You have a memory associated to a particular dish that endears the dish to you. Well, this is one such that I had at my friend's place about 6 years ago. All of our friends in Malaysia knew how my husband picks on vegetables. They try and not make such vegetables if they invite him for lunch or dinner. On the contrary they know that both Niki and I love to have more vegetables, and they try to accomodate that whim also.
The days after the packers moved our stuff to be shipped to Egypt, we were having, breakfast, lunch and dinner at one friend or the others' house. It was easy that we lived in the same condominium complex.
One particular dinner was, upon request a simple menu with chappatis and rice with vegetables. That night my friend had made this 'bajji' (what thayir pachchidi to Tamilians is something similar, though it bears the name of a very different deep fried dish). She cooked this just an extra vegetable serving. Served it to my husband and all of us were watching his reaction. Lo! he simply enjoyed it and wiped the plate clean before asking what the dish was. We were all amused and she let the secret out, suggesting he may have extra servings if he liked it.
I had been wanting to make this for very long. Last year when I mailed her for her version of tomato rice recipe and this one, she promptly mailed me back. I simply marked a star, made her version of tomato rice and left it at that. Suddenly I was craving for the bajji. I pulled out her mail and today cooked the same. I had to make some alterations to the original version to reduce the quantity of coconut. Otherwise, I have followed her recipe mostly.
I planned the lunch accordingly. It was this bajji, potato dry curry for dear husband, a simple radish -tomato salad and porichcha rasam. Today's Ramayana reading enlisted "paruppunchaadham" as neivedhyam. So the menu had been balanced, in the sense that I cooked dishes that both of us would relish...not the food pyramid stuff :)
Now, I move on to the recipe.
The original recipe has more coconut and no dhal is added to the grinding. I reduced the coconut and added some urad dhal and horse gram with just a few grains of rice.
What you may require:
2 medium, tender and fresh ridge gourds
2 green chillis
1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut ( The recipe uses 3 tablespoons/ more)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon urad dhal
1 teaspoon horse gram (optional)
1/4 teaspoon raw rice
1 cup thick yoghurt
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil/ ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dry red chillis
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Few fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon urad dhal
How to proceed:
Wash and remove spines from the ridge gourd. Cut in medium sized pieces.
Boil the ridgegourd, cumin seeds and slit green chillis until the vegetable is soft. Add the salt and allow to cool.
Dry roast the raw rice, urad dhal and horse gram until golden brown.
Grind along with coconut adding little water. When the coconut is nearly smooth, add the cooled ridge gourd mix and pulse the mixer for a few seconds. The pieces should neither be left in chunks nor should it pulp. The texture should be coarse.
Add this to the yoghurt and blend with a spoon.
Heat oil in a pan and temper the listed ingredients.
Serve as side dish for rice mixed with thogaiyals, porichcha rasam, vatthal kuzhambu etc.