Thursday, May 08, 2008

Recipe: Ambode

Immediately after the obattu post, I was ready with this post for Ambode, another Ugadi speciality. What with the burning hot summer and a tooth problem that required a root canal treatment, I just got too busy. The truth is I try to keep myself busy to the brim always. Be it summer, winter or rains. It’s good, say my friends. It’s bad, feel I. Anyway, the fact is I am busy.
How does one keep oneself busy during summer? I for one, start making all sorts of sun-dried wafers (vadams, karuvadams and vattals) to keep for the whole year. And then comes pickling. Summer is the season we get plenty of mangoes and is the right season for mango pickles. This year I made “Aavakkai” after a long interval. The aavakkai that I made this year is so special because, I made them with Andhra mangoes and under the guidance of a true Andhra friend and it turned out just yummy and truly fiery. More about vadams and aavakkai later (immediately, I promise), we will go on with Ambode.
Ambode (Kannada) or Aamavadai (Tamil)or Parippuvada (Malayalam) are all very close siblings, with as much difference as one can notice among siblings. Ambode takes the prize, I should say. I have learnt the secret of crispy, mouth watering ambode from Mrs.Shakunthala, whose ambodes are a treat any day. She is the official ambode maker, whenever our “Soundrya Lahiri” teacher arranges a Pooja and each time the ambodes turn out just as yummy. Let us get on with the recipe, without much ado.

Chana dal: 2cups.
Green chillies: 3or 4 according to taste
Dry red chillies: 1 or 2
Pepper corns: 1 tsp.
Jeera: 1tsp
Hing: 2 tsp or size of a pea
Curry leaves: few
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp.
Grated fresh coconut: 2 tbsp.
Cinnamon: 1/2 “ piece
Cloves: 4 nos.
Ginger: 2” piece
Salt to taste
Ghee: 1 tbsp.
Raw rice flour: 1 tbsp.

Oil for frying

Finely cut onions: 2 tbsp
Crushed garlic: 1 tsp
(When making ambode for offering as Neyvedyam, I usually do not add onions and garlic, however they definitely add to the taste, no doubt)


Wash and soak the chanadal with hing, peppercorns, jeera, green chilies and red chilies for 1 hr. Crush the cinnamon and cloves separately (this will not get crushed with the other ingredients, if ground together in the mixer). Drain the soaked chanadal with other ingredients to remove all water and grind coarsely with curry leaves ,giner,crushed cinnamon and cloves and salt. Transfer to a bowl and mix the grated coconut, rice flour, finely cut coriander leaves and ghee. If using onion and garlic, add the finely cut onions and crushed garlic also. Mix well.
Make small balls of the ground mixture. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat, but retain the temperature of the oil. Take the prepared balls in your palm and pat lightly with the fingers and slide into the hot oil, one by one. Turn the ambodes once inside the oil, so that both sides get cooked evenly. Remove from oil, when both sides are cooked, drain and serve the crispy ambodes with pudina chutney or tomato sauce.
The less experienced can pat the ambodes on a plastic sheet and gently slide them into oils, taking care not to splash the oil.