This month I thought I would focus on two of my favorite recipes using rice noodles that are most popular in my household. They are very simple dishes but very tasty.

 

Technically Sevaka (Malayalam), or Sevai (Tamil), is considered a Tiffin, an afternoon snack that is served with tea and, of course, coconut chutney on the side. It can be served any time of the day but I prefer it for breakfast since it has a very mild flavor. It is also fantastic as a main item or as a side dish instead of rice for a simple meal of dal with rice. I serve it as often as I can because I feel as though I am making something special instead of plain rice.

 

Sevai or Sevaka is a popular rice noodle dish in South India.

Sevai or Sevaka is a popular rice noodle dish in South India.


 

Sevai are thin rice noodles that are pressed, steamed and then broken into bits before they are seasoned with urad dal, mustard seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves that have been fried in a little bit of oil. The best part of making this dish is that there is two ways to make it:

 

  • Easy – Use store bought rice noodles that you simply boil. They can be found at any Indian grocery store and are very inexpensive.
  • Authentic – Make your own rice noodles from scratch using rice flour. Making the dough takes very little time but the process involves several steps. (This is a great weekend activity.)

 

The basic recipe for Sevai can be changed for variety by adding different ingredients, including: tomatoes, coconut, lemon juice, peanuts, cashews, green chiles and spices. Adding jaggery (or brown sugar), ghee or melted butter, coconut, cardamom and raisins, a simple but delicious dessert can be made with minimal effort.

 

Idiyappam (Malayalam) and Noolputtu (Tamil) is a side dish served instead of rice with a curry since it doesn’t have any seasonings or spices. Idiyappam are thin rice noodles that are pressed into Idli molds with grated coconut then steamed. They make a beautiful presentation when many of them are arranged on a plate when served.  They are often called string hoppers because they do, in fact, look like small piles of string. I love to serve them with Malabar Egg Curry or any spicy curry and coconut chutney.

 

Idiyappam or Noolputtu are popular rice noodles in south India.

Idiyappam or Noolputtu are popular rice noodles in south India.

 

Try these recipes soon! They are some of the first Indian dishes my children loved because they weren’t hot and the tiny noodles were fun to pick up and eat with their fingers. Enjoy!

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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A few weeks ago I craved a dish that I had banned from my table while I was on a diet last year – Sevai. A very simple dish made with rice noodles, it is easy to make in very little time and disappears quickly. Since I was limiting my intake of rice- and wheat-based carbs, I tried to exclude recipes with these ingredients for the longest time. The result is that I am now craving this tasty dish. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight…

 

In thinking about noodles and Indian food I realized that they play a very important role in this diverse and mature cuisine. In fact they have been part of regional Indian cuisine for over two thousand years in some form or the other. Made with rice, wheat, lentils or cornstarch they are served as a very simple dish or part of something more elaborate, at any meal as a snack, a side dish or even a dessert. The best part of Indian noodles is they are as much fun to make as they are to eat.

Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are found in many Indian snacks, or tiffins. A very simple dough is made with soaked rice that is then ground or rice flour that is roasted, and then mixed with water. A special press is used to make these noodles. Kachi’s mother had an antique brass one with a wooden handle that you would press to extrude the noodles. Mine is stainless steel and looks like a cookie press or a pepper mill with a crank on the top to lower the plunger. Inside the press is an interchangeable disk that gives the noodles different shapes.

 

Idiyappam or Noolputtu are popular rice noodles in south India.

Idiyappam or Noolputtu are popular rice noodles in south India.

Idiyappam (Malayalam) and Noolputtu (Tamil) are small piles of thin rice noodles that are steamed with a bit of grated coconut and served as a snack with Egg Curry and Coconut Chutney. In Kerala, these tasty morsels are considered to be similar to the Appam that looks like a rice pancake.

 

Sevaka (Malayalam) and Sevai (Tamil) are similar thin rice noodles that are pressed, steamed and then broken into bits before they are seasoned with mustard seeds, dried red chilies, urad dal and curry leaves that have been fried in a bit of oil. Some recipes call for the dough to be steamed before the noodles are extruded through the press. I cannot detect a difference in taste so I follow the recipe from my mother-in-law.

 

Wheat Noodles

Needle-thin noodles made from wheat are found across India in side dishes and desserts. In all of the research I have done, I haven’t found that people make these noodles at home but buy them ready-made. They are so delicate that they make any dish special.

 

Vermacelli noodles made from wheat are popular in Uppuma and Payasam.

Vermacelli noodles made from wheat are popular in Uppuma and Payasam.

 

Vermicelli Uppuma is one of the tastiest dishes in all of Indian cooking. The lightly browned noodles that have been fried in ghee then boiled are mixed with a tasty assortment of vegetables and seasoned with mustard seeds, urad dal, Bengal gram dal, cashew nuts and curry leaves. It is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch.

 

Semiya (Vermicelli) Payasam is the most popular desert in South India with the delicate wheat noodles lightly fried in butter before adding them to the sweet payasam spiced with cardamom, raisins and nuts. It is served for the most important dinners including birthdays, anniversaries and other important events.

Lentil Noodles

Sev are noodles made from chickpea flour, extruded through the press with the smallest holes into hot oil and deep-fried to become a crunchy treat. Many varieties are available with different spices and ingredients added to give them unique flavors. Varieties of sev with different seasonings are incorporated into many Indian snack foods like mixture and dal mooth. Sev noodles are also sprinkled on top of papadi as a garnish for chaat and other North Indian street food recipes. Word of warning: These are so delicious that they are addictive and can lead to weight gain. I confess that I love these snacks and eat them too often!

 

Simply changing the disk in the press from the one with tiny holes to one with wide slits or the one with a star shape creates entirely different noodles. South Indian snacks Murukkus and Pokavada are made with a combination of rice and one or more of the following lentil flours: green gram dal, urad dal and Bengal gram dal. Ribbon pokavada are small strips of fried dough seasoned with red chili powder and asafetida. They look just like FRITOS® Corn Chips except they are crunchier and taste far less salty or greasy. Many different recipes exist for Murukkus; mine are made by mixing rice with various lentils, grinding them and adding cumin seeds or asafetida for flavor.

 

Noodles made with lentil or dal flour are fried for popular Indian snacks.

Noodles made with lentil or dal flour are fried for popular Indian snacks.

Fried noodle snacks can be made at home as part of a weekend family activity, however, every Indian grocery store has a full aisle dedicated in Indian snack foods (just like the potato chip aisle at Wal-Mart) with many brands and varieties available. I find that even though I did not include any snack food on my grocery list, several bags of these snacks land in my cart each time I visit the store. The best ones in the world can be found at Grand Snacks in Chennai, India.

 

Cornstarch Noodles

The fourth variety of noodles is made from cornstarch that gives the noodles a transparent appearance. The method for making these noodles is different from the other processes in that the dough is heated during the preparation process and then pushed through the press into a cold-water bath. Since this type of noodle is used in Falooda, a popular drink in India, sugar is added. (Look for more information on Falooda in a post in a few weeks.) Sometimes arrowroot, a starch extracted from a rhizome and available in Indian grocery stores, is used instead of cornstarch to make these noodles.

 

Noodles made with cornstarch make delicate noodles for the Indian sweet, Falooda.

Noodles made with cornstarch make delicate noodles for the Indian sweet, Falooda.

 

In my next post, I will share my recipes for Sevai and Idyappam which are fantastic as main items for breakfast or late afternoon snack, or as a side dish instead of rice with any simple meal with dal. Enjoy!

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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Uppuma is a popular dish to eat with a bit of coconut chutney on the side for breakfast or as a light meal.  In my house, we usually eat this dish for Sunday brunch. The traditional version of Uppuma is made from cream of wheat and can be found in Kachi’s Kitchen. The Recipe of the Month is my Aval Uppuma recipe which is made with flattened boiled rice and seasoned with mustard seeds, onion, green chili (for looks and can be removed early or omitted), ginger, turmeric and sambar powder. The flavors in both versions of this vegetarian recipe are delicious and not spicy hot. In fact they are very mild. This recipe is very easy to make and does not take much time at all.

Aval Uppuma is a delicious Indian vegetarian recipe.

Aval Uppuma is a delicious Indian vegetarian recipe.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

Kerala is known as “God’s own country” due to the moderate temperatures and the heavy rainfall which make the whole area green with luxurious vegetation.  Rice is the staple food of Kerala and the people prefer boiled rice (which has been boiled and dried) to raw rice (which has not been boiled and takes longer to cook).

 

Most of the people in Kerala have paddy fields. In the harvest season, August or September, the paddy, or rice crop, is brought home where the first step in making boiled rice begins.  After the grains are removed from the stems, the grains are put into a big flat bottomed copper pot called charaku that is filled with boiling water.   This vessel is put on a homemade stove that is constructed on a temporary basis just for the harvest.  After it is boiled for one hour, the water is drained off and the wet grains are spread on large bamboo mats to dry in the sun.  After two or three days, the grains are sent to rice mills to remove the husks.  This rice is now ready for cooking and it is called boiled rice.  This is similar to Uncle Ben’s rice which is available in grocery stores.

 

To make Aval, the boiled rice is sprinkled with water and pressed in a special mill.  Aval can be purchased in small packets at any Indian grocery store.  It looks a lot like oatmeal because each grain has been flattened hence the name beaten rice. Aval does not require any further cooking so cooking with it is quick and easy.  Because Aval is so easy to prepare, it is thought of as a household staple similar to mashed potatoes in the U.S. and is often used in Indian cooking. Many tasty dishes can be made from it including the Tiffin, Aval Uppuma, and the Sweet dishes, Aval Kuzhachathu and Aval with Jaggery Syrup.

Aval, Beaten Rice

Aval, Beaten Rice


The Indian Recipe of the Month for March will have Aval as the primary ingredient.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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The Indian recipes included in this month’s spotlight are some of my favorites: Kadala Masala Curry with Puttu made with brown rice and Iddichakka (Small Unripe Jackfruit) Upperi.  I tend to like simple foods that are healthy and not difficult to prepare on a week night. Even though they are all vegetarian, they are high in protein, fiber and nutrients.

Kadala Masala, Puttu and Jackfruit Upperi

Kadala Masala, Puttu and Jackfruit Upperi


The curry is easy to make once the chickpeas are soaked overnight.  The chickpeas take about 30 minutes to cook through; during this time you prepare the curry into which you will add the chickpeas.  While the curry cooks, you can focus on making the puttus.  They are a lot of fun to make especially if you have help from young assistant chefs in your home.  Layering the rice flour and grated coconut is a task that you can delegate.  Once the puttus are created, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes for a stack of them to steam through.  My recipe will make 2 stacks or enough to feed a family of 4.  I paired the Iddichakka Upperi with this because its light texture balances the rich curry.

The great thing about these dishes is that they keep and are just as tasty the next day.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.  My family and I will be enjoying them tonight for dinner.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.


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Baby Shrimp Fry

Baby Shrimp Fry

I just finished posting the Indian recipes for March.  I picked them because they are a great introduction to Indian food.  I simplified them from the traditional recipes so they would be quick and easy to make and would not be too spicy.  I modified the vegetarian recipe for  Vegetable Rice by changing the ratio of vegetables to rice.  I love a lot of vegetables in my food.  With all of the delicious vegetables, I feel that I am eating a meal.  This recipe has substantially less oil so it is not as rich or caloric as the original.  The Baby Shrimp Fry recipe was created by my husband during his time in graduate school at Ohio University.  He reduced the number of steps and reduced the cost by using baby shrimp.  It makes a wonderful presentation with any dinner.  The Raita recipe is very simple and is a refreshing compliment to the shrimp and rice dishes.  Feel free to experiment with the ingredients you use in this recipe and make it your own. 

 

Just click on the Recipes link to find these delicious recipes….

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for more Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.