மிளகு வடை( Pepper Vada)

மிளகு வடை(Pepper Vada) is a very famous offering for Lord Anchaneya(Hanuman). This is one of my favorites and I wanted to try this recipe for a very long time. Today being Hanuman Jayanthi (in Andhra), and fortunately I had a day off from work, decided to prepare this vada and small pooja at home in the evening. Thanks to my mom(in-law) for this wonderful recipe. The vada came out so well and it was a surprise snack for my husband today :)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Urad dhal - 100 gms
2. Rice - 2 tablespoon
3. Pepper - 10-12 (for medium spice)
4. Cumin Seeds - 1 tablespoon
5. Salt - to taste
6. Oil - for frying


Preparation:
1. Soak dhal and rice for not more than 10 minutes and then drain the water completely and set it aside for atleast 30 minutes to 1 hour until it becomes dry.
2. Grind dhal and rice along with Pepper, cumin and salt into a coarse thick mixture. Do Not add water.
3. Heat oil in a deep pan.Keep a wet cloth or thick plastic sheet( like ziploc cover) ready to make the vada.
4. Take a portion of the mixture (size of a medium goosberry) and spread it on the cloth/plastic sheeet and make it an even thin round and make a small hole in the center.
5. Drop it in the oil and cook in medium flame. Turn sides as it cooks and take it out when it becomes golden brown on both sides.

Crispy pepper vada is ready. This will stay nice for a longer time, so you can store it in an air tight container and consume for a week.

Makkan Peda (with Gulab Jamun Mix)

"Makkan Peda" also known as "Arcot Makkan Peda" is a very famous sweet in Arcot(my neighbour town in my homeplace) in Vellore district.  I still remember my childhood days where this sweet was very popular in one special shop named " Chairman Sweet Stall" in Arcot. Though now we started getting this sweet in many places in and around. Any guest to our house will definitely not miss this sweet as part of their lunch or dinner treat. At first look it would seem like 'Gulab Jamun' for most until they take a bite with those crunchy nuts. 

This sweet is generally made of sweetless kova (a milk product). I couldn't find kova anywhere here at my place and decided to give a try with the instant Gulab Jamun mix and it really came out yummy!!! 

Ingredients: (for 5 pieces)
1. MTR instant Gulab Jamun mix - Half packet
2. Cooking soda - a pinch
3. Milk - less than 1/4th of gulab jamum mix
4. Sugar - 3 cups
5. Dried nuts mixture - one cup. I used cashews, Almonds, Pistachio, dates, dry grapes. Do not miss to use pumpkin seeds if you can acquire some. It adds richness to the taste.
6. Oil - to fry




Preparation:


1. Mix the gulab jamun powder with cooking soda and milk and knead gently and make a soft dough without sticking and rest it for 5 - 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the dry nuts mixture by cutting the nuts into smaller pieces.
3. Now make soft round balls with the dough in hand and make a small hole and fill it with the nuts mixture, close the hole and roll it again and flatten it a bit
4. Now heat oil in a pan and fry the balls 1 or 2 at a time.
5. Most importantly, do not over heat oil. Keep it in a very low flame otherwise it will turn brown quickly but the inner part might not cook.
6. Cooking time for each piece should be 7 to 8 minutes and turn sides slowly for even cooking.
7. In another pan add sugar and equal amount of water and bring it to boil to make the sugar syrup.
8. Once the syrup thickens after boiling for 5 to 7 minutes, switch off.
9. When the peda pieces are cooked, drain the oil and drop into the sugar syrup. Sugar syrup should be hot.
10. Set it aside for 15 -20 minutes to soak it completely and dress it with dried nuts on top.
Delicious, mouth watering Makkan peda is ready to eat.


Tips:
1. When the peda soaks in syrup it will expand in size, so prepare enough syrup to serve.
2. To get the rich taste, use Kova instead of the gulab jamun mix