she knew I loved food and still do ! But, this time for a change I was there to cook“Okay“ I stood there firm and said, “I want to make ‘ Batata Vada’s’  right from scratch…mouth watering and melting ‘Batata Vada’s“. Mother looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and continued to do what she was doing.  I just stood there looking at her aghast as my mouth whispered “Do I ever get heard in this house ?”  "Here, enters our Drama Queen !" my mother said to 'Ragini' (mama’s helper) then nodding her head she gave me the signal that I could do it only under the supervision of ‘Ragini’.

Ragini then told me the easiest way to make ‘Batata Vada’s’ once the potatoes were boiled. She said, she would mash them for me. But, “HELL NO!” I said,  I wanted to mash them myself. Wanted to mash them to that extent where they could simply meltdown in one’s mouth.  I then, peeled the boiled potatoes and put them in the food processor. We then had Ronald’s Food Processor at home. As I did that, I could see Ragni banging her head against the wall, literally begging me to stop. She uttered this several times ”Manu, you don’t need to use the FP for mashing the potatoes, you can use your hands”.  

Clearly, I ignored to inform my brains that what she was saying was probably 'THE RIGHT THING' I was done with mashing the potatoes in the Food Processor and must I tell you what the end product was? A smooth potato paste ! "Paste toH paste" I said and did not give up, throughout the evening then I kept boiling potatoes, peeling them and mashing them to get the required or say the desired consistency. Later, it was fun frying them.

The entire society that evening had my hand cooked 'Batata Vada’s‘ and nobody was able to differentiate between the potato and the covering made of besan for the ‘vada’s’. It truly kept melting in one’s mouth !

To master that skill of making the perfect mouth watering 'Batata Vada's, all I had to do was, inform my brain’s to stay out of the kitchen and simply watch the 'Kitchen Queens' take over the charge and make 'yummylicious Batata Vada’s  for me; !

You said it right - Now,  you do need to give your brains a little break and follow this recipe for 'Scrumptious Batata Vada's' -

2 medium sized boiled potatoes
( pressure cook upto 3 whistles or if using a microwave, bake them for 10-15 minutes)
3/4th cup
Besan (gram flour) 
A pinch of Asafoetida(hing)
1/2 tsp of Turmeric pwd 
1/2  tsp of Red chilli pwd
1/4th tsp of Mustard seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
4-5 Curry leaves
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste

1. Peel them and slightly mash with hand.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small frying pan and add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves, fry for a minute or two. Lower the flame.
3. Add the mashed potatoes, salt, finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Remove from flame.
4. In a bowl mix besan, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, a pinch of asfoetida with sufficient water to make a thick paste.
5. Heat oil for frying in a kadai (wok).
6. Take a ball of potato mixture, dip it in the besan paste so that there is a thick layer of besan paste on potato ball , then deep fry the spiced mashed potato balls in the oil. 
7. Fry till it gets a slight brown color.
Serve hot with garlic chutney (coming up next on my blog) /tomato ketchup.