Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rava Vada(Sajjige Vade)

I don't exactly remember when I tasted it first, but I am sure, not many Mangalorean restaurants serve this crispy fried snack, which is crunchy outside and soft inside. I think Udupi Krishna Bhavan and Mohini Vilas on GHS Road Mangalore must have had this on their menu in the Sixties and the Seventies. Some other brahmin hotels like Indra Bhavan and Vishwa Bhavan also might have made this those days. They call this Sajjige Vade in Mangalore.

However if my memory serves me right, when I reminisce over the days in 1974 October, when I first travelled by the Jayanti Janata Express to Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh with my mother, at around 7:30 AM somewhere between Manjeshwar and Kasargod, a vendor from the dining car came to our compartment, announcing "Rava vada Upma" and "Bread Butter Omelette" for breakfast. I opted for Bread Butter Omelette while my mother took Rava Vada Upma. Like any kind hearted mother, she saw me gobble up my omelette and bread butter within minutes and stare at her food packet, and offered me one rava vada from her packet. It was delicious and I decided to skip omelette on the next morning and ask for rava vada upma instead! To my bad luck, next morning they had Idli Medhu Vada and Medhu Vada Upma package!

Then I settled down in Mysore in 1979 after getting a bank job at Chamarajanagar and those days I relished the rava vada at many restaurants in and around Mysore. However, the best rava vada I tasted was in Bangalore in 1980, at Vidyarthi Bhavan, Gandhi Bazar. They make it perfectly crisp outside and soft inside, with right amount of chillies, onion, ginger, salt and sweetness.

Now Rava Vada is nothing but a close cousin of the world famous crispy Maddur Vada. I guess this vada had its roots in Mysore, for I found it almost everywhere in Mysore in the Seventies and the Eighties. This vada has a crusty outer and soft inner structure with bits and pieces of fried onion, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves occasionally dancing in your mouth as you bite into one! Yet, it does not taste too spicy. It has all the tastes well fused into it, fit for rainy days or winter, preferably as a tea time snack. You can also serve this with drinks as a starter. One is just not enough to make your day. Go for it, make them in dozens following my exclusive recipe, that I developed, thinking about the ingredients that the original rava vada may contain. I added chopped coriander leaves just for added taste and flavour.
You may check out our Baked Maddur Vada recipe and follow the steps to make this snack.
Ingredients:
Bombay rava - 1 Cup
Refined Flour(Maida) - 1/2 Cup
Baking Soda-  1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Plain Yogurt - 1 Tbsp
Rock Salt - 3/4 Tsp(or table salt - 1/3 Tsp)
Sugar - 1 Tsp
Finely Chopped Onions - 1/2 cup
Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 2 tsp
Finely Chopped Ginger - 2 Tsp
Finely Chopped Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves - 1 Tbsp
Refined Oil - For deep frying
Method:
Pound chopped green chillies, ginger, onions, salt and sugar in a mortar until salt and sugar get melted and onions perspire.
Mix rava, refined flour and baking soda.
Add butter and rub/shorten with fingers to form crumbs.
Add the pounded onion chilli ginger mixture and knead well.
Now add yogurt, chopped greens and mix.
The dough should be soft, firm and pliable, not watery or too stiff.
Check for salt, add a pinch of table salt if you want.
Keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
Heat oil in a thick kadai and allow it to start fuming.
Reduce the heat to low.
Make small lemon size balls with the dough, flatten each one of them into 4 mm thick 2-3 inch wide rounds on a oiled flat surface with your palm.
Drop 2-3 discs at a time into hot oil and fry on low heat for 2-3 minutes, changing sides, until crisp and golden.
Drain and serve hot with coconut chutney or as it is.


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