Saturday, August 29, 2009

Easy Tamil Vatrals ( Sun dried veggies)

This cookbook lists 10 simple vatrals ( sun dried vegetables). The logic is simple :

Vatrals : Sun dried goodies:  Sun dry raw / marinated/ blanched vegetables, deep fry and use.

Sundrying is one of the oldest ways to preserve foodstuff.  Enzymes/ other natural chemicals within food / Microorganisms from outside are the main causes of food spoilage. Sun dries out water (and enzymes). This absence of water prevents the growth of microorganisms. So food is prevented from both internal and external spoilage.  Sun drying works only when the weather is really hot. Almost any fruit / vegetable without too much water content can be sun dried.  Large pieces do not sun dry well as the water deep inside does not evaporate fast. In coastal areas, a large variety of fish/ prawns is sun dried into karuvadu . It is interesting to note that only vegetables indigenous to India are sun dried into vatrals. Introduced vegetables like beans, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms etc are not made into vatrals. The following vatrals are listed in this cookbook :

1.       Avarakkai Vatral

2.       Kothavarangai Vatral

3.       Vepampoo vatral

4.       Kathirikai Vatral

5.       Chenai vatral

6.       Sundakkai Vatral

7.       Kovakkai Vatral

8.       Manathakkali Vatral

9.       Vendakkai Vatral

10.   Thamarai thandu vatral

11.   Pavakkai vatral


Using Vatrals :

1. Vatrals can act as vegetable substitutes in kulambu  & sambar. Just add them straight to the gravy and let simmer till cooked.

2. Brush vatral with oil and microwave on high for 30 seconds to a minute or deep fry them in hot oil. Use to accompany curry and rice.

3.Deep fried / microwaved vatrals can be  crumbled into a coarse powder and eaten mixed in with hot rice and ghee.  

Tips :

1.  Hot, dry, breezy days are best for vatrals.  A temperature of 85ºF or above, with humidity below 60 % is ideal for vatral making..

2. Keep vartals on a raised, perforated surface so that air can circulate all around them. Keep them covered with a cheese cloth to deter pests.
3.  An oven or a dehydrator can be used instead of sun drying.
4. After sun drying, keep vatrals for 4-5 days in the freezer to make them last longer (Freezing kills off most insects / insect eggs).
5. Though not commonly practiced in south India, tomatoes can be cut into quarters, sun dried and used in gravies / as pizza topping.
6. Sun dried vatrals still have around 5-10% moisture left. So they do deteriorate eventually. Use them within a year.
7. While sun drying, keep vatrals indoors at night or they might soak up moisture from the cool night air.

1 comment:

Vishku said...

Hi Ramki
Thank you very much though I found this bit late with rainy season already set... Shall try next summer

Food Consultancy / Licensing / Crash Courses

Contact for complete Food consultancy from concept to completion.

Customised one page cookbooks now available for pressure cooker / microwave / mixie / masala & other cooking product manufacturers. Replace bulky recipe books with easy to refer One page cookbooks and watch your sales soar !


Blog Archive

Cooking is fun - Duplication is a pain !

"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

"What's angering about instructions in many cookbooks is that they imply there's only one way to cook a dish - their way. And that presumption wipes out all the creativity." Cook dishes your way - Download  1001 South Indian curries now and learn to cook, not to duplicate ! ( Thanks Robert Pirsig !)

"Recipe purity is no different from racial purity or linguistic purity. It just does not exist. Cuisines are alive and change all the time. What is traditional today was esoteric just a few decades back. So being a 'foodist' is as bad as being a racist !

About Me

My photo
Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

Looking for Treatment?