Sunday, December 21, 2014

Baked Maddur Vada

Maddur is a small agricultural town in Mandya district of Karnataka state. It is identified by the lush green fields full of paddy and sugarcane, almost half way between Mysooru and Bengaluru. It rose to fame when Karnataka Scooters Ltd set up a scooter factory nearby in Somanahalli, to produce Falcon Scooters and Tyres way back in the late Seventies. This town is also world famous for the fried hot thin crispy vadas full of chopped onions and sesame seeds which are called 'Maddur Vadas'. As Bengaluru bound trains halt at Maddur, one can hear the vendors shouting Maddur Vada...bisi bisi gari gari Maddur vada..." which means hot n crispy Maddur Vada in Kannada. Couple of these lovely crispies with strong hot coffee make your journey all the more pleasant!
Reminiscing over the late Seventies when I just got my Bank job in Mysooru district, I used to travel often to Bengaluru by train. Then I used to peek to look out for those Maddur Vada vendors. Any fast trains with vestibule had many of those vendors running to and fro, doing brisk business. I used to whack two at a time and ask them to pack two more for rest of the journey!

Later, my cousin RD Pai took charge as branch manager of Syndicate Bank Somanahalli branch. I used to visit him on holidays or weekends and he took me to the Maddur Railway Station to the canteen, where they fried those vadas and served them fresh and hot, straight from the frying pan. They were the best Maddur vadas, and authentic ones. RD Pai used to emphasise that there were many people who made and sold
them on trains, but the ones made by the station canteen were original. I am sure, this fantastic snack was definitely formulated by expert cooks from Udupi side, as they only can make them perfect vadas and teach rest of the world how to make them!

Since then, I was trying to find them in many other places in Bengaluru. I did find some good ones made by a few restaurants such as CTR Shri Sagar in Malleshwaram but they tasted different than the original ones. The ever  popular Rava vada at Vidyarthi Bhavan Bengaloru is slightly different than Maddur Vada. Last year, Maiya's introduced many ready to eat packed traditional snacks among which, I found Baked Maddur Vadas and their cousin Baked Nippat. They were both perfectly made like almost all other snacks from Maiya's.

I was on the hunt for the authentic recipe to make them. After marrying and settling down in the late Eighties, Meena one day told me that a Shivalli Brahmin cook from a local restaurant in Mangaluru gave her some useful tips on making some snacks. He told her that to make Maddur Vadas we need Chiroti Rava, the finest variety of Bombay rava. I also remember her quoting that we need to apply salt, crush and squeeze the chopped onions along with chiroti rava so as to release the natural juices within the onion that is just sufficient to make a stiff dough adding hot oil and other ingredients. I am sure, she even had the recipe written down on a piece of paper and forgot to save it. We never made it till the other day when I decided to work on my own formula to make 'Baked Maddur Vadas', a healthy alternative for the demanding foodies who are health conscious.

Continuing the trend in making baked versions of traditional items, I searched the net for authentic recipe for Maddur Vadas but missed something or the other in each one of them. besides, baking them needs almost similar methods and ingredients as we follow for making cookies like Masala Biscuit. Adding milk products is essential, as we can't add eggs to them. So, my mind worked quick and I went back in time, recalling the flavour of original Maddur vadas tasted at the Maddur Railway Station.

Here's what I formulated and I am sure, all will try this and like it. Make them on cold winter days and serve them with some hot strong coffee, tea or hot chocolate. You can also serve these as cocktail starter snacks. They taste too good, very crisp and crunchy and they release an array of flavours as you relish them. Your family and guests will get amazed at your baking skills!

Refined Flour(Maida) - 1 Cup
Rice Flour - 2/3 Cup
Chiroti Rava(Superfine Semolina) - 1/2 Cup
Baking Powder - 1 Tsp
Plain Butter - 60 Gm + 1 Tsp for greasing the baking tray
Salt - 1 Tsp(Approx)
Sugar(Optional) - 1 Tsp
Plain thick Yoghurt(Curd) - 1 Tbsp
Asafotoeda - A pinch(1 Gm)
Onions - 2 Medium finely chopped
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs finely chopped
Coriander Leaves - A handful finely chopped
Green Chillies - 4-5 finely chopped
Ginger - 1" piece finely chopped
Tiny Cashew Bits - 1 Tbsp
White Sesame Seeds - 1 Tbsp

Sift the flour with baking powder.
Mix in chiroti rava and rice flour.
Smoothen butter with a spoon, add to the flour mixture and rub with your fingers so that the mixture forms crumbs.
Dissolve asafotoeda and sugar in yoghurt.
Apply salt to chopped onions and keep aside.
Lightly pound the chopped ginger, green chillies and onions in a mortar, preferably traditional wooden one that we call 'Kolambi'.
Add pounded chopped onions, green chillies and ginger, chopped coriander leaves, curry leaves, cashew bits and sesame seeds to the buttered flour, pour the yoghurt mixture and knead lightly using your knuckles till the dough gets as soft as chapathi dough.
Make a single big ball of dough, cover and keep aside for 10-15 mins.
Keep the oven on at 180° C and preheat a lined baking tray or two for 10 Mins.
Grease a plantain leaf or a plastic sheet, aluminum foil or similar smooth and shiny surface to make vada pats.
Make 18-20 lemon sized balls from the dough, flatten them on the greased surface with your fingers into 4mm thick pats(discs).
You need not bother about whether or not you achieve perfect round shape.
Just make them evenly thick and prick them with a fork all over.
Grease the baking tray with butter, place the pats on the baking tray, set the oven at 180° C for 30 mins and start baking.
After 15 mins, flip the pats and bake on the other side.
In about 18-200 mins, both the sides must get evenly baked and the vadas must turn completely dry and golden in colour.
If still not crisp and dry, continue to bake at 100° C for further 10-15 mins.
Take out the baking tray and allow the vadas to cool down to room temperature on a wooden board on the wire rack.
Serve with choice of beverages but I always like a cup of hot strong coffee with them.
Remaining vadas can be stored in an air tight container and consumed over the next 2 weeks. 


Rama Ananth said...

Will try it definitely as it is such a healthier version. I was wondering what we could add instead of butter and yoghurt, so that it can be vegan.

Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi said...

Rama Ananth, why not try margarine or Neutralite Butter? They are made from vegetable oils. Instead of cow or buffalo milk yoghurt, you can add yoghurt made with soya milk.

Ruchir Agarwal said...

problem is to have a good owen.we bought one from the net .its not v good.what kinda owen u have ?

Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi said...

Ruchir Agarwal, we have a Bajaj Majesty 28 Liter OTG.


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