Monday, February 15, 2010
Sevai/ idiappam - a traditional tamil recipe
Starting my series on traditional recipes. The first one in this series is the rice sevai (stringhoppers). It is also popularly known as rice noodles. This is basically a breakfast dish but with one’s creativity and with the variety of flavors you add , it can also extend on your dinner table as a total meal. The instant rice noodles packet is readily available in supermarkets, but the real taste lies when it is freshly extruded at home. This requires a special equipment called sevai nazhi ( sevai extruder) which is available in all steel stores in Tamilnadu. My Mil made it two days before since shreya wanted to have them for dinner. Now for the recipe for sevai.
(my son helping his grandmother)
Ingredients: ( to serve 4)
2 cups Parboiled rice
2 tsps of gingelly oil
Soak parboiled rice and grind it into a paste in a grinder with out adding much water. Let it be slightly looser than the chappati dough. Now in a thick bottomed dish, thicken the dough by adding gingelly oil till the raw smell of the rice disappears. Switch off the stove and close the lid on the dish so that it has some standing time to steam.
Now pinch a handful of dough with wet hands and shape them into small dumplings.
Steam the dumplings in a idli cooker/steamer.
After steaming, take the dumplings and place in the hollow of the sevai extruder. Screw the lid over the hollow till the extrusions fall on the plate below.
Now you have the freshly made sevai.
(Instead of parboiled rice, you can also use the rice powder available in the shop. In this case you have to boil the water (for 2cups of flour take same measure of water) and add 2 spoons of oil and salt and then add the required amount of rice flour and thicken the dough and rest of the process follows same as above)
Dressing these sevai now depends on your favorite taste and spice/sweeten them accordingly.
The basic seasoning for all spicy sevai is as below( extruded from 2 cups of rice)
1tsp urad dal
Sprig of curry leaf
Green chilli/red chilli according to your taste
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt according to your taste
Take a Deep thick bottomed pan. Pour two table spoons of gingelly oil. When it reaches smoking point, add mustard seeds when it stops crackling add urad dal(lentil) – when it slightly changes light brown in color, add green chilli and salt.
Now customize the seasoning:
For lemon sevai. To the basic seasoning(BS) add the juice of a lemon and little turmeric powder and then add the extruded sevai and mix. When you mix it roughly there is a possibility for it to stick together. So the back part of a ladle or fork to mix the spices properly. Now you are lemon sevai is ready. You can eat it without any accompaniment since all the flavors are available in the mix. If you still prefer to have a side dish it goes well with coconut chutney.
Coconut sevai : To the BS, fry coconut gratings of one full coconut and then mix in the sevai. You can garnish this sevai with groundnuts if you please.
Tamarind sevai: To the BS, add 2-3 spoons of Thick tamarind paste and boil them by adding little water till it loses the raw smell.Then add the sevai to make it into tamarind sevai and garnish it with groundnuts.
Sweet sevai : For this take the freshly extruded sevai and add powdered sugar/ jaggery, powdered cardamom, pinch of edible camphor and gratings of coconut. Mix them well and your sweet sevai is ready.( don’t add salt). You can further richen it by adding your favorite nuts.
One can also make milagu sevai ( by adding pepper, cumin powder), ulattham sevai ( using the filling of kara kozhakkatai)
(pic of vegetable sevai)
To make your children eat this traditional dish market it as Indian noodles and it will all be gone in a trice. It works with my daughter , I have to hardsell this to my son. I also resort to some emotional atyachaar like ‘ people these days prefer Western and oriental food , but when it comes to Indian food unless it makes to the western market , children of these days don’t eat ….. etc etc’. My daughter’s choice of sevai is plain sevai with sambar.