Saggubiyam Vadiyalu

2 cups Rice flour
1 cup Sabudana - Saggubiyam
3 tsp Chili-ginger-coriander paste
1 tsp Jeera
1/4 tsp Food colouring - Optional
1 Lemon

Cook saggubiyam with 1:2 ratio water in pressure cooker. It is easier and we want it completely cooked. Remove, keep aside.

In a large vessel take 1:7 ration water to each cup of rice flour and bring to boil. Then add jeera, salt and Chili-ginger-coriander paste and mix well. Take a taste and add accordingly. Food colouring can be added at this time.

Take rice flour in a vessel and add enough water about (1:2)and mix well. We have to add rice flour to the boiling water and if it is not done well, lumps to rice flour are formed and it will not cook evenly. By mixing in water and stirring into the hot water slowly, it makes the job much easier.

Cook on medium heat till bubbles pop up and then add the cooked saggubiyam and mix well. Keep stirring from the bottom of the vessel so that the bottom does not burn. Remove from the flame once bubbles pop up.

Let cool for half hr and then add lemon juice and mix well. Do not close the lid when hot, vapour will settle down. Cover with a paper napkin for a while and then put the lid on.

Prepare this during the day and let it sit over night. It will settle down and thicken.

Lay out a polythene cover where there is plenty of sunshine. Take hand fulls of the dough in your hands and drop them in small "drops". Use a spoon if you are not comfortable to use your hand. Once they dry they become very light and when fried they puff up and become bigger.

2 to 3 days of good sunshine is enough for drying them. Once they are dry, they come off from the cover by them selves.

Store in an air tight container, no expiration date, can be used all thought the year.

Enjoy as side dish with rice or a spicy snack with tea/coffee.

Vinakaya Chavithi Prasadam

A Very Happy Vinayaka Chavithi to all my readers. Here I am giving an easy method where both undrallu and kudumullu can be prepared parallely. Broken rice flour can be made the previous night to speed things up on the day of puja.

5 cups Raw Rice
1 cup Chenna dal
Grated Coconut
½ tsp Elachi powder
1 cup Jaggery

Dry grind rice in a mixer till the consistency of sooji(rava) is reached. Sieve the flour so that the very fine rice flour is separated. Measure the amount of broken rice flour and keep aside. This rice flour can be saved and used in cooking.

Soak chenna dal in hot water for 30 - 45mins. Cook on stove top or in a microven with salt and water. Drain and keep aside.

In a non stick skillet, dry fry grated coconut till it changes to golden yellow. Then add finely cut jaggery and elachi powder and mix till it comes together for 5 – 6 minutes on high flame. Remove from flame and when you can handle the heat, wet your palms and make small balls. These can be eaten as it, are called kobbari undallu. Keep aside.

In a non stick vessel bring 1 : 2.5 ratio water to the broken rice flour to boil. Turn the flame to low, add salt and 1 tsp jeera and slowing add the broken rice flour stirring in thoroughly. Let cook in medium flame stirring occasionally till bubbles appear on the top. Remove and let it settle down. Do not cool it too much.

Divide into 2 parts. Remove one part in a bowl and add the cooked chenna dal and mix well. Wet your palms and make round balls. Make the balls ready before steaming them.

Place them in the idle trays, about 2 or so in each hole, load the idle stand and steam cook on high flame for 15 minutes and on medium flame for 5 – 7 minutes. Let cool and remove gently. These are called undrallu.

With the other half of the cooked rice flour make small balls, flatten on the palm and place a coconut ball in the middle, using both hands and water as required press the dough and tighten it.

Repeat the steaming process with the idle stand for the kudumullu also.

Spicy magai pachadi or any pachadi of choice will be a good side dish with undrallu.

That is my father in the picture ready to start the puja, admiring the mandap set up. Photo courtesy my brother again.

Vinayaka Chaviti Puja

23rd August, Sunday is Vinayaka Chavithi.
Ganesha, the elephant headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is worshipped as the Supreme God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

Vinayaka chavithi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the lunar calendar on bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi.

Ganapathi is the adhipathi(master) of all ganas - a class of divine. Ganapathi is also known as Vinayaka, meaning one without a nayaka(master). He is the master of Buddhi(intellect) and Siddhi(wisdom or self- realization). Buddhi and Siddhi are referred to as the consorts of Vinayka. He is also called Vighneswara – one who removes vighnalu or obstacles from troubles and difficulties. He deserves and enjoys the pradhama(first) puja during any festival or puja/vratam.

Ganapati has Mooshika(mouse) as his Vahana(vehicle). It symbolizes the darkness of ignorance because it is in darkness that the mouse moves about.

On this day we prepare delicacies which are steam cooked with no oil content and offer them to Vinayaka.

The main dishes during this festival are Undrallu and Kudumulu/Jilledukayellu. An undram is a round dumpling made with cooked broken rice flour and soaked chenna dal. A sweet dish with the same base and stuffed with kobbari undallu (made with fresh grated coconut and jaggery) are called kudumulu, which are oval in shape.

Bellam(raw jaggery/gudopacharam) is a favorite naivedyam to Vinayaka.

For Vinayaka chavathi puja, a clay idol of the murthi is used, usually bought on the morning of the puja. You can get creative and make an idol with clay or plaster of paris. This idol is normally immersed in a water body (Nimarjanam) after 9 days of puja. Eventually everything will and should be a part of the Earth! A peeta or a wooden plank is used to as a step to place a silver plate on which the idol is placed.

Paalavelli, a squared checkered roof made with wood is used as a shelter for the Idol. Various fruit, wood apple(velakaye), corn, coconut flower, lotus buds and sugarcane are tied with a string hanging down nicely. The top of which is covered with mango leaves and patri(various leaves). Sometimes a colorful umbrella is also used as a covering. For Ganapathi puja, we not only use various flowers we use leaves, grass(gariki) and Tulasi also.

My heart takes me back to those days when we would get up early to go the market to get an Idol and wander in the neighborhood to pluck leaves, help set up the palavalli and God while my mother made prasadam. My dad insisted we keep books near the God that day so that we would do well in studies, so I would keep my toughest subject, take it after puja and sit with it a few minutes.

Also, cannot forget how we were all very attentive while listening to the story of Satrajittu and Samatha ka mani and how “Moon” laughed and was punished for his act. I was really scared to look at the sky on chavathi, least I would see the moon and have to face the false allegations “apanindallu”. So, by evening I had put some more of the kadha akshitallu “yellow rice” so, they would shield me from any bad things.
I have to mention here that on one such fateful evening, I met my husband.

Pooja vidhanam and kadha by BrahmaSri Sankaramanchi Rama Krishna Sastrigaru:

Pooja and Kadha - Telugu script

Mama upaatha durithakshaya dwara sri parameswara preethyartham aadya Brahmanaha dwithiyaparardhe swethavaraha kalpe vyvaswitha manvantharae kaliyuge prathama paadey Krouncha dveepe Ramanaka varshe Aindra khande, Prasaantha Saagare, Pushkara Kshetra, Meroh Uttare Paarswa digbhage, Thurpu Amerikaayaam asmin varthamana vyvaharika chandramaanena, *** naama samvatsarae Dakshinayane Varsha rhuthau bhadrapada maasey, Shukla Pakshey, chaviti thithau *** vaasarey subha nakshatrae subha yogae subha karana yevam guna visheshana visishtaayaam subha thithau*** sri matyaha (***name) ***Gotravathyaha sabhatrukayah asmaakam saha kutumbaanaam kshema, sthairya vijaya ayurarogya aishwaryabhi vrudhyardham dharmartha kaama moksha chaturvidha phala purushartha sidhyartham satsanthaana sowbhaghya phala vyapthardhyam srivinayaka devatha muddhisyae sri vinayaka devatha preetyardham karpoktha vidhanena yavathshakti dhyanaavahanaadhi shodashopachaara poojaam karishye thadanga sri mahaaganapati poojam karishye thadanga kalasa poojaam karishye.

For the year 2009 it is:
Sri Virodhi nama samvatsaram
Chavithi thidi

File pictures. Courtesy my brother and sister-in-law. This is how we used to do at my parents place. Turn a flat table and place the paalavelli with the support of the legs to be stable and to avoid hanging the paalavelli from the ceiling using a string.

Vangibath - Brinjal Rice

4 cups Basmati rice
12 - 15 medium sized purple Brinjals
3 - 4 Green Chilies
Few Curry Leaves
2 tsp Groundnuts/ Cashew nuts
4 tsp Vangibath Masala (Homemade or Store bought)
Lemon juice

Vangibath masala:
1 tsp Urad dal
1 tsp Channa dal
2 tsp Dhania – Coriander seeds
1 tsp Sesame seeds
½ tsp Jeera
4 Red Chilies
½ tsp Gasa-gaga
1” Cinnamon stick (dalchinichakka)
2- 3 Cloves
1” Ginger
Few Curry leaves
2 tsp grated Coconut

Take 2 tsp of oil in a skillet. Add urad dal and channa dal and fry till the dals turn to golden yellow. Add red chilies, hing, ginger, coriander seeds, gasa-gasa, cinnamon stick, cloves and a few curry leaves. Then add sesame seeds, and grated coconut. Fry all the above till nice aroma fills the room. Let cool and dry grind all the items to a smooth powder.

This masala has good shelf life, save in an air tight container or Ziploc bag to retain its freshness.

For the Rice:
Cook rice in a rice cooker with 1:2 ratio of water. Add 1” butter stick or 2 tsp oil to the rice to be fluffy and not sticky.

Cut brinjals length wise. Place them in cold water to retain the color.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they splutter add ground nuts or cashew nuts (according to taste) and fry for a few minutes, till the nuts change their color.

Now add cut brinjal to the skillet and fry them till they are nicely roasted. Oil can be added as required. Salt, turmeric can be added now. Once the brinjals are nicely cooked, add 4 tsp of the vangibath masala powder and then add the previously cooked rice, salt and gently mix without messing up the shape of the brinjals. Check for seasoning and salt and add accordingly. Remove from flame and add lemon juice and garnish with coriander.

Papad or vadiyams are a good side dish with Vangibath.