Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tamil Koozhu Vadam ( Porridge based crispies)

This cookbook lists 1000 variations of porridge based vadams from 000 to 999. As with all One page cookbooks, 000 is the easiest recipe and 999 the hardest. Variations of  the following vadams are listed in this cookbook

Pacha arisi vadam
Godi vadam
Pulicha arisi vadam
Ravai vadam
Arisi vadam with javvarisi
Godi pal vadam
Ragi pal vadam

Koozhu Vadam Logic: Cook a cereal into a porridge, sun dry into various shapes. Deep fry.

Tamil cuisine discovered that a batter made from raw / fermented cereals / grain milk can be boiled into a thick porridge ( Koozhu), mixed in with flavouring, additives and sun dried into various shapes. These taste delicious when deep fried ( or microwaved). They usually accompany variety rice or  rice & curry.

Shaping Vadams: Depending on the thickness of the batter, you can shape vadams in various ways. If the batter is very thick, you can pinch off small pieces ( killu vadam). You can also extrude it into different shapes using a muruku press or cookie press. If the batter has the consistency of thick soup, you can pour a spoonful of it on a plastic sheet and spread into small rounds. For most vadams , The koozh ( porridge) should have the consistency of dosa batter. If it is too thick, mix in hot water. If it is too thin, mix in rice flour dissolved in water and cook to get the right consistency.
Thalir Vadams / Ilai Vadams : These are special kind of koozhu vadams where the batter is not boiled, but steamed and sundried. The batter needs to have a thin, spread able consistency like a thick soup.. It is spread it onto palm sized rounds on flat plates/ banana leaf ( hence the name ilai vadam or leaf vadam).  The batter is steamed in an idli cooker / steamer  for five minutes. It is then peeled  and sun dried. Special Ilai vadam moulds designed to be used in a idli cooker are available. These taste extra delicious when the batter is left to ferment for 3-4 days. They can also be cooked from batter which has been partially boiled. Depending on whether the batter is fermented/ unfermented, boiled / raw, thick/ thin, short fermented ( overnight) / long fermented (4 days) – you get different tasting thali vadams.
The base
Though raw rice followed by sago is the most common base for vadams, a variety of cereals / cereal milk / starchy tubers can be cooked into Koozhu vadam. Experiment by turning your favourite cereals / tubers  into vadams.
Almost anything can be used to flavour a vadam. The traditional flavourings are listed in column 2.
Traditional additives are listed in column 3. Lemon / Yogurt are usually used to lend a sour taste when the batter is not fermented. These are not cooked, but mixed in just before the batter is removed from fire. A variety of food colours are now used to make colourful vadams. Even jaggery / sugar is mixed in to make sweet vadams. Sesame lends a nice flavour, but is prone to spoilage on long storage. Feel free to experiment with your favourite additives.
Though vadams last long, they do deteriorate over time. It is advisable to use them within an year or refrigerate them for longer storage. Freezing vadams for a week after sun drying them would help improve their shelf life (as freezing kills off any insect larvae / eggs)
 Key skills :
1. Learn to make a porridge. Almost any porridge can be turned into a vadam.
2. Learn to make
grain milk. Almost any grain milk can be cooked into a vadam. Experiment with rice milk, wheat milk, oat milk etc.,
Once you master these basic techniques, you can mix and match stuff to your hearts content and cook up never before cooked vadams !

1 comment:

Priti said...

Interesting read..

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